We spent the last few months talking about your ADHD brain switch. How to turn it on to help you stay focused and on task. Now we are going to switch (pun not intended) to looking at ADHD in a different way. Let’s talk about stimulation.
Remember, ADHD is a brain chemistry issue. It’s not laziness or a failure of will. And when we talk about stimulation and the ADHD brain we’re referring to stimulating the brain chemistry. This is key to focusing with ADHD.
You may know that the main medications used to treat attention deficit are called stimulation medications. That’s because most ADHD medications stimulate the neurotransmitter activity for the brain. And, simply put, that helps people reduce their ADHD symptoms, direct their focus, and get stuff done.
Goldilocks and ADHD Stimulation
But there’s more to managing ADHD than just stimulating the neurotransmitter activity. Just like Goldilocks trying to find that just right bowl of porridge and bed, you’re looking for that just right level of ADHD brain stimulation.
With ADHD, if we’re not careful, we usually have either too little stimulation or too much stimulation. It’s a delicate balance to get the right amount of stimulation for focus, productivity, and success.
What happens when someone with ADHD doesn’t have enough stimulation? They often feel blah, unmotivated, uninterested, or disengaged. They can’t start tasks. They’re distracted and fritter away time and get nothing done. For me, under stimulation can even feel a bit like a low grade depression.
What happens when someone with ADHD has too much stimulation? They often feel scattered, overwhelmed, too focused, too intense, overly excited. Too impulsive. Running on adrenaline. My Favorite Husband says when I’m over stimulated it’s like watching a pinball zinging about.
What happens when someone with ADHD has just the right amount of stimulation? This is what we’re after. When your brain stimulation is just right, you can focus on what’s important. Intentionally shift from task to task. Go through your day calmly with nice energy and awareness. You can live intentionally. This is now how I spend most of my days, and it’s lovely.
ADHD Stimulation is a Balance
But there’s more. You see, brain stimulation is a balance. Even if you’re taking Ritalin or Adderall you need to be aware of this balance and how to influence it. It’s a skills and pills situation.
Have you ever tried to balance on one foot? Then you know that maintaining balance takes tiny, frequent adjustments. You don’t just balance and stay there.
That’s why in the ADHD Success Club (the new season starts September 14) we spend a lot of time talking about brain stimulation and what I call the Stimulation Lever.
In next week’s ADHD Success, we’ll talk about what you do with this idea that you’ve got these two extremes: Low Stimulation and High Stimulation.
For now, your first step is building awareness. How do you behave when you’re over stimulated and under stimulated? Learn to identify when your stimulation is out of balance so you can bring in tools and tricks to adjust it.
Remember, living with ADHD doesn’t have to be so hard. Becoming aware of stimulation so you can adjust it is a key ADHD life skill.