“Everybody gets bored, but those of us with ADHD tend to get bored a lot.”
Why do people with ADHD seem to be bored so often? In this video, Jessica McCabe explains just why ADHD brains struggle with so much boredom.
Jessica opens the video by explaining that boredom is what happens when our brains aren’t stimulated enough to stay interested and focused on a current activity, emphasising that this isn’t just dependent on the activity, but on ones ability to regulate attention. With this in mind, unregulated attention is a core feature of ADHD. This is because ADHD brains are chronically under-stimulated.
“It’s not just that we don’t like being bored. It’s that our brains don’t work as well when we are,” Jessica explains, adding that, as a result, seeking enough dopamine to reduce boredom is a coping mechanism that a lot of people with ADHD adopt.
“Sometimes our stimulation seeking is productive,” she continues. “Sometimes it’s fairly harmless, but not exactly adding to our folly of life and sometimes it makes us really fun to be around. Other times, it can be actively harmful to ourself, others or our goals.” It is these harmful behaviours that she goes on to discuss.
The easiest and quickest sources of dopamine for those with ADHD often aren’t the healthiest or even that enjoyable. To combat this, she recommends using a system called “STOP”, which stands for:
S – Stop for a second
T – Take a breath
O – Observe what’s going on inside and around you
P – Proceed
In her usual rapid fire informative style, Jessica makes it clear that the aim of this activity is not to shame yourself, but to develop better awareness of when viewers seek stimulation, what their go-to sources are and remind them that they have options. It allows everyone to “take off autopilot”, so they can decide what they want to do and gain information for future choices.
“The same way we can meal plan to make it easier to make food choices that are in line with our needs and goals, we can brain plan to help us make dopamine choices that are in line with our needs and goals,” she concludes.