Tips for Handling Overthinking in ADHD

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD {attention deficit hyperactivity disorder}, you most likely know about the overthinking associated with the condition. Patients often find themselves going over and over seemingly harmless utterances or situations in their minds. It is much like a fight between your brain’s emotional and rational parts.

Nine Tips for Handling Overthinking in ADHD

Overthinking is undoubtedly not reserved for those with ADHD. However, in ADHD, your brain works quite quickly such that it gets caught in thinking loops more frequently than in those without ADHD. While overthinking might seem harmless, the endless loop of thoughts will decrease your productivity, leave you clinically depressed, lead to social anxiety that isolates you from people and weaken your immune system.

Fortunately, there are several ways of handling overthinking when battling ADHD to lead a fulfilled life. Here are a few of these ways.

Understand the Cause of Your Overthinking

In most cases, overthinking in ADHD is attributed to sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, not eating well, and other people’s validation. At times, your ADHD brain is only trying to get stimulated. These issues cause you to become easily frustrated and stressed, leading to overthinking. The first step in managing your thoughts is to understand the factors that contribute to them. When you have realized your triggers, you can learn how to avoid them if possible or learn to stay calm when you encounter them.


Journaling is one way for you to unpack your thoughts to an external platform rather than have them going over and over again in your brain. Furthermore, you can put some organization and structure to the feelings that trigger overthinking through writing because an ADHD brain is generally messy. Journaling allows you to clarify your feelings and thoughts so that you can make better sense of them. When you are in touch with your thoughts and feelings, the clarity you get reduces your overthinking.

Talk to Someone

Sometimes processing your thoughts aloud with a person you trust can help you manage to overthink in much the same way as journaling. Talking allows you to get your anxious thoughts out of your head, strengthen your connections with others, get valuable feedback, and feel validated. Sometimes, people might tell you that you talk too much if you choose this path to handle your overthinking. As such, be sure to talk to a non-judgmental person who is willing to listen.


One of the best antidotes to overthinking that will also boost your response to other ADHD treatment approaches is exercise. This is because exercising will flood your body with feel-good chemicals. Even so, be careful about the activities you choose. Some exercises will increase your thinking time and might worsen your overthinking. Martial arts, for example, is a good choice because it allows your mind to focus on physical movements, so you have little time to dwell on your thoughts.

Shift Your Perspective

At times, your worrying thoughts stem from the unrealistic expectations you have of yourself or others. Adjust your perspective and re-frame the negative thoughts into positive ones. For instance, rather than overthink getting a parking ticket, remind yourself to read parking signs carefully next time. Remember that the world is imperfect, so expecting perfection from yourself or others can lead to anxiety and, consequently, overthinking. If you are worried about what you have to achieve, focus on one goal rather than multiple ones.

Perform an Act of Kindness

Focusing on other people’s problems sometimes blocks out your own. There are several alternatives for performing a kind act for someone who needs it so that you have less time to focus on your issues and consequently overthink them. Consider volunteering in a local charity, donating something to people in need, or joining an online forum where you can use your expertise to solve other people’s issues.

Process Your Concerns Actively

Though most thoughts tied to overthinking are irrational, some are tied to things you can solve. Get a paper and write down your concerns on one column with their solutions on another column. For instance, if you are concerned about a vacation, you can break down your plan into small actionable steps. Rent a car, start on your hotel booking and save small amounts towards the holiday. Moreover, if you are overthinking something in your past, take steps to avoid its repeat in the future.

Find a Distraction

Distracting your thoughts is one of the quickest ways to manage to overthink. Get a healthy distraction that will work for you. Remember that the distraction that will work for one person might not do much for you. Have a possible list of distractions, then try them out to find the one that works for you. You can try watching TV, playing games or listening to music.

Use a Task Manager to Schedule Your Tasks

In most people, an endless loop of thoughts is triggered by what they have to do. To avoid this, have a task manager that schedules the things on your to-do list. This ensures you will not forget any of the tasks because sometimes overthinking a task is triggered by your fear of forgetting to do it. You can also use a calendar to schedule your tasks and minimize the risk of forgetting to do something. When you are confident that there is no risk of forgetting a task, you will feel grounded and spend minimal time overthinking. It will also help with distance education for children with ADHD.

Tips for Handling Overthinking in ADHD

Overthinking can be paralyzing for anyone but has a significant effect on people with ADHD. It can cause you to assume that none of the ADHD treatment approaches is working for you. Thankfully, with the above tactics, you can successfully overcome overthinking and better manage your ADHD symptoms. You can also consult a mental health specialist on the available options for managing to overthink if it gets out of hand. The expert might recommend group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, among other approaches proven to manage overthinking in ADHD positively.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for writing these tips! I look back on my life and realise how much ADHD has affected me and still does. Do you have any advice on neurodiversity and the pandemic? I find that I spiral so easily now.

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