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Do you get insta-pissed?

I’ve been known once or twice or a thousand times to lose my cool. I call it getting insta-pissed, and when it happens, it’s not pretty. Bouts of rage are common in 85% of people with AD(H)D. There is so much pressure built up, there is no way for it to go but out/up/all over the walls. It feels good to release it, but nine times out of ten, I feel like an asshole later. Here are some good tips for keeping your cool when you feel the insta-pissed coming on… - Stacey

By Jean Rothman - Anyone would get upset if the airline lost a piece of luggage, the traffic jam hasn’t moved in an hour, or a big project took a nosedive at work. But for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, stressful situations like these can seem even more disturbing.

What starts out as feeling a little annoyed can rapidly turn into frustration, which can quickly become full-blown anger. Given these intense emotions, it’s easy to see why an adult with ADHD might escalate a given situation by being rude, making a scene, or shouting. A little stress management can go a long way.

ADHD Stress Management: Why Molehills Become Mountains

It all has to do with two of the primary symptoms of ADHD: being impatient and being impulsive. As an adult with ADHD, know that these emotions are not some kind of character defect; they are actual symptoms caused by the disorder’s effect on certain parts of the brain.

ADHD Stress Management: Nine Techniques to Try

There are simple stress management basics to practice so that life doesn’t spiral so quickly and easily out of control.

  1. Breathe. Taking 10 slow, deep breaths before or during a stressful situation can go a long way toward maintaining your cool.

  2. Move your body. Stretch for a few minutes in the middle of the day or take a quick walk outdoors.

  3. Help yourself keep track of time. Adults with ADHD often find it difficult to be on time, finish a task, and stay on track. And the further behind they fall, the more stressed they will be. To avoid this common problem, use a watch, a timer, a cell phone, or a computer calendar that will beep or buzz at regular intervals so you can check whether you’re staying on task, no matter if that task is cleaning the kitchen, returning phone calls, or writing a report. Find out more about time management.

  4. Say no. Don’t sabotage yourself by saying yes to every little commitment, overbooking your day, and then feeling stressed out.

  5. Exercise regularly. Exercise can fight stress in many ways. People who are active are calmer than those who do not exercise. Some psychologists think exercise boosts the body’s capacity to respond to stress. Learn more about how exercise helps ease ADHD symptoms.

  6. Try not to act on every thought or feeling you have. Just because you’re feeling frustrated or angry doesn’t mean you have to do something about it. “Practice watching your thoughts and feelings go by, like clouds drift across the sky and then are gone,” says Edward M. Hallowell, MD, a child and adult psychiatrist and founder of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, Mass.

  7. Find a coach experienced in working with adults with ADHD. A coach can help you with almost every aspect of life with ADHD, including advising you on how to be more organized, get along with friends, relatives, and your spouse, and generally encourage you. Learn where to find ADHD coaches and tutors.

  8. Figure out what helps you stay calm. For example, does laying things out for the next day the night before help you stay organized? Does adding extra time to get somewhere help you avoid being late? Keeping a journal that lists every time you react is likely to help you figure out why you react, and how to avoid it.

  9. Don’t add blame to your list. There is no reason to blame yourself for your condition. You have a medical disorder that causes certain symptoms and needs proper treatment. If you’re getting treatment, you should feel better about yourself.

If you need extra support, join a local ADHD support group or find an online network of people who support one another. You’ll discover even more ideas and get positive solutions that can help even more.

© 2011; all rights reserved.

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