Anger is an outward expression of frustration that is often linked to ADHD.
“This guy was being a complete idiot at work, not doing his job causing us all to fall behind on our project, so I called him out on it and gave him a piece of my mind. He deserved it and yet I am the one who got written up for being disruptive to the co-workers!“
Why do many people with ADHD see red so quickly and feel they “have to” react to a situation?
Emotional dysregulation is a common association with ADHD, caused by Emotional Distress Syndrome, which is the cumulative effect of the neurological processing differences and behavioral changes associated with ADHD.
What?! I will explain.
Emotional Dysregulation has a lot of negative effects on people. They tend to struggle with impulsiveness, intenseness, disruptiveness and heightened emotions. In addition, their social interactions with colleagues can be filled with misunderstandings and miscommunications due to a reduced ability to self-regulate their actions, memory and attention issues related to ADHD.
Due to these Dysregulations, they are more likely to get overwhelmed or overexcited at little things in the workplace, and it can be difficult to refocus their attention away from the negative aspect of a situation. This is when they blow up and express anger, frustration, and become verbally aggressive often feeling shame.
I have not had a client who did not feel remorse after their uncontrollable outburst and want to look for ways to gain control over their over the top reactions. The strain it puts on their relationships is real and they do not want to continue to over react in situations.
It’s a tough journey to control and change how a person responds to situations, but it is possible. The key is to respond rather than react to life stressors and here are some tips to gain that control.
How to Deal With Emotional Dysregulation at Work
Set an intention to respond
Responding rather than reacting sets an intention of how you are going to deal with a situation with thought. Even a few seconds of deciding how you will respond can diffuse your potential for an emotional outbreak.
Create a plan
Creating a plan of how to respond to different situations at the workplace can also help you deal with emotional dysregulation. Write down your plans and review them before heading to work. Some situations aren’t worth the trouble and it is ok to simply walk away from them.
Avoid over commitment
Do not over commit yourself to lots of job responsibilities. You do not need to be the one taking on all the extra tasks at work. Set a limit ahead of time of what is reasonable for you.
Take frequent breaks
When someone or something really pisses you off take a short walk even if it is for 5 minutes to regroup. You could even find a quiet place to meditate during the work day. Some offices are actually installing “quiet meditation rooms”.
A technique I have used with clients is called the box method. It works great for calming the mind down in many situations. It is a long used stress reducing technique used by Navy Seals. It only takes 5 minutes and can be done at your own desk.
Step 1: inhale for 4 seconds and hold your breath for 4 seconds
Step 2: exhale your breath for 4 seconds and hold your lungs empty for 4 seconds
Do not disturb
Many ADHD adults are hyper-focused on a task and distraction could lead to anger because transitioning from one activity to the other is usually tough. Therefore, it is vital to be clear on what to do to avoid being interrupted by your co-workers. You can choose to put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door or use a headphone to avoid noise.
Exercise is critical for adults with ADHD; it helps to improve mood and relieve stress. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend exercising, ensure that you do it regularly.
Go easy on yourself
Self-awareness is very important when dealing with ADHD. Once you understand your triggers and have a plan in place, you can manage how you react to your stressors and triggers.
Some times when you find yourself losing control and becoming too reactive at the workplace. It may be a sign that you need a change of medications. Visiting your doctor to get some medication changes could be all you need to reduce your emotional intensities.
Pick a few strategies to try and they may just help to blow out the wick before it gets started creating a better work experience for you!
Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.