Nurturing a Positive Mindset for ADD/ADHD With Affirmations, Gratitude and Havening

Individuals with ADHD/ADD tend to focus on problems and fears.

I was listening to a particularly profound podcast while driving to a campground in the Adirondacks that offered me this life-changing concept: 

“You become what follows your ‘I am’ statements” 

The podcast described how our self-concept is created from what follows our ‘I am’ statements, and our self-concept ultimately determines the destiny of our lives. 

It made me wonder what kind of ‘I am’ statements I was making, and what kind of destiny I was creating. 

That evening by the fire, I flipped through the pages of my journal and was shocked by what I found. There was my self-concept written down in black and white:

I am worthless

I am weak

I am not good enough

My self-concept was clearly negative, and what was worse, I was living and creating my own future with this limiting self-perception.

The revelation hit me like a punch in the gut. And yet by the light of the campfire, I felt a spark of hope. 

What would happen if I could change my ‘I am’ statements?

What kind of future life was possible if I shifted how I spoke about myself?

What if I rewrote the script? 

In the quiet of the campground, under the vast, dark sky, I decided to try on a new ‘I am’ statement. I whispered: “I am confident.” 

It felt foreign. 

More like a question.

Far from feeling any sign of confidence, yet it marked the start of a pivotal practice and transformative journey.

I knew I needed to overhaul my messaging; not just in my journal but how I spoke to myself too. 

I cultivated a daily ritual to reshape my self concept through affirmations.

I am fun

I am good enough

I am successful

The practice wasn’t about flawlessly embodying these qualities every day but about intentionally guiding my growth.

Positive affirmations became my superpower: influencing both personal and career development. 

This shift to a positive mindset is great for everyone, but particularly those of us with ADD/ADHD. This is because people with ADD/ADHD lack dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. 

A positive mindset literally refills our brains with much-needed positive chemicals that otherwise would be missing.

Since dopamine also helps control other body functions like motivation, memory, concentration, and sleep, that boost can benefit us in a variety of ways and can even make ADD/ADHD symptoms more manageable.

Research has found that self-affirmation decreases anxiety and increases confidence.  Many people with ADD/ADHD struggle with anxiety and self-doubt, so this can be an incredibly powerful tool.  

Self-affirmation reduces our negative reactions to psychological threats.

We often hear the term “fight or flight.”  This is our automatic response to perceived dangers when stress hormones are released into the body.  This stress response protected our ancient ancestors from real dangers like wild animals.  It’s not as useful in many real-life situations today, but our bodies react anyway, even when it’s illogical. 

Studies have been done on the impact of self-affirmation and the stress hormone cortisol. Amazingly, people who used self-affirmations prior to public speaking did not produce any extra cortisol.   

Self-affirmation reduces the effects of stereotype threat

That’s right – another kind of threat that is all in our heads.  So, what is this one all about, and what does it have to do with those of us with ADD/ADHD?  

Well, stereotype threat is the fear of confirming a negative stereotype about a group we belong to. This exists among racial, gender, and cultural groups, along with countless others. Stereotype threat impacts individuals with ADD/ADHD because we are frequently subject to low expectations and assumptions of underachievement. When we view ourselves as less capable, we become discouraged, which negatively affects our performance.

So, how do we combat stereotype threat?  That’s right – with positive affirmations! Studies have shown that self-affirmations reduce the achievement gap between individuals at risk of stereotype threat and their peers.  

As unbelievable as it seems, telling ourselves that we are capable can truly make it so. Then, what’s really great is that once we begin to succeed, our confidence grows, and we continue on that path. Our success grows more success! 

Today, affirmations are integral to my daily routine, and I can attest that my ADD/ADHD symptoms have significantly lessened. 

The cumulative effect of using positive affirmations and rewriting my narrative stands as a testament to the transformative power within all of our reach. 

It truly matters what comes after your ‘I am’ statements.

Fill in the blank: I am…

Now that my self-affirmation practice was well underway, I was on my way to being a more confident, successful version of myself. What a valuable resource the mind is! I wondered, if I could rewrite my story just through positive messaging, what else did I already possess in the toolkit of my mind?  

With self-affirmation as my starting point, I set out to explore the other useful components of a positive mindset.

I decided to see if practicing gratitude could also increase my positive mindset.

Gratitude and positive affirmations became my superpowers, influencing both personal and career development. Today, they are integral to my routine, and I can attest that my ADHD/ADD symptoms have significantly lessened. The cumulative effect of rewriting my narrative through gratitude and affirmations stands as a testament to the transformative power within our reach.

Practicing gratitude has proven to increase happiness and improve mood, and studies even show that it benefits our physical and psychological health. It can strengthen our relationships, improve sleep, boost self-esteem, and reduce depression. It seems like there are endless reasons why practicing gratitude is a great idea for everyone.

…and while it definitely benefits all of us, it can also do wonders for your ADHD brain!

