ADHD and Releasing Physical Tension

Source: Nailone Deviant Art
Source: Nailone Deviant Art

With adult ADHD, it can sometimes feel as if both our mind and body never stop moving. Not all people have hyperactivity as a symptom of their ADHD, however, it doesn’t mean your body isn’t free from some of the physical tolls of this disorder. Even quiet people who often seem like they are off in dream land can find themselves holding a lot of physical tension.

I have struggled most of my adult life with muscle tension, migraines, and tension headaches. I have often been told by doctors, physical therapists, and other health professionals that for me, these have been caused by anxiety and stress. I believe this could be true for others as well.

 

From the American Psychological Association, “When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress — the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain. With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders. For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head.”

One of the ways that I know I am being emotionally and physically consumed by stress or worry is by evaluating my dreams. I rarely get a good night’s sleep, but when I internalize stress I tend to have very vivid dreams. For example, I don’t often speak up at work, where I do as much as I can to avoid saying things that I believe will upset people.

Somehow I believed that if I was cool and calm on the outside, I was not truly bothered by something and I was handling situations like a good Christian woman. Don’t’ speak up, remain silent, be a “yes” person; and this will help you to remain a good woman. If I wasn’t fidgeting, or day dreaming when I should be paying attention, then that meant, to me at least, that my ADHD symptoms were under control. Boy was I wrong. The truth was in my increased muscle tension, and pain in my neck and shoulders, and the headaches that left me in need of few long afternoon naps.

Scripture advises us not to let the day end with us being angry and upset with others or the trials that life brings us. God knows that stress and worry are bad for our mind and hard on our bodies. His son tells us to cast all our cares onto him and lighten our loads.

1 peter 5 7 Cast your cares on him

Maybe you’re not sure if you have been carrying around the physical stress of having ADHD and a dual diagnosis (e.g. Depression, Anxiety Disorder, OCD), check out some of these symptoms and see how often they occur for you.

Symptoms of physical tension caused by stress:

-Headaches (often starts in the back of the head and above the eyebrows)

-Muscle tension in the neck and shoulders

-Lower back pain

-Muscle spasms and ticks

-Clenched jaw

-Grinding of teeth

Although I engage in different practices to prevent or decrease stressors in my life, I still have times when stress takes a toll on my body. For me personally, the best methods for managing the symptoms have been tension releasing stretches throughout the day time, secular yoga movements, meditating on God’s word, and short leisurely walks in the afternoon during breaks or immediately after work. It’s important to find methods that work for you.

Some easy ways to ease and release muscle tension include:

-Having an Epsom salt bath in warm water

-Deep breathing exercises

-Basic yoga moves (or yoga alternatives)

-Going for a non-brisk, leisurely walk (remember to stretch afterwards)

-Prayer

-Finding a quiet place to sit and relax without engaging in any activity

-Simple stretches

-Going for weekly massages

stress relieving stretches

Ephesian 4:26-32

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil…. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

 

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Colour Away Your ADHD Frustrations and Anxiety

biodiversity Psalm 104: 24-25 I am an art lover. I love looking at beautiful works of art in a variety of formats: painting, photography, drawing, film, mixed art, you name it. I admire those who have the talent to create works of arts inspired by nature. The closest I will ever get to being an artist is colouring.

I am glad the publishing word has realized there are plenty of adults such as myself who find colouring to be relaxing. If you find yourself needing to unwind and release all the stress, anxiety, frustrations, boredom, and unreleased energy that has built up during the day; colouring is a great way to do so.

If you need some inspiration, try going for a walk while summer is still hanging on. When Fall arrives, take another motivating walk and get inspired by the gold, browns, yellows, and reds of the season. If you feel even more creative, why not colour pictures with shades you wish were represented in nature. Who says a tree can’t be purple, and the sky turquoise?

adult colouring book

Colouring for the purpose of relaxation and stress release allows for something you don’t get to experience during your daily routine; it offers you creative freedom. There is no competition, no judgement – unless you invite it, no limits, and no expectations. The colouring is completed by you and is done only for you.

The story of creations’ beginning always fascinated me as a child. The story books I was exposed to often started with a blank page and ended with beautiful colour and artistry. I can’t even begin to imagine what the world looked like before God brought the beauty of creation into existence. Imagine a world void of colour, various textures, and patterns.

As with most years, Winter weather will arrive alongside Fall. We will spend 8 months in a dark, cold, winter void of any colour other than white. For some people Seasonal Affective Disorder (link) leads to negative mood changes which last until longer hours of sunlight return during the Spring. Even those who are not affected by this mood disorder become more depressed due to decreased sunlight and more time spent in the cold weather, and decreased activity.

For myself, colouring bright pictures of spring and mandalas help to remind me of what I have to look forward to once Winter is over. If you don’t like the idea of colouring pictures of nature and mandalas, there are a variety of objects for you to colour: human anatomy, animals, science fiction/fantasy themes, and a host of other topics. Pick the themes you love and know will provide a sense of calm and relaxation.

animal colouring book

Where To Start

Blogger Bette Fetter lists a few of her recommendations for adult colouring books at her website (link).

There are also a good selection of adult coloring books to be found on amazon.com (link)

If you don’t want to purchase a colouring book you can find websites with free colouring pages such as colourpix.com (link)

To save money you can also purchase colouring books at places like dollar stores, Wal-Mart and Target for under $5.00