Do you need help with ADHD anger management? People with ADHD can struggle with anger for a number of reasons. For starters, mood swings often come as an associated side effect of ADHD. Mood swings can leave you moving rapidly from feeling content to feeling furious to unsettled, all in a short amount of time.
In addition to mood swings, people with ADHD tend to act impulsively. This impulsive nature leads you to respond quickly without thinking when provoked. Finally, many people with ADHD struggle to manage stress on a regular basis. The build up of stress over time can result in explosions of anger.
If you have ADHD and you struggle with anger, you should take heart that you don’t struggle alone. Many people with ADHD find themselves in the same position as you. This connection means that you have others to lean on who understand what you struggle with. Also, this means that others have tips and strategies that could help you face your anger.
In this post, we want to give you some helpful strategies for building an ADHD anger management plan. These tips can be used in your life today to help stave off angry episodes. Not only that, these strategies can also help you get your anger out in more positive and constructive ways.
Make Sure to Take Care of Yourself
ADHD anger management starts with you making sure that you take care of your whole person. Many times, anger occurs out of fatigue, feeling sick or out of sorts, or out of frustration. Many of these things only occur when you aren’t taking care of your complete self: mind, soul, and body.
Here at FastBraiin, we believe in a whole person ADHD comprehensive treatment plan. In order to effectively manage ADHD, you really need to address every part of your life well. This means that you eat a healthy diet for ADHD and avoid the worst foods for your symptoms. This means that you have a good sleep regimen and get a consistent amount of sleep. Additionally, you need to exercise regularly on a daily basis. Finally, if you have medication or take supplements, you need to take them consistently without missing any.
You have to realize that your anger doesn’t simply happen in a moment. Your anger results from your regular life rhythms and the balance you maintain. If you have an unhealthy and unsteady balance, you only increase the chances that you will eventually explode in anger or unravel in depression or self-doubt.
In taking care of yourself and making sure that your body gets what it needs, you are making sure that your body functions properly. You also help to ensure that your ADHD symptoms stay in check. These things combine to make certain that your ADHD anger management strategy stays on track.
Take a Break
Taking care of yourself might be step one of ADHD anger management. Step two, though, must include learning to take a break for yourself. You can check off everything on your ADHD daily routine. You can make sure that you work out, eat right, sleep well, and take your medication.
Still, though, if you never take time to relax and just get away and rest, you nevertheless run the risk of getting fatigued and burnt out. After a while, even a helpful routine can run you into the ground if you never take the time to rest the engine driving everything. In this case, that engine happens to be your mind and spirit.
To make sure that you don’t explode in anger at the most inopportune times, you need to make sure you regularly get away and refuel your spirit. If you don’t, subtle grievances build and escalate over time until you scream at a co-worker or your spouse. Similar to most things in your life, breaks should be regular and part of how you normally operate.
The best way to think about breaks should be to look at them on different levels. For instance, you need a break each week, each month, and each year. These breaks don’t have to be the same amount of time or quite as involved as other ones, but they all need to be present.
Each week, you need to carve out 30 minutes to get away all to yourself and do something you enjoy. Once a month then, you plan on a one to two hour or full day excursion to get away. Each year then, make sure you get at least a weekend if not a full week to get away from work and everything else and just rest.
Take Note of Your Triggers and Work around Them
We all have our own triggers. Things that just for some reason set us off. When they happen, we find ourselves boiling over with anger before we even know it. For those of us with ADHD, triggers can present even greater challenges due to low impulse control.
We all in a way are ticking time bombs. Some triggers we have might be small, some might be large, but whatever they are, they are our weak spots in our ADHD anger management defense. You can do a million things to keep your anger in check, but with the right triggers going off, you might still find yourself helpless to stop the anger.
In response, what you need to do is make a list of your triggers and devise strategies both on how to avoid them and then how to better respond when faced with them. Many times, you can simply avoid triggers if you plan well. For instance, if you know that you get irritated easily by excessive traffic, you can try to work with your employer to reorganize your work times to avoid heavy traffic times. This is just one example, but if you know your triggers you can work around most anything.
