How to Stop ADHD Overthinking & Rumination

Demi Aspey
9 mins read
Apr 25, 2023

If you're like us, you've experienced the "joys" of the ADHD brain and its uncanny ability to make Mount Everest out of a molehill. 

But never fear, for today, we are on a mission to conquer this rumination nation! 🚀🧠

We'll discover the hidden secrets of our ADHD brain and unlock the powers to stop the overthinking and rumination that often hold us hostage. 

So, grab your mental lightsaber, put on your thinking caps, and prepare to have a blast as we navigate the twisty-turny world of ADHD overthinking! 

What is ADHD?

Before we unpack ADHD overthinking and rumination, let's get all our ducks in a row by understanding what ADHD is all about. 

There's a lot of talk out there, and gathering the facts first is always good!

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition.

It is estimated to affect 4% of all people. 

It doesn't discriminate in age but is generally discovered in young children and continues through adulthood. It is not a mental health illness despite general chit-chat. Though, untreated ADHD can lead to mental health conditions. 

It's marked by a distinctive mix of symptoms that can make navigating life an exciting and challenging experience. 

While most people experience some of these symptoms, ADHD requires them to be a daily persistence throughout a person's life. 

Core aspects of ADHD include:

  • Inattention: trouble concentrating, staying organised, and completing tasks.
  • Hyperactivity: a persistent need to move or fidget, coupled with feelings of restlessness. 
  • Impulsivity: acting hastily without considering consequences, leading to impulsive decisions. 

Additionally, ADHD comes in three varieties:

  1. Primarily Inattentive: mainly struggles with focus and organisation.
  2. Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive: primarily faces challenges related to hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  3. Combined Type: a captivating blend of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. 

ADHD is a lifelong condition, but with the right support, coping strategies, and sometimes medication, individuals with ADHD can lead fulfilling, successful lives. 

Now, allow us to unravel the mystery of overthinking and ADHD! 

Is Overthinking a Sign of ADHD?

Statues showing difference between thinking and ADHD overthinking / ADHD rumination
Thinking vs. ADHD overthinking

First off, it's important to remember that everyone overthinks at times. 

However, when it comes to ADHD, overthinking can be quite a persistent companion. 

Overthinking is also known as rumination, which is staying glued to one thought topic for (what seems like) an eternity!

Some key points to consider:

  • Overthinking can be a common symptom of ADHD
  • Not everyone with ADHD will experience it
  • You don't have to have ADHD to be a major overthinker. It kind of comes with being human
  • The overthinking part for ADHDers is often linked to inattention and impulsivity, two core features of ADHD 
  • Overthinking can also result from trying to compensate for other ADHD symptoms, such as forgetfulness

So, while overthinking isn't unique to ADHD, it's a common issue for many with the condition. 

The good news? 

We're here to help you tackle that overthinking head-on, so you can reclaim your mental space and enjoy a more peaceful, focused life. 

Why Overthinking is Common for People With ADHD

ADHD overthinking young Sheldon gif

Oh, the joys of overthinking!

Here are a few reasons why overthinking might feel like second nature for people with ADHD:

1. Busy brain syndrome

The ADHD brain is like a bustling city that never sleeps, constantly buzzing with thoughts, ideas, and emotions. 🌃 🧩

That busy brain makes it difficult to focus on just one thing. 

It's why many people with ADHD need background noise when trying to sleep or white noise to focus on tasks!

2. Hyperfocus

People with ADHD can become deeply engrossed in a particular thought or topic. 🔬 💭 

Intense focus can lead to over-analysis and rumination. 

On the flip side, this can be a marvellous skill and often occurs when someone is deeply passionate about a project or subject.

3. Worry and anxiety

ADHD can make keeping track of daily tasks and responsibilities challenging. 🌪 📝 

Worry and anxiety are the bandits of overthinking; they know exactly what thoughts to nab, so you're robbed of your peace.

