Do you jump to conclusions without knowing the facts? GUILTY!
This past weekend I saw this "Jump To Conclusion" mat when I was out to dinner with my husband, and for all of my Office Space fans I immediately thought of Smykowski!
The next thought I had as a fellow ADHDer and ADHD life coach, was the erroneous thought patterns that us ADHDers can have based on the failures we have experienced in our lives. Which inspired me to writing this blog post.
As ADHDers we can have a tendency to jump to conclusions (JTC) before gathering all of the evidence. Emotional regulation can be challenging for individuals with ADHD as we often struggle with one of the core executive functions, inhibitory control, which includes self control and regulating verbal and motor action.
Inhibitory control as stated by author Adele Diamond, “involves being able to control one’s attention, behavior, thoughts, and/or emotions to override a strong internal predisposition or external lure, and instead do what’s more appropriate or needed. Without inhibitory control we would be at the mercy of impulses, old habits of thought or action (conditioned responses), and/or stimuli in the environment that pull us this way or that. Thus, inhibitory control makes it possible for us to change and for us to choose how we react and how we behave rather than being unthinking creatures of habit. It doesn’t make it easy. Indeed, we usually are creatures of habit and our behavior is under the control of environmental stimuli far more than we usually realize, but having the ability to exercise inhibitory control creates the possibility of change and choice. It can also save us from making fools of ourselves.”
Dr. Daniel Amen explains in his book Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD that ADHDers have automatic negative though patterns (ANTS), based on the failures they have experienced in their lives. Negative thoughts often drive difficult behaviors and cause people to have problems with their self-esteem.
When a person experiences negative input about themselves, they store it in their subconscious mind. The input then manifests as negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.
Changing unintentional and irrational thoughts to intentional thoughts can help us to reframe our negative thinking!
How to Reframe Negative Thinking
1. SQUASH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS:
In a recent Instagram and Facebook post I shared some ways to "squash" automatic negative thoughts, as inspired by Dr. Amen. To see the full post click HERE
Dr. Amen labels 9 types of Automatic Thoughts that ADHDers Can Struggle With:
All or Nothing Thinking
Focusing on the negative
Thinking About Your feelings
2. BE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR THOUGHTS:
The CTFAR model diagram from Brooke Castillo's Self Coaching Model demonstrates how our circumstances drive our thoughts, which cause feelings, which cause actions, which cause results.
You can use the cognitive behavioral framework below to help you reframe negative thoughts into intentional positive thoughts:
Step 1: Write down your Unintentional Thought Pattern by filling in the blanks below:
Circumstance: My friend did not text me back within the last 5 hours.
My Thought (unintentional thought): I did something that offended her and she no longer wants to be my friend.
Feeling: Sad and anxious.
Action: Call all of my other friends to complain.
Result:Ruminate on what I did wrong to make her not text me back.
Step 2: Create your “new” intentional thought pattern by filling in the blanks below:
New Thought (intentional thought) : She must be busy
Action: Set a reminder in my phone to call her in a couple of days to see how she’s doing. Result: Give my friend the space to get what she needs done and feel calm about it.
Next time you jump to conclusions consider using the ANT or CFTAR models above and remember...your brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more your practice reframing negative thoughts to more positive thinking the easier it can become.