The field of neuroscience has shown habits can be learned and unlearned. This has been evidenced by observed and documented neurological pathways in the brain. Specifically, these pathways have been shown to change in correlation to changes in behaviors with observed individuals.
This means that if you struggle with attention deficit and related issues, you can change. Change, while easier said and done, happens through the process of doing things differently. So, if you struggle with maintaining focus on a task at hand, you can practice incrementally to improve your ability to stay on task longer. The same goes for issues related to emotional regulation, managing your impulse and staying organized.
Why Is Change Hard?
If change, is so straight forward, why do people who struggle with ADHD, not practice the change they need to? Even when the consequences of not practicing change are detrimental to them? The answer lies in the non-conscious beliefs we hold. At the root of all detrimental behaviors, lies a belief which is based on a falsehood.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, it is understood, that there are two types of beliefs people hold unto. They are the conscious beliefs and the non-conscious beliefs. Your conscious beliefs are based on your awareness of ideas, principles, facts and values that you consciously agree or disagree with. While your non-conscious beliefs are based on a collection of experiences you non-consciously formed an opinion on, since you’re were a child.
Take for example, this common social experiment, you can ask someone if he or she believes in telling lies. Most people when asked this will say no. However, if this is someone with whom you have a close relationship with, you can remind them of moments when they have told lies. In short, you must point out a contradiction to their beliefs.
Beliefs are contradictory, and often it is the less flattering belief that resides in the sub conscious mind. To understand your true beliefs, simply look at your past and present behaviors in response to stress.
So, if you struggle with ADHD, whether due to trauma or being a-neuro-typical, here is the one common belief that could be making your ADHD worse
I Can’t Change
You believe you can’t change for the better. Most of your experiences with ADHD have been difficult to say the least. You intend to do well but succumb to distraction. This way of thinking leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy of habitual failing. If you believe that you cannot change for the better, then you have simply conditioned yourself to give up, when things get tough.
Change is a constant, so this means that when you are not getting better, you are getting worse. Worse, because it becomes difficult for you to keep up with new demands of life as you get older. A big part of the reason people who struggle with change, is because they try to change too much at once. This leads to feelings of being overwhelmed, which leads to an automatic regression into old habits. This happens because the old habits bring comfort.
One Step At A Time
When it comes to changing behavior, the best option is to take things slow. This is accomplished by tackling one issue or deficit at a time. As you experience consistency in improving each issue, you gain confidence and momentum towards improving the next issue.
This can be difficult as you find yourself tempted to address the other issues which are plaguing your life. However, you must remain disciplined towards addressing the most pressing issue, and thoroughly, before moving unto the next.