Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adults With AD/HD: Is It Time To Explore The Shoulds In Your Life? by Jennifer Koretsky

How many times a day do you find yourself using the word "should"?

ADDers (adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) are full of "shoulds": I should do the dishes, I should clean out the fridge, I should see that movie, I should call my friend, etc.

The word "should" can be very dangerous to an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder, because it often results in unnecessary guilt.

If you're carrying around a lot of guilt over the things that you tell yourself you should be doing, then it's time make a change. In order to break through this unnecessary guilt and to help you prioritize the things that are on your mind, try exploring your "shoulds" by asking yourself the following question:

Is this "should" a necessity, a desire, or guilt?

Here are some examples:

1. I should do my taxes.

Necessity: If you don't do your taxes, you can find your finances slipping out of control. You can end up owing the government penalty fees. And you will absolutely have undue stress. This "should" is a necessity.

2. I should buy that CD.

Desire: This is something that you want to make you happy. You like the music you hear, and therefore you want to own it. This "should" is a desire.

3. I should clean my house more often.

Guilt: If the "should" comes when you compare yourself to others, then guilt is probably involved. It often happens when we feel like we are not living up to the performance or expectations of others (or our perceived performance/expectations of others.)

If you visit a friend's house and it's neat and clean, you may falsely interpret this to mean that your friend cleans all the time. In reality, your friend may have spent hours cleaning her/his house before you arrived to make it look nice!

If you are physically and mentally comfortable with the amount of time you spend cleaning your house, then cleaning more often is not a necessity and it's not a desire. It's merely a "should" that is nothing more than useless guilt!

Try this exercise for a whole day: Every time you find yourself using the word "should," ask yourself if it's a necessity, desire, or guilt. I promise that you'll feel a lot better about all the things you think you "should" be doing!

What "shoulds" can you let go of in your own life?

Copyright (c) 2010 Jennifer Koretsky