Powerful Possibilities: ADHD from New Diagnosis & Beyond

Feeling blue? ADHD & the brain changing power of Positive Emotions

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ADHD Coach Katherine Sanders

S Katherine Sanders, AACG, certified ADHD coach.

In this enlightening episode, ADHD Coach Katherine explains the power of positive emotions and their hidden role in managing ADHD.

The penultimate episode in our monthly theme of emotional dysregulation, we turn to the brighter side, exploring how positive emotions can reshape our experiences with ADHD. From tackling the misconceptions surrounding positivity (no 'good vibes only' here!) to unveiling the neuroscience behind emotional regulation, this episode is a treasure trove of insights and practical advice.


  • Understanding Emotional Dysregulation: We begin with a brief recap of emotional dysregulation in ADHD, emphasizing the need to balance our focus on both negative and positive emotions.
  • The Science of Positivity: Look at neuroplasticity, dopamine pathways, and the impact of positive emotions on the ADHD brain, featuring insights from Dr. Nora Volkow's research.
  • Strategies for Cultivating Positivity: From exercise to positive psychology and (yes) gratitude journaling, discover actionable strategies to foster positive emotions and build a more resilient mindset.
  • The Role of Emotional Intelligence: Explore how enhancing emotional intelligence can lead to better stress management, improved relationships, and a deeper understanding of oneself.
  • Introducing Emotional Acuity Resonance (EAR): A novel concept developed by Katherine, EAR represents an adaptable approach to understanding and leveraging the emotional strengths inherent in ADHD.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Study by Dr. Nora Volkow on dopamine reward pathways
  • Journal of Neuroscience article on positive emotions and ADHD
  • VIA Character Strengths Assessment
  • Barbara Fredrickson's Broaden and Build model
  • Daniel Goleman's work on Emotional Intelligence

Next Week's Teaser: Stay tuned for an exclusive reveal of Katherine's toolkit for emotion regulation, designed to empower you to harness the full spectrum of your emotions in daily life.

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  • Share your insights and takeaways by emailing us. Your feedback might shape our future episodes!
  • If this episode resonated with you, consider sharing it with someone who could benefit from our conversation on ADHD and positive emotions.

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Video of Dr Volkow - ADHD: An Attention and Motivation Deficit Disorder (2011)

VIA Character Strengths Assessment (free) - https://www.viacharacter.org/

Broaden & Build (journal article) - Fredrickson BL. The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Am Psychol. 2001 Mar;56(3):218-26. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.56.3.218. PMID: 11315248; PMCID: PMC3122271.

Broaden & Build in the workplace - article: https://www.mindtools.com/ah0omj7/broaden-and-build-theory

Daniel Goleman - Emotional Intelligence: https://www.danielgoleman.info/

Barbara Fredrickson: Broaden and Build Model

Fredrickson BL. The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Am Psychol. 2001 Mar;56(3):218-26. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.56.3.218. PMID: 11315248; PMCID: PMC3122271.

Bartos, L., Funes, M., Ouellet, Marc, Posadas, M., Immink, M., & Krägeloh, Christian U. (2022). A Feasibility Study of a Program Integrating Mindfulness, Yoga, Positive Psychology, and Emotional Intelligence in Tertiary-Level Student Musicians. Mindfulness.

Valerie, Brenda, & Mularsih, Heni. (2021). The Correlation Between Emotional Intelligence and Subjective Well-Being Among Psychology Students in Jakarta. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research.

Cejudo, J., García-Castillo, Francisco-Javier, Luna, Pablo, Rodrigo-Ruiz, D., Feltrero, Roberto, & Moreno-Gómez, Alfonso. (2019). Using a Mindfulness-Based Intervention to Promote Subjective Well-Being, Trait Emotional Intelligence, Mental Health, and Resilience in Women With Fibromyalgia. Frontiers in Psychology.

Lopez-Zafra, Esther, Ramos‑Álvarez, M., El Ghoudani, Karima, Luque-Reca, Octavio, Augusto-Landa, J., Zarhbouch, Benaissa, Alaoui, Smail, Cortés-Denia, Daniel, & Pulido-Martos, M. (2019). Social Support and Emotional Intelligence as Protective Resources for Well-Being in Moroccan Adolescents. Frontiers in Psychology.

Farnia, Forouzan, Nafukho, F., & Petrides, K. (2018). Predicting Career Decision-Making Difficulties: The Role of Trait Emotional Intelligence, Positive and Negative Emotions. Frontiers in Psychology.

Qin, Yuan, Liu, Jiao, & Wu, Dongmei. (2023). The impact of emotional intelligence on life satisfaction among Chinese nurses: A chain mediating model. Frontiers in Psychology. 

Li, Chengchen. (2020). A Positive Psychology perspective on Chinese EFL students’ trait emotional intelligence, foreign language enjoyment and EFL learning achievement. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 

Ben Turkia, I., Brahim, T., & Sahli, L. (2023). Emotional Intelligence and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). European Psychiatry.

Pm, S., & Manjula, V. (2022). Emotional Intelligence and Marital Adjustment among Parents of Children with ADHD. International Journal of Science and Engineering Management. 

Llamas-Díaz, D., Cabello, R., Gómez-Leal, R., Gutiérrez-Cobo, M. J., Megías-Robles, A., & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2023). Ability Emotional Intelligence and Subjective Happiness in Adolescents: The Role of Positive and Negative Affect. Journal of Intelligence. 

Ludlow, A., Garrood, A., Lawrence, K., & Gutierrez, R. (2014). Emotion Recognition From Dynamic Emotional Displays in Children With ADHD. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 

Volkow ND, Wang G, Kollins SH, et al. Evaluating Dopamine Reward Pathway in ADHD: Clinical Implications. JAMA. 2009;302(10):1084–1091. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1308