When we give or receive gratitude, dopamine is released into the prefrontal cortex.  Dopamine, along with serotonin, is one of the feel-good chemicals in the brain.  Gratitude releases serotonin, too, but dopamine plays a key role in ADHD, so let’s talk about that.

Gratitude releases dopamine, and dopamine makes us happy. 

Simple, right? Gratitude is great for everyone, but particularly those of us

with ADHD. This is because people with ADHD lack dopamine in the prefrontal

cortex. 

Practicing gratitude literally refills our brains with much-needed positive chemicals that otherwise would be missing.  

Since dopamine also helps control other body functions like motivation, memory, concentration, and sleep, that boost can benefit us in a variety of ways and can even make ADHD/ADD symptoms more manageable.

Gratitude is also valuable for the way it can shift our outlook. Individuals with ADHD/ADD tend to focus on problems and fears. We can quickly fall into anxiety and negative thinking.  When we are grateful and work on a more positive mindset, it becomes easier to look at the brighter side instead of dwelling on the negative. 

Why should we make gratitude a habit?

When gratitude releases feel-good chemicals into the brain, we instantly feel a little better. This is wonderful at the moment, but wouldn’t it be even more amazing if we could make those feelings last? 

By forming a consistent habit, we don’t just get to feel good over and over from individual doses of gratitude; the structure of the brain can actually change, making more pathways for these chemicals to move through. This essentially makes it easier for positivity to flow through us.

So, how can we harness the power of gratitude and make it work for us?

Gratitude Journal

By writing down a few things we are grateful for every day, we remind ourselves to take a moment to appreciate the good things we have in our lives. This is a simple way to make gratitude a consistent practice because it is quick, part of a routine, and fairly easy to do regularly. 

Express gratitude to others

Letting others know that we appreciate them can strengthen our relationships. It also helps us by making us recognize the gratitude we feel. You can thank someone out loud or write a note.  By making a conscious effort to do this every day, we can build it into a habit.

Unlock Potential Through Havening

I discovered a modality called Havening that not only complements these rituals but also relieves people from past emotional trauma. 

I was introduced to the amazing benefits of Havening during my own brain healing journey and have made it part of my daily routine ever since. 

Havening is a neuroscience-based approach that utilizes gentle touch, distractions, and specific movements to disrupt the connections between distressing memories and negative emotions. 

Just as affirmations and gratitude can reshape your self-concept and outlook on life, Havening offers a unique pathway to inner peace, clarity, and confidence. 

Elevated levels of cortisol from stress over an extended period can have detrimental effects on health, including increased anxiety, depression, and impaired cognitive function. While Havening does not directly target cortisol, the relaxation and stress reduction induced by Havening may lead to positive changes. By promoting feelings of safety, and well-being, Havening may also indirectly impact the release of dopamine and serotonin levels thus contributing to improved mood and overall mental wellness.

Havening, more specifically the subcategory “Affirmational Havening”, takes the “I am” statements to a whole new level. I like to refer to them as Affirmations on Steroids.

“Affirmational Havening” pairs affirmations with Havening so individuals can target specific areas of concern or areas where they seek improvement in their lives. 

For example, someone struggling with self-confidence may use affirmations such as “I am confident and capable” or “I believe in myself” while engaging in Havening techniques to address underlying emotional barriers and promote a more positive self-concept. 

I have seen so much success with this practice, both personally and with clients.

Embracing affirmations, gratitude, and Havening is a powerful pathway to a positive mindset and embracing the day with optimism.

It can help us gain confidence, find success, and be happier overall, even with the unique challenges of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis.  

So, as you engage with your daily affirmation and gratitude practices and maybe even look into Havening, remember that these are three key ingredients within the incredible wealth of resources of your mind. By tapping into them, you just begin unlocking a positive mindset’s full potential.

If you would like to book a Havening session, please click this link https://l.bttr.to/njAWW

Photo by Madison Oren on Unsplash

About the author

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Claudia Haller, NBC-HWC

As an expert in ADD Coaching for people struggling with attention, focus, emotional regulation, impulsive behaviors, and low self-esteem; as well as having the diagnosis myself, I’m passionate about supporting people to get the help they need to take charge of their own health and advocate for their well-being. I understand that not everyone identifies with the label of ADD but may have similar challenges.

I have eight years of experience understanding how diet, exercise, relationship skills, mindset and gratitude, time management, and sleep can shift someone from despair to living with confidence and agency.

I’m an NBC-HWC Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and owner of Vibrant Health by Claudia LLC and Virtual Health Coaches LLC. I studied health and wellness coaching at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I also completed courses in Gut Health, Hormone Health, and Advanced Coaching. I’m a certified 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, as well as a co-author of the Amazon Bestseller “The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Soul Aligned Business”

I’m big believer in the fact that food is medicine, and also that our thoughts and the way we speak to ourselves are powerful tools that can help or hurt us. Let’s go, it’s time to thrive!

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