I know it all sounds very “New Age” and “mind over matter” and the like, but I’m going to suggest this anyway. And those of you who have been following along will realize that this is a recurring theme that I put forward on many occasions.
I’m going to tell you, once again, now that the holidays are over, to please go easy on yourself.
And at this time of year, the beginning of the year for many of us, I feel it’s important to start off doing this and making a habit of it.
A habit of going easy?
Well, yes, exactly.
We humans, even those of us with ADHD, are creatures of habit. So when we form a habit, it often takes on a large role in our lives. Habits even acquire a quality of superstition for us. We feel like we’ve let the universe down if we diverge from them at times.
We’re not talking bad habits, right?
No indeed, we are not. Well, yes, I guess we are sort of. I’m saying we need to get out of the habit of dwelling on the things that make us feel stressed and down, especially if dwelling on those things is just going to make life worse.
It’s all very well and good to accept responsibility, mandatory, in fact is what I would say about that. It has only been on the rarest of occasions that I have escaped responsibility for my actions and yet still learned the lesson those responsibilities were offering to teach.
Perhaps an example?
Nope, I escaped responsibility then, I’m not owning up now! … oh, wait, an example of a time when we might dwell on something that may make things worse when we could not dwell and make things better? That’s doable.
And as I look around for such an example, I discover another recurring device in this blog, my move and subsequent crazy storage issues, boxes everywhere and life displaced because of them.
How does that provide an example?
Ah, well, every time I see those boxes (and they are everywhere), I think about all I have yet to do. And I think about how unorganized my move actually was. I feel more than a bit of responsibility for the disruption of life in my new household. And I could let that bother me and depress me easily.
But if I allowed that, then I would lose my drive to remove those boxes from my world. Each sighting of those boxes would bring more depression, more negative reaction, and less response.
React vs. respond
The negative reaction would cause my mind to try to heal the sore that is caused by the view, I would start telling myself that this was the new normal. I would start accepting that this was okay. I would become lethargic over the matter, commence to procrastinate, allow myself to be distracted.
But instead, I am accepting that dealing with the boxes of stuff is normal. This requires me to think that the boxes are more normal but only temporarily so. And it requires me to feel less responsible for their disruption but more responsible for their disposal.
And the stress?
All lives need stress. But there is good stress and bad stress. And there are acceptable amounts of stress and acceptable amounts of spikes in stress.
In short, we can’t control our focus, so we need to control our stress so that it doesn’t mess with our focus.
Recurring stress vs. recurring focus
And currently I see those boxes frequently, many times a day. So I have to choose between accepting the stress of them or the responsibility for them.
If I accept the stress, I’ll numb myself to them and become accepting of them and they will never go away. If I accept the responsibility, then every sighting of them will provide me with a recurring opportunity to focus on reducing their presence in my world.
And that will be a really good thing.
Babcock, K. (2017). Recurrent Focus. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 25, 2017, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2017/01/recurrent-focus/