“I Can’t Shut My Brain Off”: Five Tips for Calming Your Busy ADHD Brain

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The hyperactivity part of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) doesn’t just mean physical restlessness. It can also mean having a busy brain. A very, very busy brain. One that feels like the off switch is broken. A brain that becomes obsessed and consumed with its goals. Or a brain that can feel like a time machine, jumping unexpectedly to the past and critiquing your choices in one second and then to the future worrying about the next bad thing that might happen in another.

On the one hand, a busy brain can be an asset. Intuition, thinking five steps ahead and being able to have your mind in a bunch of places at the same time. However, it can also feel maddening, causing you to struggle to go to sleep or be present with your family after work. The key is learning to calm your brain when it becomes overwhelming.

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Before you can calm your thoughts, you have to understand how your brain works. ADHDers struggle to regulate impulses. Impulses to move, to speak, to buy, even to change thoughts. This is why many ADHDers report that they often say things they regret…and then think about what they said for hours after the fact. Why is overthinking so hard to control? The Default Mode Network, a set of interacting brain regions that are active when a person is not focused on the outside world. However, in the ADHD brain, the Default Mode Network is almost always on, making life an internal battle between controlling inner thoughts and impulses and needing to focus on the current moment. 

Here are some quick tips to calm your busy mind from the outside in:

Have fun.

This might seem like an odd idea. However, the ADHD brain responds to the fun. It craves it. It’s just likely making you seek it at the wrong times. Being intentional about having fun can coax the brain out of ADHD thought loop and calm down a worried nervous system.

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I know, I know, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. Friends, previous therapists, and coworkers even may have mentioned mediation. But hear me out,  the rumors are true. ADHD folks need support with the brain’s off switch, and practicing meditation (as part of your routine) can help you build a better off switch. Feel free to start small, it doesn’t take much to get the benefit.

Build structure.

Essentially, an adult with ADHD needs to get as much out of their head as possible. The keys need a home. The tedious tasks need to know when they are getting done. And the calendar needs to be leaned on. The hard part is building the structure in the first place. However, you don’t need to build the house overnight (so to speak). Change one thing at a time and build it brick by brick.

Make healthy lifestyle changes.

The things that affect the neurotypical brain affect the ADHD brain even more. That makes self-care, sleep, working out, hydration, etc. all the more important for an ADHDer. To start making healthier lifestyle choices, lean into what you’ve already done in the past when you were your healthiest self. Then, build things up from that place. Implementing small practices back into daily life can lead to quicker and more sustainable wins.

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Sometimes there is more going on in the emotional side of the brain than can be solved by meditation or sleep. Sometimes you need to dig a little deeper and learn more customized tools for overcoming negative self-talk, increasing assertiveness, or untangling fear, depression, or excessive guilt. This is where therapy can help clear out the cobwebs so you can be the best version of yourself.

Calm your Busy Brain with Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, OH

You don’t have to live your life feeling stressed and scattered. ADHD treatment can help you find real understanding and real solutions. Our Columbus OH-based counseling practice has caring adult ADHD specialists. To start your journey with one of our adult ADHD specialists, follow these simple steps:

Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling

We offer a variety of mental health services that go beyond adult ADHD treatment at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. As an adult with ADHD, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling understands you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, adult ADHD testing, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info. We look forward to connecting with you!