Is ADHD rumination causing you to lose sleep?  Lawyers with ADHD frequently ruminate about the past. Plus, we don’t ruminate about the good things. Instead, we spend our energy ruminating about the things we could have done better. Indeed, lawyers are perfectionists.  As a result, we spend a lot of our energy picking over things we could have done “better.” Lawyers are, often, their own harshest critics, hashing and rehashing things they can’t change. Unless we find a better way to handle this negative rumination, we’ll continue to lose a lot of sleep needlessly.

First Step

One approach I have used is a three-step process to reframe the situation into a growth opportunity.  When you find yourself caught in a rumination cycle, ask yourself three questions.   First, did I act in alignment with my values? Or, is there something about this situation that is conflicting with my values?  This question gets to the root of much rumination.  When we are turning something over in our minds, it is often because something about the situation or our response to it doesn’t align with our values.  Identifying and naming the underlying value(s) can help us reach a resolution.  Once you have answered this question, move to the second and third questions to transform this event into a learning opportunity.

Next Steps

Second, what did I learn from this? And, third, how can I use my new knowledge going forward? These questions are phrased in a way that doesn’t assume that you only learn from your mistakes.  The questions are phrased to allow learning to occur from the things that could have been done better as well as those that were done well.  By being explicit about the things you did well, you anchor that positive learning and build self-confidence.  Recognizing that you could have handled the situation better and planning how you will use this knowledge turns the situation into an opportunity for personal development.  Approaching your situation from a growth mindset will provide concrete takeaways to increase your professional or personal skills.  This tool, which provides a structure for the inevitable self-examination, can turn unproductive rumination into a growth opportunity and can contribute to better sleep.

There are other ways to control ADHD rumination so that you no longer lose sleep.   An ADHD certified coach can help you design and implement a strategy that works for you .  Any of Partner Up’s coaches can help you develop the skills to control your ADHD rumination, and the perfectionism and negativity bias that fuel it.

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