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ADHD & Boredom

Updated: Oct 11


Everyone gets bored, but when you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the boredom is extreme. Boredom paired with a lack of impulse control is a recipe for disaster.


We get bored because our brains are not stimulated. So what do we do? We seek stimulation.


How do we do that?

  • Playing with your phone

  • Watching TV

  • Overeating

  • Over drinking

  • Overspending

These things we call buffering. We can do useful or fun things when we are bored as well. We don't consider it buffering unless it has a negative result. Buffering is something we do to avoid a negative feeling.


How do we deal with buffering? We don't do the activity. For example, we have the urge to eat when we are not hungry, and we don't eat. We sit with our feelings.


A hilarious example is when I was preparing to write this article, I got up from my computer, got some food, and ate it before I realized I wasn't hungry. What was I? A little tired of sitting behind my computer. I was bored.


What is your tolerance for boredom? When we are bored, it is uncomfortable. We don't like being uncomfortable, so we seek to fix it. Everyone's tolerance for boredom is different, and when you have ADHD, that tolerance can be very low.


What do you do?


PRACTICE BOREDOM - It's important to let ourselves be bored sometimes. Great creativity can come from this. Sitting with uncomfortable feelings is an essential skill to learn. It can also act as a reset from being constantly stimulated & connected. See 5 Minute Activity Below.


PLAN FOR IT - If you know you are going to be put in a situation where you will be bored plan for it. When appropriate bring a book, a drawing pad, a notebook, earbuds to listen to something on your phone. Just make sure it's appropriate for the setting.


KNOW IT'S JUST A FEELING - Boredom is an uncomfortable feeling in our body and mind. That is important to keep in mind. Dealing with discomfort is the key to our dreams & wishes. When we make it mean something has gone terribly wrong, that is when we get upset and make a small discomfort a very big one.


Watch what happens in your mind when you are bored?


The 5 Minute Activity: Sit down with quiet for 5 minutes. Turn everything off and close your eyes. What comes up for you? Notice the thoughts and the discomfort and just let them be information.


I borrow this from Brooke Castillo in this podcast episode #374 Bored Choices https://thelifecoachschool.com/podcast/374/ she mentions this activity. I did it myself just before writing this article.


When did the above 5-Minute Activity, and first I listened to the air conditioner, I had the urge to jot down an idea for this article. Then some judgments about something I did yesterday came up.


Hmm, good to know. So when I sit with myself, I have practiced the activity of judging myself. Something to work on.


What is it like to just sit and be with yourself? Just notice if your own brain is a comfortable place to be or not. If it's not, we will try to escape from being with ourselves.


How do we escape?


See above all the ways we Buffer. Another way to put it is we consume. We consume videos, food, drinks, podcasts, books. Anything to distract ourselves from the inner voice that isn't saying pleasant things. Also, all this consumption stimulates our brain.


So in closing. A little boredom is good for you. Work on your mind, so it's a pleasant place to be more of the time. Be careful what you do when you are bored and realize boredom is just an uncomfortable feeling. Nothing has gone wrong.


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