Two female friends with shopping bags having fun while shopping in a mall, close-up on bags

Impulse control is hard for most people. Who doesn’t want to eat a whole bag of salty potato chips or a pint of ice cream? But, when you have ADHD, forget about it! You can ruin your life if you can’t stop your harmful behaviors. I’ve seen it happen too many times. It’s heart-breaking.

Impulse control is a major problem when you have ADHD. If not properly controlled, the consequences are severe. If you can’t regulate your actions, thoughts, and speech; your life can get messy.

If you don’t control your eating; you eat until you’re sick, overweight and unhealthy. Your blood pressure and cholesterol are high, and your clothes don’t fit. You’re uncomfortable when you sit, and you can’t fit into the booth at a restaurant.

If you shop too much and spend money you don’t have, you end up with bills you cannot pay. Collection agencies are calling, and your credit score is zero. You can’t find a place to live or buy a car to get to work.

When you can’t control your speech, you say everything you think and hurt people you love. You destroy relationships. Your loved ones can only tolerate so much pain and suffering before they call it quits. You live isolated and alone, blaming the world for the problems you’ve created.

If you have ADHD, thoughts are flying fast through your mind. It’s hard to think before speaking or acting. You need to create a space between thoughts and actions.

The best way to manage your impulses is to learn how to PAUSE. Thiis is also the hardest thing for an ADHDer to do, and it’s the most valuable. Learning to make

When you have ADHD, your mind is always moving fast. It may not show externally, but internally your brain is always in gear. Of course, you won’t be able to stop your speeding thoughts and desires (nor do you want to), but you have to determine which ones to respond to, and which ones to let go.

Here’s an excerpt from The Pause e-Book on my website:

My impulse to react is a constant nagging urge. It’s invisible, so others may not see it. But it’s there, even when I sleep. And its results are everywhere.

I speak before I think. I say things I shouldn’t say, and I end up regretting what I said, feeling bad, and ruminating for hours (or days) over my words. I often end up apologizing. Without solid self-esteem, my impulsive behavior would make me feel guilt and shame. And the cycle begins; guilt and shame lead to isolation and withdrawal, which lead to anxiety and possibly depression. All of this happens simply because of my inability to stop and think before I speak.

It’s not so easy to stop the impulse to speak. It’s a strong force. There is no space, no time, it just happens so quickly. It’s harder for a person with ADHD to resist their trigger urges.

If you are willing, you can learn to make space so that your impulses are regulated by wise decision-making and awareness of consequences. Just like any other behavior you want to change, it takes work. But change is possible.

Here are a few hacks to help you get started:

  1. Know your triggers– What causes you to lose control; the things you say, the words you text, pizza, clothes, video games, or Pokemon Go?
  2. Become aware– Notice when you lose control. Think about what you’re going to lose control of before you enter the situation. If you’re going to Target (and you know that you spend too much), say it, don’t deny it, or rationalize your desire to buy things you don’t need.
  3. Distract yourself– Just like a parent distracting a child who wants candy in the grocery story, put your focus on to something else. Parent yourself.
  4. Just say NO– Saying NO doesn’t come easy for an ADHDer, especially when it comes to saying NO to yourself. Practice saying NO! And then listen to yourself. Give yourself a slap on the cheek when you don’t listen.
  5. Tell a friend- Your impulses are usually private, secrets that you keep inside your mind. These thoughts can become destructive. Get them out of your head. Tell someone you trust, a person who will support you.

The more you practice these steps, the stronger you will become. You can improve your ability to react impulsively.

What impulses do you struggle with? In which situations is it hard for you to say enough?

Buy The Pause eBook and Workbook to make your life better than it is!