Four Major Benefits of Having ADHD
Many of us are familiar with ways in which Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can make life difficult and stressful. Being neurodiverse in a world set up for neurotypical brains can definitely have some drawbacks. But how often do we take a minute to appreciate the positive aspects of our unique brains? The truth is there is value in our way of thinking. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of having an ADHD brain!
When people think of ADHD and focus we tend to consider only the struggles. What we often fail to acknowledge is the ADHD brain’s amazing capacity to hyperfocus on certain tasks. When we hyperfocus, everything else fades away. “Oh, were you calling my name while standing right beside me? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. I was hyper-focusing.” When we are in the zone, all that exists is the task at hand. This ability to hyperfocus is often triggered when we feel passionate about the project we are working on. Being fully absorbed by the task at hand leads to the incredible attention to detail. With such focus and precision, the job is done at a higher standard. Thanks, brain!
The ADHD brain is often described as being “on the go” with attention shifting to various subjects. This may include moving from one project to the next in rapid succession. This hyperactivity aspect of ADHD is frequently associated with fidgeting and restlessness.
What people often overlook is how our constant need to move can be harnessed for good! Some people marvel at the seemingly endless amount of energy exhibited by those with ADHD. When we channel our energy and utilize our internal desire to stay in motion, we are truly a force to be reckoned with.
In celebrating neurodiversity, we acknowledge that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways. There is no one “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving. Most importantly, differences in thinking are not viewed as deficient. Instead, these differences are viewed as beneficial on both an individual and a broader social level. Different ways of thinking can lead to new ideas and ways to approach a problem. Creative problem-solving is instrumental for success at school, work, and home. Researchers found that people with ADHD brains are more creative and generate more ideas than neurotypical brains. This diverse, innovative, out-of-the-box thinking is a cause to celebrate!
As you likely already know, ADHD is often associated with impulsivity. We get an idea and we tend to just run with it! Impulsivity can definitely lead to some poor decision-making (pink hair really wasn’t my color). But have you considered what happens when impulsivity is harnessed and used correctly? That’s where spontaneity comes in! Our never-ending quest for new, novel and exciting things leads us to enjoyable experiences and connections with new and interesting people. As researchers discovered, spontaneity plays a key role in the development of courage. Sometimes a little spontaneity is just what is needed to get us started on a new adventure!
So what happens when we learn to use our focus, energy, creativity, and spontaneity to our advantage? We get Simone Biles. As Biles once said, “I was built this way for a reason, so I’m going to use it.” Simone uses her ADHD to her advantage and so can you. So set forth and embrace the unique and wonderful aspects of your beautiful ADHD brain. Adventure awaits!
Sedgwick JA, Merwood A, Asherson P. The positive aspects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a qualitative investigation of successful adults with ADHD. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord. 2019;11(3):241-253. doi:10.1007/s12402-018-0277-6
Hupfeld, K.E., Abagis, T.R. & Shah, P. Living “in the zone”: hyperfocus in adult ADHD. ADHD Atten Def Hyp Disord 11, 191–208 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12402-018-0272-y
White HA, Shah P. Creative style and achievement in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Personality and Individual Differences. 2011;50(5):673-677. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.015