How to Unlock ADHD Brain Freeze and Actually Strengthen Your Impact

As an ADHD’er, you know what you need to do, but it can be challenging doing what you know. When you have piles of projects, tasks, and responsibilities, it can be so overwhelming that your brain can grind into shut-down mode. Now you become even more snowed under by the mountains of stuff you need to tackle. You’re experiencing what’s known as “brain freeze.”  


ADHD and Brain Freeze

When your mind is sifting through information, decisions, or tasks, you may feel like your brain is hitting a brick wall. The irregularity of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is a contributing factor to the freezing phenomenon experienced in the ADHD brain. 


Dopamine fires up our brains to switch to “on.” Dopamine gives our brains satisfaction when we accomplish a task and increases our motivation to complete a task.


When your mind and body are at a standstill, you can also be in a state of fight or flight. When we are overwhelmed, cortisol and other stress hormones swamp the prefrontal cortex of the brain, flooding the pathways to access executive functioning. 

In turn, the ability to plan, organize, tap into your working memory, carry out tasks in a step-by-step, sequential manner, manage your energy levels, and execute what you need to do, are compromised.


Here are three ways to unlock ADHD brain freeze and strengthen your impact so you can get the results you want.  


Commit to Making a Decision

John has so many creative ideas, but his racing thoughts shut him down. He can’t seem to commit himself to one idea without the unrelenting feeling that he’s throwing his other ideas to the wind. 


When living with ADHD, it’s common to get lost in the advantages and disadvantages, opportunities, and obstacles, and gains and losses about coming to a decision. Ruminating about making the right or wrong decision can tend to be stimulating, but also paralyzes decision-making.  


The truth about decision-making is that in most cases, very few options are “bad” decisions. What’s most important is the process of dedicating and committing oneself to the decision.


Quick Tips:

• Consider the time and energy lost when constantly weighing out the best planner, ultimate curriculum, perfect trip, or faultless routine.  
• Consistently worrying about what you might miss by making the “wrong” decision, brings you to a standstill and keeps you from engaging in the life you have now. 
• Commit your time and energy to the actual choice. The failure of a decision has little to do with the choice and everything to do with boldly staying loyal to that choice. 
• Even the best outcome has its limitations and isn’t going to be perfect. It’s important to accept that with most decisions there is a price, cost, or downside. 


Get Creative

Patty feels paralyzed by the tedious and boring tasks she needs to complete. She set aside time to work, but she can’t focus on the repetitive tasks that she needs to be doing.  


The ADHD Brain is an interest-based, creative brain. If the task is fun, interesting, novel, involves connection, or is urgent, the ADHD brain will be more likely to engage.


Quick Tips:

• Consider the “tedious” task at hand, for example, folding the laundry. What would make the task more interest-based? Create situations for the below factors:
    • Fun: Keep it challenging to reduce boredom. See how fast you can fold the laundry and measure times for each time you fold laundry.
    • Interesting: Listen to your favorite music or podcast, only while you fold laundry
    • Novel: Fold in a new room or outside. 
    • Connection: Fold with a friend, or partner, or while talking with a friend. 
    • Urgent: Fold right away because you need clothes to wear for the next day 


Don't Overthink It

Jackie has so many tasks she needs to complete, that her mind is like a runaway freight train that’s going so fast it whizzes past its station. Overthinking, Jackie has challenges starting and getting things done.  


When you live with ADHD, overthinking or ruminating can lead to thought spiraling, feelings of regret, diminished self-confidence, and little or no tangible results.   


Quick Tips:

• Engage in healthy distractions, such as listening to music, exercising, or talking with a friend. 
• Create a plan to allow yourself to overthink for 5 minutes. Ruminating can be intriguing to the ADHD brain. Creating a plan for 5 minutes may give you the time and space you need to process your thoughts. 
• Journal your thoughts to process your concerns
• Recognize when you tend to overthink. Are you tired, stressed, or lonely? Does it happen before, during, or after work? Be proactive to avoid these situations. 


To sum up, to unlock ADHD brain freeze so you can strengthen your impact and get the results you want: 


Commit To Making a Decision

Get Creative

Don't Overthink It





PS. Need support unlocking your strengths so you can get the results you want? 

Contact me for an ADHD Strategy Assessment and we’ll set up an action plan now!


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