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Topic: Dealing With Emotions

October 24th, 2006 Meeting Notes for the Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group

Return to Vancouver Adult ADD Support Group Previous Notes Page



Facilitator: Pete Quily

The topic for this meeting was ADHD and Emotions. Thanks to Anne Marie for the notes.

Why do ADHD adults have stronger emotions / ride the emotional roller coaster more than others?

  • Co-morbid conditions eg. Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder
  • Frustration
  • Tunnel Vision
  • Lack of Patience
  • Intensity
  • “Jack in the Box”
  • Cognitive Overload -leads to cognitive disruption
  • Higher sensitivity i.e. lower ability to filter
  • Impulsivity – tendency to not think of consequences
  • Inability to say “No” to others – emotional overload
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of Self-care
  • Negative loop – audiotapes of negative messages from others


Ways to Develop Self-Awareness (have to be in a calmer state to achieve this)


  • Generally better to deal/check in during irritation phase in order to look at triggers or environment.
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Self-Observation – dispassionate vs. compassionate
  • Meditation
  • Obtaining a diagnosis of conditions and perhaps other health issues
  • Feedback from others (neutral parties who have no agenda). Must be open to receiving this feedback.
  • Books – self knowledge
  • Journalling
  • Exercise – works well on all 3 neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin. Helps with ADD, Depression & Anxiety.
  • Schedule Management


Effective Ways to Deal with Strong Emotions

a) Self Care Activities

    • eating right, getting enough sleep, doing activities you love, taking a break

b) Meditation/Calming Down

    • using senses in walking, breathing meditation, stress reduction
    • using visualization techniques

c) Feel It

    • An emotion is like a muscle eg. if you are generally living in the “head”, it is important to gradually increase capacity to process situations using emotions and the “heart”
    • Notice the Message: Is it a valid message? Is it something that I need to listen to?
    • Decide the Response or Non-Response à Is there a need to do anything about it?
    • Release it healthly versus locking feelings in and then exploding later.

d) Focusing on the facts

e) Talking to supportive individuals about it

f) Separating behaviour from person

g) Acknowledging feelings but separating feelings from fact

h) Have the curiosity and courage in the face of fear to experience the emotion.




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