The Power of PersistenceJune 6th, 2012 by admin
ADHD treatment plans, usually consisting of a combination of medication, exercise, behavior modifications and coaching, can change everything: relationships improve, work feels easier and more fun, deadlines are met and responsibilities are fulfilled. But if there is a downside, it is that these treatments are long-term commitments. There is no two week round of medicine or one-month therapy program to “cure” ADHD – instead, the behavior management techniques have to be revisited again and again, tweaked and adjusted when circumstances change, and reaffirmed after bad days.
So, how do you stick to the plan day in and day out without giving up? How do you endure discomfort, change and self-doubt? It takes persistence to keep fighting for a happy, fulfilling life every day. Stack the odds in your favor by adopting good habits that help guarantee success. There are two tried-and-true ways to do this: affirmations and meditation.
Affirmations are positive statements that you recite, repeat, chant or surround yourself with. They are rooted in ancient traditions, and are a valuable tool in ending abusive self-talk and creating a sense of self-confidence.
The key to getting the most benefit from affirmations is to find comfortable ways to work them into your lifestyle. This applies to the words of the affirmation as well as the way you use it. Some affirmations that my clients have found beneficial are:
- I live a deeply meaningful life.
- It’s my right to decide who I am.
- I am an asset to my community and those around me.
- I get to choose how I feel about myself.
- I work hard. I learn from my mistakes. I deserve to feel good about myself.
- I am capable and competent.
- I have an important place in this universe.
- I won’t give up. I will keep going.
In addition, here are some ways to incorporate those affirmations into your routine:
- Say them, out loud, as soon as you wake up.
- Recite them to yourself in the mirror as you get ready in the morning.
- Repeat them or think about them during slow moments throughout the day, like waiting in traffic or in line.
- Record them and play them on your MP3 player.
- Take a moment in a private space and say them in times of stress.
- Print them out and frame them, embroider them on a pillow, or display them in some other artistic way in your home or workspace.
Even if you feel uncomfortable or silly saying the affirmations at first, stick with it. Positive words have power, and if you give them a chance, they will permeate your life. Mottos, mantras and slogans work – that’s why sports teams and countries have them. Choose an affirmation, or a few, and cheer yourself on.
Quiet time for reflection is an indispensable part of a healthy ADHD treatment plan, but it’s practically impossible to enjoy moments of stillness unless you really plan ahead and set the time aside. Meditation is the listening part of prayer. Contemplation allows you sort through your thoughts and emotions. The contemplative lifestyle reaffirms in you that you are not an object. You are empowered to decide if someone’s perception of you is something you will receive or you will reject.
Traditional meditation involves using the same time every day to sit in silence, practice controlled breathing, and clear your mind. Choose a good spot to sit with soft lighting, privacy, and quiet. Turn off all electronic devices – you can be out of reach for fifteen or thirty minutes a day, the world won’t end! Then sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing, the silence, and all that you feel in the moment. Don’t beat yourself up when your mind goes off on a tangent, but bring it back to your posture, the rhythm of your breath, how you feel. There is so much power in stillness.
For rapid-fire thinkers, traditional meditation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You don’t have to sit still to contemplate. Go for a walk among the trees. Try yoga, or some other focused movement activity that is quiet and private. Ditch your phone and don’t bring your dog. Or if you can focus enough to write – do. Journaling can be a healthy habit that lasts all life long
Affirmations and Meditation in Action
My client, Tom, has incorporated affirmations and meditation into his life in a way that works perfectly for him. He walks two miles on a circular path in the woods in the morning and in the evening. This is his meditation time. For his mind to focus within, he needs to keep his legs moving. During his walks, Tom repeats affirmations like, “I am a man worth loving,” and spiritual mantras like, “I only choose to live my life in deeply satisfying ways.” After walking, he sits in a rocking chair and talks into a small digital recorder. This talking takes the place of journaling for him. He goes over his thoughts and feelings and explores the different choices he can make. By devoting time to reflection, he stays in tune with his moods, needs, and impulses. He enjoys the successes of each day, and puts the failures into perspective. Most of all, he feels in control of his thoughts and his feelings.
Find a way to work these good habits into your life, and you will find the same sort of harmony.