I’m not sure how many of you are from the New York City area, or have been there, or have just seen it on television. However, I think it’s fair to say that most people, when they think of New Yorkers, think of tough, unfiltered, often rude people, who do not tolerate B.S. ever.
Not only am I a born and raised New Yorker-I’m from Brooklyn. Telling this fact to my former students on Day One of school prompted good behavior for at least a few days.
So when Oprah started talking about gratitude journals, and stopping to notice the birds and flowers, I thought that the idea was ridiculous. “Who has time for that?” I thought. “Sure, I’m grateful for a lot of things and people in my life, but can’t I just be grateful and not make a big deal out of it? I know that I’m grateful, no one needs to tell me how to do it.”
And there’s no way I needed another item on that to-do list, right?? It’s overflowing as it is.
Of course, as with most things, Oprah actually had it right. Especially for someone like me.
You see, having that tough Brooklyn persona requires keeping your feelings hidden-with the possible exception of anger. The whole premise of being a New Yorker is being unflappable. Add ADHD into the mix, and there can be the guilt and shame associated with missing deadlines, etc.-being tucked away where no one can see.
However, being that stoic, unaffected human doesn’t just keep you from getting carried away when something bad happens. It also prevents you from getting pumped up about the good, particularly the little things that can go unnoticed. In fact, not only can you miss acknowledging them-it might, in fact, be uncool to do so. Who stops their day to note their gratitude for the technology that lets you pay your bills online, and therefore on time?
Well…now I do.
I don’t know what possessed me to start my gratitude journal-I think I was given a really nice notebook, and wanted to use it. I try to take note of the small things-my dog’s soft ears, talking to my kids, having a productive day.
Having this become a habit has trained me to notice things I’m grateful for during the day, so I have something to write about. I consistently notice the good things in my life, which in turn lifts my mood.
When one is dealing with ADHD, finding that little kernel of happiness in a day can sometimes be the key to persevering. To saying, “Okay, I paid that bill late. But I’m not a loser. I’m grateful that I only paid it two days late, and that I’m smart enough to find a strategy to help with this.”
Plus anything that helps one focus on something is always a good exercise for ADHDers.