4. ADHD and Perfectionism

Some individuals with ADHD may develop perfectionistic tendencies as a coping mechanism. 🏆 🔧 

Perfectionism can cause you to ruminate on past mistakes or obsess over every little detail.

Check out our blog on ADHD and perfectionism to see the nitty gritty behind this thinking!

5. The great filtering struggle

The ADHD brain can struggle to filter out irrelevant thoughts and stimuli. 🌪 🔍 

We're often bombarded with thoughts that others might easily dismiss. 

They're also all happening simultaneously, so you know… that's fun!

6. The pursuit of lost details

Our ADHD brains can be forgetful, which means we might spend extra time contemplating details to ensure we remember them. 🕵️‍♂️📝

Must remember, must remember, must remember.

Now it's all you're thinking about!

7. The worry spiral

ADHD can make staying organised and on top of our responsibilities hard.

This can lead to worry, which in turn triggers overthinking. 🌀 📚

It's like falling down a rabbit hole and finding yourself at the mad hatter's tea party, wondering what the rabbit is late for!

8. The insatiable curiosity

Our ADHD brains love novelty and learning, so we might find ourselves constantly analysing and dissecting new information. 🚀📖

You know when you Google something and end up on a 4-hour Wikipedia train researching the mechanics of the universe? 

Yeah, it's 4 am; go to sleep. 

9. The procrastination paradox

Overthinking can sometimes be our brain's sneaky way of avoiding daunting or boring tasks. 🎭⏳

Oh, you've got an important deadline coming up? Surely it can be completed in the final few hours, even though you've had two solid weeks to tackle it.

Evidence suggests this is totally doable too, so every time you procrastinate longer and longer until panic takes over!

Procrastination motivating a cartoon to work

Annnnd, one more for the road we think we must address:

10. Rrejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)

ADHD comes with RSD. 

That's a lot of abbreviations, but this essentially means rejection feels like the end of the world and that we're the worst humans ever to live. ❌ 🫥

The slightest bit of negative feedback or rejection can send us into a pit of despair. It also links to emotional dysregulation. You may question your worth and think you're a failure. 

We assure you, you're not! 

RSD is super common with ADHD, but because it isn't in the DSM V diagnostics. It's often unknown, leading folk to think it's an issue with their character rather than a symptom.

When overthinking steals the show, remember you're the star!

You're in control, and with a bit of mental gym training, you'll grow stronger daily.

Bite-sized Insights

  • Overthinking can be a byproduct of ADHD's core symptoms, like inattention and impulsivity 
  • It can also arise from strategies we use to cope with ADHD challenges, like forgetfulness and disorganisation
  • Sometimes, overthinking might just reflect our natural curiosity and love for learning 

So, let's gear up to conquer the overthinking beast and unlock a calmer, more focused state of mind!

Freelance and Remote Work: An Overthinker's Worst Enemy?

When it's just you and that brain of yours, thoughts can take on a mind of their own.

As a freelancer or a remote worker, daydreaming can fast turn into overthinking - and we bet we know why!

Here's what it might be:

  • Uncertainty

    Freelance work is unpredictable and that can cause anxiety, overthinking and second-guessing decisions. 

    Never knowing what a new day or month brings can make you feel like you must be on the go 24/7. 📈🤔
  • Lack of feedback

    Constantly feel your work isn't good enough or people secretly dislike you? 

    Working independently can mean less immediate feedback from colleagues, making it difficult to gauge performance and resulting in self-doubt. 📨🔮
  • Blurred boundaries

    You never switch off!

    The merging of work and personal life can lead to overthinking about tasks during non-work hours. And that could create an unhealthy work-life balance.

    Put that laptop away and go for a walk! ⚖️ 🕰️
  • Lack of structure & accountability

    Remote work and freelancing are amazing for the freedom it offers. 

    But the freedom and flexibility of freelancing can make it difficult to establish routines. 

    You might find this leading to disorganisation and procrastination. ⏳🗂️

    Deepwrk's accountability partner app makes it easy to find accountability partners
  • Distractions

    Hello phone, fridge, cat.

