Self

14 Unique ADHD Superpowers — And How To Make The Most Of Them

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If you or someone you love has ADHD, you know that it’s not always easy to deal with anxiety, executive function difficulties, and self-criticism.

Friends and family with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder want to do well, achieve, and succeed, but struggle with challenges that can sometimes seem like insurmountable obstacles.

But what if instead of seeing these as obstacles, we thought of them as "superpowers?" Rather than a negative stigma, we can — and should — embrace these facets of mental acuity and emotional intelligence that are, in many cases, actually enhanced by ADHD.

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14 ADHD 'superpowers' you might not know about

ADHD is not who you are, it is something you live with.

It means you think a little differently, navigate the world a little differently, and solve problems a little differently from others. So when you accept your unique perspective and approach, you are better able to set yourself up for success.

It’s important to celebrate and enhance the strengths that exist. Here are 14 essential strengths shared by Dr. Melissa Welby that you can remember when challenging ADHD moments arise.

1. Resilience

The ability to persevere through challenges.

2. Creativity

The ability to see and appreciate originality.

3. Perceptiveness

The ability to recognize nuance in relationships.

4. Adaptability 

The ability to go with the flow.

5. Emotionally expressive

The ability to let your happiness, sadness, anger, or other emotions breathe.

6. Impulsivity

The ability to act on instinct.

7. Sense of humor

The ability to know what's funny and appreciate it.

8. Empathetic and compassionate

The ability to see the world through others' eyes and treat them with kindness.

9. Able to multitask

The ability to do this and this and this at the same time.

10. Spontaneity

The ability to change plans on a dime.

11. Drive and passion

The ability to motivate yourself.

12. Curiosity

The ability to see beyond the obvious.

13. Enthusiastic

The ability to get fired up and excited.

14. Authentic and honest

The ability to embrace the truth as a guiding principle.

RELATED: 6 Common-But-Often-Overlooked Symptoms Of ADHD In Adults

Embrace your ADHD with self-acceptance

Accepting your ADHD is the first step to empowering yourself. It means you think a little differently, navigate the world a little differently, and solve problems a little differently from others.

So when you accept your unique perspective and approach, you are better able to set yourself up for success.

You can have a deeper understanding of what makes you tick, and what works and doesn’t work for your living and learning styles. Remember, everyone is different in their own unique ways. 

ADHD may set you apart from the neurotypical crowd but it doesn’t diminish you in any way. In fact, plenty of other neurodiverse folks can provide encouragement, support, and friendship. 

Embrace your ADHD and all that you are — it’s the crucial step toward accepting and loving yourself.

RELATED: 12 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem (And It's Affecting Your Quality Of Life)

Have compassion for yourself and others

It’s so easy to give in to critical self-talk at times of frustration. We are often our worst critics, which is a heavy load to carry. ADHD makes it harder to stay focused, get organized, and feel like you’ve got your act together.

That’s why it’s essential to practice compassion — toward yourself and others like you. Learn to minimize the negative inner voice and to amplify the cheerleader within. 

If your child forgot to hand in their homework again or you were a day late with a work report, it doesn’t mean either of you is a hopeless failure.

Remind yourself it’s naturally more challenging for you to stay organized, manage time and follow through. Use lists, alerts, and reminders to stay on track.

Leave yourself with daily motivations, meditate on positive messages, and do whatever it takes to treat yourself with more kindness and forgiveness.

RELATED: 5 Stress-Reducing Routines For Adults With ADHD — That You Can Actually Stick To 

Accentuate the positive

I often ask my clients with ADHD to think of their super-power–something they’re good at and proud of. If we’re only focused on what isn’t working, we’re bound to miss all the gifts and beautiful qualities that make us unique.

For example, kids and adults with ADHD can be dreamers, going from one thought to another and then something else. This is what also makes them exceptionally creative.

They can make up stories, draw beautifully, or compose music. 

Set aside some time to think of three positive things about yourself. It can be a particular skill or talent, how you’ve contributed to a good cause or a remarkable aspect of your personality.

These types of affirmations are essential and will help drown out the negativity that can take center stage easily.

RELATED: 4 Common Misconceptions About ADHD That Everyone Needs To Forget

Celebrate yourself, ADHD and all

October is ADHD Awareness Month. It's a time to celebrate who you are.

There are so many beautiful aspects of being a unique, outside-the-box thinker. This month, focus on what is working in your life and help your kids do the same. 

Take some time to honor big and small successes and validate your effort and progress. It’s not all about achievement: Paying attention to what you are doing differently is making a change, too. How can you build on this to make it a lasting habit?

People who live with ADHD have so much to offer and bring a wide range of perspectives and experiences that enrich us all. Take pride in the creative, funny, artistic, athletic, and brilliant things you or your kids do.

Accepting yourself with self-compassion allows you to be good enough just as you are: a wonderful, perfectly imperfect, unique human being — just like everybody else!

RELATED: The 5 Most Overlooked Symptoms Of Inattentive ADHD & How To Cope With Each

Dr. Sharon Saline, Psy.D., is an international lecturer and workshop facilitator and has focused her work on ADHD, anxiety, learning differences, and mental health challenges and their impact on the school and family dynamics for more than 30 years.

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This article was originally published at Dr. Sharon Saline's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.