In the event that you can’t, or your triggers might arise without warning, you also need a backup plan. This plan would include how to deescalate when presented with a trigger. If you do rearrange your schedule but still run into a traffic jam, what do you do then?
You should have a game plan, such as calling a friend to take your mind away from the trigger. Alternatively, you can count to a certain number whenever faced with triggers before responding. These tips can help make sure your ADHD anger management stays on track.
Know What Calms You Down
Ok, so you know what sets you off and you now can work to avoid those triggers. What now? Well, now you need to prepare for the times that anger comes at you completely out of the blue.
Many times angry outbursts occur from a trigger we have seen before. Sometimes, though, our anger catches us completely off guard with no trigger in sight. For these times, you need to know how best to respond in order to deescalate the situation before it gets worse.
To help your ADHD anger management process, you need to know what calms you down in addition to what sets you off. For instance, if a letter or phone call from a family member always settles you, you should try to have these outlets on hand if needed.
If you need fresh air or the outdoors, then be sure you know the quickest route outside of the building and a diplomatic way to exit if needed. If a certain song or video eases your mind, keep it stored conveniently on your phone. You should think of these things as your anger first aid kit. You might never need them, but you want to be prepared in case of emergencies.
Many times our anger escalates because we might feel trapped or pinned in. Through knowing what calms you down, though, you know you have a route out of any situation. Just having this knowledge available can help to mitigate any situation that looks to get out of hand.
Allow Yourself to Let Your Emotions Out
As humans, we all have in common that we are emotional beings. We might not all show it all the time or at all. Still, though, we all feel emotions all day every day. In order to keep a regular healthy rhythm in our lives, we need to know how to process those emotions effectively.
Furthermore, many people with ADHD struggle to both understand others’ emotions as well as express their own. The good news, though, is that most people can learn how to properly express emotions such as empathy over time. We can also learn that feeling our emotions can be helpful as long as we do it in the right circumstances.
To be emotionally healthy, you need to be able to process happiness, sorrow, pain, sadness, anger, and grief correctly. This means not ignoring these feelings, but rather letting them out. If you don’t let your emotions of pain or sadness out, then eventually these can build up and might result in angry outbursts.
A could way to let emotions out is through a friend or spouse through talking and sharing how you feel. You can also do this with a counselor or support group in your area. Another good way to let your emotions come out is through art, through either writing, like in a journal, or through creating artworks like painting. These means help you to reflect on your emotions and release them out from your mind. Over time continually releasing your emotions will help you perfect your ADHD anger management control.
Get Angry—But in a Controlled Space
Not only do you need to let your emotions out in general, you also need to learn how to positively release anger. We all feel anger. Sometimes anger arises for a reason outside anyone’s control. Sometimes, it is unjustified. Other times, though, you should feel you have a right to be angry.
Bottling in your emotions in general can lead to negative outbursts. Still, even if you let out your other emotions but keep your anger in, your anger can erupt unexpectedly. To help your ADHD anger management strategy, you need to find a safe place to let your anger out. This needs to be a place that you can be alone and that you feel is safe. A good place might be an isolated space in your home when no one else is around.
In your safe place then, you should then allow yourself time to just feel your anger and respond. You can respond by screaming or writing out your frustrations. Some people, if they have a punching bag available, can release some tension through punching or kicking the punching bag. Whatever works best for you, utilize your safe private space to release the built up anger and tension. Through allowing yourself to feel your anger in a safe place, you can limit the possibility of outbursts in other places.
Depend on Others to Help You with your ADHD Anger Management
So far, we have mostly covered tips that you should do yourself. We want to close with the simple reminder that you need to depend on others. This applies to life in general. It also applies all the more for people working to keep their ADHD symptoms in check including anger.
Part of your ADHD anger management attack plan should be enlisting your family and close friends to help you keep your anger in check. Many people don’t want to do this because they believe that they have their anger in check or they don’t want to admit this might be a weakness. If you never recognize the problem, though, you will never find the right solution.
You need to acknowledge that you struggle with anger to get started on the road to recovery. Use the tips outlined here, but don’t just stop there. Talk to your doctor and counselor and family members about ways they can help, too. Once you learn that everyone wants to help you find success, you’ll realize that with others’ help you can find a way to manage your anger effectively.