    Home-based workspaces can be filled with distractions, making it harder for ADHD brains to focus on tasks.

    We promise you, the fridge's contents have not changed in the 20 minutes since you last checked it! 🐱📺
  • Isolation

    There is no one to distract you, but at the same time, there's no one to socialise or collaborate with. 

    Working remotely can feel isolating, impacting motivation and exacerbating ADHD symptoms. 🏝️😔

    Awareness of these challenges is the first step towards creating a supportive and productive work environment!

Strategies for Combatting Overthinking

Okay, overthinkers, it's time to face our overthinking head-on. 

Of course, you might be saying, "Erm, I do it all day, every day" - that's the joys of overthinking for you!

But believe it or not, there are ways to control your brain so you feel happy and motivated.

Check out these actionable and handy tips that will help us reclaim our mental space and focus:

1. Mindfulness

Embrace the power of being present!

Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or even colouring to calm your racing thoughts. 🧘♂️🌸

2. Set limits

Give yourself a time limit for making decisions or analysing situations.

This can help prevent getting stuck in endless loops of overthinking. ⏳🚦

3. The "done is better than perfect" mantra

Remind yourself that it's okay to make mistakes and that perfect doesn't exist.

Focus on progress, not perfection. 🏃♀️🌈

4. Break it down

Overwhelmed by a task or decision?

Break it into smaller, more manageable steps.

This can help prevent analysis paralysis. 🔧🎢

5. Get moving

Physical activity is a fantastic way to clear your mind and release pent-up energy.

Dance, jog, or do jumping jacks to shake off overthinking!

A simple walk in nature is a wonderful way to disconnect when all else fails. 💃🏋️♂️

6. Write it out

Journaling can help you process your thoughts and gain clarity.

Give your brain a break by dumping your thoughts on paper. 📓✍️

7. Distraction with a purpose

Engage in an enjoyable activity to redirect your focus.

Play an instrument, knit, or solve a puzzle to give your brain a productive break. 🎸🧶🧩

8. Try Body Doubling

Body doubling, whether in person or online, is when two people with ADHD work together on tasks, often independently.

It can help you break down task and timebox your todolist so you don't get overwhelmed.

This form of ADHD coworking can help you maintain focus, reduce anxiety, and feel more motivated.

Want to easily find an ADHD body doubling partner? Try Deepwrk's online body doubling website to focus better and achieve more, together.


  • Practice mindfulness to stay present and grounded 🌳🧠
  • Set boundaries on decision-making and analysis to eliminate ADHD decision fatigue ⌛️🚧
  • Embrace imperfection and focus on progress 🌟🔓
  • Break tasks into smaller steps to avoid getting overwhelmed 🪄🔨
  • Move your body to release energy and clear your mind 🏊♂️🚴♀️
  • Write or engage in purposeful distractions to process thoughts 🎨🎮

Remember, with these strategies, you can conquer the overthinking beast and enjoy a more peaceful, focused life! 

Food for Thought

We've faced ADHD overthinking, looking at its beginnings, and learned many helpful ways to fight it.

Remember that even though our ADHD minds often overthink, they are full of creativity, curiosity, and strength.

Sheldon thanking his brain

Value your brain, take charge, and direct your thoughts to a calmer and more focused life.

And when you're unsure, remind yourself – we're all in this together, exploring the fantastic and exciting world of ADHD.

Most of all, always celebrate your successes, big or small, along the journey. 🏆🎉

Until our next adventure, stay curious, focused, and bright!

And if you want to learn more - check out our series of related ADHD articles:

Find your flow with Deepwrk. ADHD body doubling to get things done solo, not alone!
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Demi Aspey
Demi is the founder of the creative agency, Sonder Script, a culture columnist for House of Coco magazine, a part-time lecturer, and a soon-to-be Doctor in screenwriting. She is a scriptwriter by speciality and a copywriting cultivator by trade. Demi is a mental health advocate and was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.