Unlocking the Busy Brain: Understanding the Inner World of ADHD

Unlocking the Busy Brain: Understanding the Inner World of ADHD

Kristine Keane, Psy.D.

Ever wonder why some people seem to breeze through the day while others feel like they’ve run a marathon mentally? The answer may lie within the context of the often misunderstood experiences of those with ADHD. Picture this: it’s not just about being physically hyperactive. No, the ‘H’ in ADHD is also about an ‘internal restlessness’ and having a supercharged nervous system. It’s like having a turbo engine – great for brainstorming and problem-solving, but it can also lead to some serious mental gymnastics, particularly in the form of overthinking and catastrophizing.

Understanding one’s mental landscape is crucial for addressing stress, anxiety, or excessive worry. Overthinking and ruminating are pervasive aspects of the ADHD experience, and dealing with one’s disruptive inner chatter can be draining. To navigate this intricate landscape, consider incorporating the following practical tips to bring a bit of zen to our buzzing brains:

1. Take Small Steps: Recognize that even minor actions can calm racing thoughts. Dwelling on thoughts for too long can lead to procrastination, perfectionism, guilt, and imposter syndrome. Initiating action, no matter how small, can redirect attention towards meaningful pursuits.

2. Intentional Thinking: Safeguard your mental landscape by consciously directing your mental energy. Setting clear emotional boundaries is essential for overall well-being. Mindfully choosing your thoughts can prevent the transformation of negativity into reality.

3. Discard Unproductive Thoughts: Actively guide your thinking back to neutral ground and avoid getting entangled in negativity. Morning meditation, deep breathing, or tapping can serve as grounding practices, preventing negative narratives from derailing your path.

4. Identify Triggers: Establish mental barriers to shield yourself from thoughts hindering your growth. Evaluate the influence of media, social interactions, and content exposure on your self-perception. Focus on activities and relationships aligned with your values to contribute to inner peace.

5. Prioritize Joy: Reflect on activities that bring joy and integrate them into your day. Whether it’s yoga, singing, baking, exercise, or socializing, introducing sources of joy can help maintain a positive mental state.

5. Embrace Your Brain’s Workings: Acknowledge and accept the functioning of your brain. Techniques like EFT tapping, mindful breathing, and meditation can facilitate a quieter mind without judgment.

6. Relax Your Body: Consciously release tension in your body to allow relaxation and presence of mind. Physical movement, such as shaking off tension, aids in disengaging the brain from overthinking.

7. Address Inner Restlessness: Consider that inner restlessness might hold valuable insights. Instead of resisting recurring thoughts, try inviting them in. Developing the skill of sitting with your thoughts can be valuable, especially when dealing with ADHD.

8. Employ Humor and Self-Compassion: Cultivate a sense of humor as a powerful tool for self-compassion and kindness. Embracing humor can lighten the weight of situations, foster interconnectedness, and encourage vulnerability and honesty.

So, there you have it – some brain hacks to navigate the twists and turns of your mind. Remember, you’re the boss of your thoughts, and a bit of humor goes a long way. The journey to quieting a racing mind involves understanding the nuances of one’s cognitive processes and implementing strategies to regain a sense of control. 

Dr. Kristine Keane, a clinical and sports neuropsychologist, is widely recognized for her profound expertise in brain health. Drawing on extensive experience, she is passionately committed to enhancing cognitive and emotional well-being.


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