Positive thinking can be helpful, but it's not the solution to every problem.
For a lot of people with ADHD, positive thinking often sounds like "just try harder" or "just get out of your own way"—phrases that can trigger negative thoughts or memories.
These aren't helpful because they don't provide anything actionable. How does one "get out of their own way"? I have no idea.
Positive thinking is detrimental when it ignores our reality or history.
"I'll remember to do this later" isn't helpful when history shows that you most likely won't just magically remember this time.
It's false positive thinking, based on a false reality.
Earlier this year, I wrote how repeating the mantra "everything is always working out for me" has really helped me cope when my plans change unexpectedly. That is an example of how positive thinking can be helpful.
I'm not being naive and ignoring the reality of a bad situation—I'm reframing my understanding of the situation, focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
When you aren't sure whether your positive thinking is false positive thinking, ask yourself this:
- Is this thinking true or accurate?
- Does this match my history?
- Am I using a false optimism to neglect taking needed action?
Positive thinking can be tremendously beneficial for people with ADHD—our history is so often full of negativity.
Try not to let false positive thinking get in the way of progress or action, but embrace those thoughts that help you reframe your perspective.
Jesse J. Anderson
P.S. I've been making great progress on my Refocus book. I'm hoping to start sending the next draft to some of my early alpha readers soon for feedback. If you want to help out, you can sign up at helpjessewrite.com.
📝 ADHD and Mom Guilt [My Lady ADHD] "Sometimes, ADHD can intensify mom guilt feelings... My ADHD mixed with my anxiety can make things complicated and sometimes my kids will bear the brunt of that."