We all face anxiety at one time or another. People with ADD /ADHD are prone to more stress, however, because of their neurobiological make-up, it is difficult to focus and slow down. Failing to meet others’ expectations leads to even more tension. Here are seven tips for those with ADD / ADHD (and without) to cope and stay calm.
1.) Get excited! Wait a minute—I promised calm. Since anxiety and nervousness are ramped up emotions, swapping the anxious energy to positive, confident energy may ease your worried mind. Before that big meeting, exam, event, or anything that causes nervousness, visualize yourself beforehand: “wowing” the board room during a presentation and walking away with great connections, for example.
2.) Shrink or expand your view. Shrink your view: Nervous thespians have been instructed to picture the audience in their underwear, or in chicken costumes, because it takes away the intimidation of performing. Supposedly, it works. Expand your view: Perhaps gazing out an open field of your office window, or a city skyline, depending on your location. Maybe it’s a nature scene on an oil painting in the break room at work, or a “beach” screen saver across your desk top.
3. Take up space Stand with legs hip-width apart. Reach your arms out 90 degrees. Your body should be in the shape of a star; a yoga pose known as warrior pose. Put your shoulders back and take a deep breath. Remind yourself you matter. Another article says place your hands on your hips. Studies show holding a power pose for just a few minutes each day helps lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.
4. Just breathe. Sometimes we just need more oxygen Take three conscious, deep breaths anytime you begin to feel stressed. Inhale deeply and hold your breath for five seconds, then exhale for five seconds. Repeat.
7 Ways to Calm Anxiety Fast
6. Eat your way to calm. Certain foods can help your mind calm down. Instead of chips, crunch carrots or celery sticks. Sip hot herbal tea or eat a slice of cheese. Dark chocolate has calming effects. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and super-sugary snacks especially if you’re feeling nervous.
7. Be a Visionary. Imagine yourself doing a stretching exercise you love. Picture something that is particularly relaxing when you start to feel nervous. Even if you can’t actually get away to take part in exercise, just imagining yourself involved with these and any nervous thoughts will begin to drift away.
7. Check in with your body Get centered. Ground yourself. Be mindful. A few times a day, check in. How are you feeling? What is causing these feelings? Push your feet into your shoes and wiggle your toes. Or, season permitting; take a barefoot stroll to feel grass tickle the balls of your feet. Walk along a sandy beach and dip your feet in the cool fresh or salt water. Mindfulness involves staying aware of our bodies at all times. This helps to avoid feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Don’t forget to unplug (screen time can add to anxiety) and get up and stretch, or go for a five minute brisk walk if you can. We all face anxiety at work and in life, but not everyone has an anxiety disorder, which requires professional help.
George Sachs PsyD is a child psychologist in New York City, specializing in the testing and treatment of ADD/ADHD and Autism. Dr. Sachs offers parent coaching, psychotherapy, neurofeedback training, medication management and social skills groups for children and teens. Dr. Sachs has appeared on NBC, CBS and Vice Television. He is the author of three books, including his most recent Helping Your Husband with ADHD: Supportive Solutions for Adult ADD/ADHD, and Adult ADD Solution, all available on Amazon. To reach Dr. Sachs, please contact his office at 646-807-8900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org