Adult ADHD: The Dangers of Negative Thinking

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Social and Emotional Challenges | 0 comments

Adults with ADHD who were not diagnosed as children often have a long history of school failure, work problems, strained relationships, lack of ambition and broken dreams.  These experiences–not surprisingly–frequently lead to maladaptive behavior patterns, negative thinking and learned helplessness.  For many, professional help is required to learn coping skills and strategies to manage ADHD, as well as  unlearning negative beliefs and thoughts that prohibit success in adulthood.

 We must be vigilant over our thoughts, stop the negativity and be positive and enthusiastic regardless of adversity and seemingly overwhelming odds against us. We need to push forward with one true thought always in the forefront of our consciousness. Win, lose or draw, it’s much better to play the game than watch from the sidelines.

Walter Jacobson, MD, goes on to say the following in his post from June 2, The Dangerous Power of Negative Thinking, at Huffington Post.

“Negative thinking is our enemy. It dampens our enthusiasm and motivation. It contributes to indecision, inertia, procrastination and outright derailment of our goal-directed actions. It defeats us. It beats us. It creates the “bad luck” that we will later bemoan.

We are our own worst enemy when we indulge our negative thinking and tell ourselves, “It’s not going to work out… I’m unlucky… Something will go wrong… Such and such will happen and I’m just going to be more miserable, so why bother?”

There are an endless number of negative messages in all shapes and sizes that discourage us from being proactive and going forth into the world. And now is as good a time as any to stop playing this losing hand, to stop giving these negative messages any power.

A major problem in this regard is that, for the most part, we’re so used to our negative thinking that we aren’t even aware when we’re doing it. Consequently, we need to listen closely to the content of our thoughts. We need to hear our words as we speak them, with our negativity detector finely tuned.

When we recognize the negative thoughts and words, we need to stop them and counter them with alternative messages that are positive and optimistic, based on truth, not fear.

To be sure: just because things haven’t worked out in the past doesn’t mean they never will. Just because we have been rejected and disappointed in the past, doesn’t mean that this is our eternal fate that we must resign ourselves to. Just because we’ve been plagued with failure and perceived bad luck doesn’t mean that this is the way it always will or must be.

We are masters of our fate, whether we allow our fear or our optimism to propel us forward.

On an unconscious level, our negativity is a defense mechanism, a protective device such that if something bad should happen, we won’t be blindsided and devastated by it. By anticipating failure, we think we are softening the blow of failure should it occur.

Unfortunately, this is not a good plan. The negativity of anticipated bad luck and failure actually helps to create them because it contributes to us not putting our best foot forward. It blocks the flow of positive energy and directs the Law of Attraction to attract negative consequences rather than positive outcomes. It reinforces our fear and insecurity, and it diminishes our confidence and faith in ourselves and our objectives.

In this regard, negative thinking is actually a form of self-abuse. Certainly, it is important to be aware of the things that can go wrong so that we can have a strategy to address them and push forward, should they occur. But to beat ourselves into submission with our negative fear thoughts such that we don’t take risks and we don’t go the distance in order to protect ourselves from disappointment, shame and humiliation is simply self-punishment.

Letting fear and negativity derail us will never bring rainbows and sunshine into our lives. Rather than anticipating failure, we should anticipate success, while at the same time telling ourselves that should failure occur, we will be emotionally capable of dealing with it, that we will pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and continue on our path toward our goals because that is the only way we will get where we want to go.

It’s best that we remind ourselves that there is less shame in failure and defeat than in never trying at all, that many great hearts and minds have risen from the ashes of multiple failures and defeat to reap the rewards of great success and prosperity.

Bottom line: we must be vigilant over our thoughts, stop the negativity and be positive and enthusiastic regardless of adversity and seemingly overwhelming odds against us, and push forward with one true thought always in the forefront of our consciousness. Win, lose or draw, it’s much better to play the game than watch from the sidelines.”

What are your thoughts about this?  Do you find yourself sitting on the sidelines, derailed by negative thinking?  Anyone have success overcoming this behavior?  If so, tell us how you did it.  You can learn more in my book  In Search of Your Best (ADHD) Self –available here October 1.  Email me for more details and a sneak preview using the form below!

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