ADHD: A Guide to Emotional Regulation

Regulating emotions, such as frustration, anger, and sadness is a difficult skill for most individuals. However, individuals with ADHD tend to have difficulties with their executive functioning control, which can make regulating their emotions an even tougher struggle. 

What does emotional dysregulation look like?

  • Frustration: Individuals with ADHD have a low frustration threshold which leaves them easily frustrated, which leads to tantrums and outbursts
  • Overly Excited: Individuals have difficulty regulating excitement, which leads to intense emotions: yelling, jumping, etc.
  • Anxiety: Individuals tend to focus on strong emotions, and have difficulty shifting their focus which leads to nervousness, avoidance, and exaggerated emotions.

What tools can help with emotional regulation?

Foundational Care:

  • Exercise: Try to exercise at least 20-30 minutes each day. Exercise releases endorphins which are positive chemicals in the body. Exercise can also help to relieve stresses in the environment.
  • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet with lots of nutrients will keep energy levels high. Try to limit sugar content to leave sugar levels stable. 
  • Sleep: Research suggests that individuals should have 8-10 hours of sleep. Adequate sleep can help lower blood pressure and relieve stress. 

Be Proactive: 

  • Prepare for difficult situations: Preparing for a challenging situation can help with anxieties. Write down the steps to complete the project, or go through the aspects of a difficult activity before it begins.
  • Role Play: When entering a new situation, try to role play the upcoming encounter to help prepare yourself mentally, and relieve some of the added anxiety or excitement.

Practice Self-Soothing Techniques:

  • Breathing exercises: Try deep yoga breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth to help keep your body calm and stable. 
  • Cool down: Decreasing your body temperature can help with anxious feelings- try putting a cold compress or ice pack on your head to limit anxiety and stress.
  • Muscle relaxation: Muscle exercises such as tensing every part of your body individually and then releasing the tension can be a strategy to regulate your emotions. 


If you have further questions about strategies or therapies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Children’s Wellness and Developmental Center at 732-919-1335.

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Monday 11am - 4pm
Tuesday 9am - 4pm
Wednesday 11am - 7pm
Thursday 10am - 5pm
Friday 10am - 2pm

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Children’s Wellness & Developmental Center
2006 State Highway 71 Suite 4
Spring Lake Hts, NJ 07762 Monmouth County
T: 732.919.1335
F: 732-782-0353

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