Attention Deficit Disorder is a misnomer. It’s not that we have a deficit of attention, it’s that we have trouble regulating our attention due to the chemical makeup of our brains. We have lower levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (brain neurotransmitters). This causes our brains to constantly be scanning internally and externally for brain stimulating data. It can also cause our brains to “lock” onto stimulating data – Netflix binging anyone?? This need for stimulation often interferes with our good intentions. Very often the things we need to do are not sufficiently stimulating, and our brain overrides our intentions by paying attention to the things that boost our dopamine.
Have you ever been so caught up in checking Instagram that you didn’t notice dinner was burning on the stove? Or you missed 85% of what someone was saying to you because you were caught up in your own thoughts? Hyperfocus is one of the ways ADHD shows up. There are times when this is a superpower – if you are working on something that is interesting AND important. It’s a kind of flow state. Part of managing hyperfocus, however, is becoming aware of the situations and tasks that tend to put you in that state. Secondly, is learning the power of the pause, and learning how to harness it for good. It may take some experimentation, and patience grasshopper!