5 things to do if you are overwhelmed by choices in stores when you have ADHD


If you have ADHD, chances are high that shopping can be overwhelming. There are so many choices to make, and it’s easy to get sidetracked AND overwhelmed and shut down.

Here are five tips for coping when stores become too much.


1. Don’t feel bad about yourself – you are not the only one who struggles with making a choice in stores.

Not only people with ADHD, but neurotypical people also struggle with the paradox of too many choices.

In today’s world, we are bombarded with choices. Whether we’re choosing what to eat for breakfast or what to wear to work, we’re constantly making decisions. And while having a lot of choices can be empowering, it can also be overwhelming. This is especially true for people with ADHD, who may have difficulty filtering out options and making a decision.

The paradox of choice

is the idea that too much choice can lead to unhappiness. When we’re presented with too many options, we second-guess our decisions and wonder if we could have made a better choice. This can leave us feeling anxious and paralyzed, unable to decide at all.

There is research that shows this. For example, when there’s too much choice, people are overwhelmed and buy less.

The Jam Study

On one day at an upscale food market shoppers saw 24 varieties of gourmet jam available for sale; those who tasted the spreads received $1 off any product they purchase as long as it was from this store! But on another occasion with fewer options laid out before them – only six different kinds being showcased in full view–those passersby were ten times more likely to purchase than if faced by dozens or even fifty.

If you have ADHD remember you are not the only one struggling with making choices! Everyone does! self

2. Bring someone with you to help make choices in stores.

With so many choices and distractions available, it can be difficult to stay focused and calm. However, one effective strategy is bringing someone along who can help manage the process.

For most people with ADHD, it is easier to stay focused when someone else is nearby. This phenomenon, known as body doubling, occurs when the presence of another person helps to trigger and sustain attention. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, it is thought that body doubling may work by providing sensory input that helps to keep your ADHD brain engaged. In addition, body doubling may help to reduce distractions by providing a focal point for attention. As a result, many people with ADHD find it helpful to work in close proximity to others. While body doubling is not a cure for ADHD, it can be an effective tool for managing symptoms and improving focus. Experiment with bringing someone with you to a store and see if it doesn’t help make a difference.

3. Write down a list of things you need before going into the store so that you are more focused.

It’s no secret that making a list can help you stay focused and organized. But for people with ADHD, the benefits of list-making are even more profound. Research shows that making a list helps to ease anxiety and improve task flexibility, both of which are common challenges for people with ADHD.

In addition, list-making can help to improve working memory and inhibitory control – two skills that are essential for focus and organization. If you’re struggling to stay on task, making a list may be just what you need to get back on track. It should make it less easy to get sidetracked and find what you need without getting distracted. Take a few minutes to make a list first and try not to pick up extraneous things.

4. Stick to stores that have a simple layout and limited choices.

Stores with a simple layout and limited choices can be ideal for individuals with ADHD. Such stores typically feature a minimalistic design that allows customers to more easily focus on their shopping tasks. Additionally, by having fewer products available, these stores help to reduce decision fatigue, preventing people from getting overwhelmed as they try to choose between multiple options.

A growing body of research also suggests that reducing the amount of stimulation in our environment can help to calm our minds and reduce stress levels.

5. Take time outside and get some space outside the store during your trip if you are feeling sensory overload.

If necessary use grounding strategies.

Grounding strategies are an important tool for managing the symptoms of ADHD.

Research has shown that grounding strategies can be highly effective.

There are many different types of grounding techniques, including those that focus on touch, taste, sight, sound, or smell.

One of the easiest ones you can try the 54321 tehnique

  • 1.The first step is to look around and name five things that you can see around you.
  • 2.The second step is to focus on four things that you can feel.
  • 3.The third step is to name three things that you can hear around you.
  • 4.The fourth step is to notice two things that you can smell around you right now.
  • 5.The fifth step is to focus on one thing that you can taste. If you can’t taste anything, then instead you can choose to name a taste that you like.

For people with ADHD, managing sensory input can be a constant challenge. Too much noise, light, or movement can quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Taking a few minutes to step outside and get some fresh air can make a big difference.

Managing choice and overwhelm can be a challenge for anyone, but it can be especially difficult if you have ADHD. These five tips should help you get started in managing the choices and overwhelming environments that are so common in stores. Remember, you are not alone in this struggle even neurotypical people have this issue.  Bring someone with you when you go shopping, make a list of the items you need before you go, and stick to stores with limited choices. If all else fails, take some time outside to practice grounding yourself and regain your composure. With these tools at your disposal, you can manage choice and overwhelm more effectively and enjoy your shopping experience!

Medical information obtained from this website is not intended as a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you have a problem, you should consult a healthcare provider.

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