Managing ADHD with Humor

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – March 18, 2024

“If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane” ~ Jimmy Buffet.  That’s right; we’re all a little crazy in our own way, especially those with ADHD.  All too often, ADD-ers get caught up in the seriousness of life.  Most could use a little humor to lighten things up, and the ability to laugh at themselves is something we should aspire to just to take off some of the pressure.

What I mean by that is, if you have ADHD, you may be paying attention one way to what’s going on, and then somewhere along the line, you switch how you’re paying attention to it, and you get a whole new perspective. As I’ve said many times before, I like to pay attention to attention. Let me illustrate it with a simple joke.

A guy is sitting in the living room watching TV, and his wife walks in. She says, “Well, what’s on TV?”

He says, “Dust.”

And that’s when the fight started.

Jokes are like that, and I find a lot of them kind of fit that format. Humor may be the opposite of fear, like a kind of shield. Humor gives people freedom, and it’s one of the reasons we would pay a lot of money to see a comedian. We may admire dramatic actors, but we love comedians.  We love to laugh because it gives us freedom.

If you’re watching a horror movie, for example, and the characters are just walking along and the music is starting to pick up, suspense is building, and they go around the corner and open the door. Suddenly, a cat jumps out, and the whole audience jumps or screams. Then, you relax a bit. But then, the characters turn around and there’s a monster there. That’s a shift in perspective. But you can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time. So, there’s no freedom there until you release the fear and start laughing… even though your heart may be pounding.

The point is that freedom comes with that shift of attention. So, a good joke always has the shift of perspective in the middle of it… where it goes one way and then, bang! It switches to the other. Laughter lets you look at a fairly serious topic and turn it into humor. Those with ADHD can be so worried, so intense, so frightened about medication, or whatever, but humor breaks all that open and allows them to laugh at their own behaviors. There’s no shame in it. These things still happen, and it’s a relief if you can chuckle at it.

To get more insight on comedy, humor, and ADHD, we talked with professional comedian Rick Green. As Rick pointed out, life may not be all that interesting, but if you try and make a story out of everything that’s happened, no matter how mundane it is, there’s always got to be a little twist that makes it entertaining or humorous or just fun to listen to. Paying attention is not just necessarily words, but it’s actions, too. It’s the intent behind what’s happening that you should focus on.

To be who you are is a great thing, which is that someday you can look back and laugh at whatever the situation. But I say, why wait? Start today. So, go out and laugh. Have some fun in the world. If you want to hear Rick’s interview all the way through, you can find it here, “The Impact of Humor on ADHD,”

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