280: Dr. Sharon Saline: The Stress-Anxiety-ADHD Nexus

May 14

Did you know there's such a thing as productive anxiety and toxic anxiety? One can give you a boost, while the other can drag you down.

Managing ADHD, anxiety, time management, and social expectations can be tricky, but they also open doors to self-discovery and growth. Dr. Saline, with over 30 years of experience and a strengths-based approach, offers down-to-earth advice to help you tackle social anxiety, emotional regulation, and time management, especially during life transitions like menopause. Her personal and professional insights help smart women manage their busy brains and use their intelligence as a tool, not a mask.

In this episode, Dr. Saline breaks down how to understand and handle anxiety. She helps women tell the difference between productive anxiety, which can be a helpful motivator, and toxic anxiety, which can feel overwhelming. Her tips include being self-aware and using practical strategies like setting realistic time goals and trying out visual meditation techniques to stay emotionally balanced.

Dr. Saline is the author of the award-winning book What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew and specializes in working with ADHD and neurodivergent individuals of all ages, helping them improve cognitive and social skills, resilience, self-confidence, and personal relationships. She consults internationally with schools, clinics, and businesses, runs a private practice, and lectures at Smith College. Additionally, she blogs for Psychology Today, contributes to MASS Live, and hosts a bi-weekly Facebook Live event for ADDitude Magazine. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including MSN.com, The Psychotherapy Networker, Smith College Studies in Social Work, and Attention Magazine.





"We need to lean into our strengths and our inner allies. There will always be bumps and obstacles, but it's how we respond to them that makes the difference"
- Dr. Sharon Saline

"Practice makes progress. If something doesn’t work, no problem. Pivot. That’s what a learning experience and a growth mindset are all about. If you try something and it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. Just regroup."
- Dr. Sharon Saline

"We must recognize what we can control and what we cannot. If you can’t control it, rely on your resources."
- Dr. Sharon Saline

"We want to amplify the wise, calm part of ourselves to deflate worried thinking. It's that worried thinking that triggers anxiety, the physical response, and then negative beliefs. It's a cycle.”
- Dr. Sharon Saline

[00:05 - 15:20] ADHD Diagnosis and Management for Women
  • Dr. Sharon Saline shares her ADHD diagnosis, discussing her childhood anxiety and emotional regulation struggles during menopause.
  • Tracy and Dr. Sharon Saline reflect on their experiences with ADHD and discuss time management struggles due to ADHD.

[15:20 - 29:24] Stress, Anxiety, and Burnout in Individuals with ADHD
  • Dr. Sharon Saline explains feeling scattered and rushed under pressure and differentiates between internal anxiety and external stress.
  • She discusses burnout as a result of prolonged stress and emphasizes the need for self-care.
  • Women often manage family schedules and tasks, leading to unnoticed stress and burnout; Dr. Sharon notes increased creativity during pregnancy and a decline after menopause.

[29:24 - 1:04:00] Managing Anxiety, Inner Voices, and Perfectionism
  • Dr. Sharon Saline views anxiety as a condition to live with, not fix, and describes her inner ally (Tina Trailblazer) and ogre (Perfect Poindexter) to help listeners identify and name their inner voices.
  • Tracy discusses how ADHD can lead to anxiety due to constant thoughts and explains how feedback and worry about mistakes can develop into social anxiety.
  • They emphasize the importance of strength-based approaches to mental health, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression, and discuss social anxiety techniques.


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Hi, I'm Tracy

I teach Smart Ass ADHD women how to use their brilliant brains to build the life they want by embracing their too-muchness and focusing on their strengths.