March 8, 2022

Executive Function: Response Inhibition

Last month Coach Robin introduced our 2022 newsletter theme focusing on Executive Function skills. This month we’re talking about the executive functioning skill of Response Inhibition

Response inhibition refers to the suppression of actions, otherwise known as self-restraint. Inhibition is often behavioral, dealing with self-control.  

Here are some examples of difficulties with response inhibition:

  • Checking your phone and chatting with friends when you are studying or doing homework. Inhibitory levels are lower than they might be.
  • Multitasking and doing things that are distracting you from your job.
  • Interrupting conversations.
  • Problems ruminating on negative thoughts and problems. Not being able to turn off the negative thoughts.
  • Reacting to an annoying driver after being cut off while driving.
  • Responding angrily to someone that has annoyed you.

Impact of Weaknesses in Response Inhibition on Children & Teens

Children who experience difficulties with response inhibition are often labeled unruly or aggressive because of their impulsive behavior and social interactions. Children and teens with ADHD can act before they think and are not always able to control their responses to many situations. 

Solutions for impulse difficulties experienced at home: 

  • Be proactive with discipline, responding to positive and negative behaviors equally. Recognize and give constructive feedback on targeted behaviors you want your child to change. Give praise when your child responds appropriately and provide immediate consequences for negative behaviors.
  • Make sure your child understands what they did wrong so they understand the misbehavior.
  • Consequences should match the severity of the misbehavior. Aggressive behavior calls for an immediate time-out. For minor misbehaviors like being careless and breaking something unintentionally, have the child clean up the mess and share ways that he can slow down and think about his behavior.

Impact of Weaknesses in Response Inhibition on Adults

Adults having trouble with response inhibition may have difficulty at home and work. Challenges can include eating too much, having angry outbursts, interrupting others, spending too much time on gaming or surfing the internet, or overspending on purchases. 

Here are some tips for adults to help curb impulsive behaviors: 

  • Identify what behaviors are causing you trouble as it relates to impulse control. Identify areas in your life where your impulses get you into trouble. Make a list of situations in which you are more likely to behave impulsively.
  • Create a problem-solving action plan. If you are eating too much, consider ways to keep problematic foods out of your environment. If you are spending too much, get rid of a credit card and think about whether I need this item prior to future purchases. If you are angry at a coworker, pause, count to 10, and calm down before sending an angry email that might damage your relationship and create an unfavorable work environment.
  • Practice mindfulness. Take time to pause and think before acting. Meditation is an effective way to keep track of your inner dialogue and helps reduce impulsive behaviors. Meditation increases your awareness of your thoughts and feelings — good and bad. It helps you recognize what might be an unproductive state of mind so you can pause before acting.
  • Learn and Reflect. After identifying challenging behaviors, creating an action plan, and practicing mindfulness, reflect and learn what modifications are working for you. What does it feel like when you are successful in managing the impulsive behaviors you are working on? Take pride in how you are creating your own successes!

Victoria Roche
ADHD Coach | Center For Living Well with ADHD, LLC

More about Coach Victoria


Cool Resource

Have you heard of this "new" trend called body doubling to increase focus or productivity?

Well, it's really not a new trend. ADHD coaches and organizers have been using this strategy with clients for years.  

What is body doubling? 

Think about times when you had a friend to work with on a project that was not particularly fun, say painting a room. Do you remember how much quicker the time seemed to pass and how much more you seemed to accomplish together rather than working by yourself and realizing you jumped ship on a project again despite your best intentions? Or how about studying for a test and how you seemed to stay on track better when you were in that study group?

Body doubling has the accountability to stay on task built right in. Body doubling simply means “doing a task in the presence of another person.” We tend to feel more accountable to others and don’t want to let them down on a promise versus quitting on ourselves. Finding a friend who is interested in body doubling with you on a task is a great productivity hack for both of you. Decluttering my home is way more fun and productive with a friend. And I can return the favor with a body-doubling visit to their home — Win-Win!

But what if you can't find an available partner? Here is where technology can provide the solution and it's called Focusmate

Focusmate will match you with someone else who is looking for an activity partner to work together. You create a profile, select your time zone, and when you’re ready, choose a day and time you’d like to work with someone. However, If you want to work with a particular person, you can share your profile link or they can share theirs. Focusmate has its own video system so you don't have to use a Zoom account to access it. 

Since the mission is seeing the other partner and being responsible for staying on the job for the allotted time (for either 25 or 50 minutes), all participants are required to keep their cameras active. You can mute yourself if you wish to listen to music and the chat function is available to use for announcing you are leaving for a short break for a drink or such. Be aware though that showing up late and skipping out on the appointment will lower your profile score which could affect your ability to use the service in the future. 

What does all this goodness cost? Focusmate is free for up to three sessions a week. For $5 per month, you get unlimited sessions. 

Have a look at and see if you would like to add this tech tool to your productivity tool belt. 

Upcoming Events

Executive Function and ADHD: Building Skills for Life

Saturday, March 19

11:00 am Eastern | 10:00 am Central | 9:00 am Mountain | 8:00 am Pacific

Personal development is a continual process for everyone throughout their lifespan.  As we age and transition into new roles and responsibilities, the demands on executive function skills increase.  What helps? Build on skills to minimize unnecessary challenges. Learn a proven framework for building on skills to support your success.  Participants will decide on a goal and receive support from our coaches and private community as they take next steps in the 7-day challenge.

Read more about this class…


Mindfulness and ADHD

Saturday, April 2

11:00 am Eastern | 10:00 am Central | 9:00 am Mountain | 8:00 am Pacific

Mindfulness practices can help us with our ability to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.  It helps us strengthen some of the executive function skills which in turn improves our experience. Mindfulness helps us become more aware of our feelings and behaviors at the moment.  

Join our Masterclass to learn more about mindfulness, how it helps our ADHD,  and some easy follow-up actions you can take to help you manage your ADHD.

Read more about this class…


Motivation and Mindset with ADHD

Saturday, April 16

11:00 am Eastern | 10:00 am Central | 9:00 am Mountain | 8:00 am Pacific

"I know what I need to do, I just have a hard time getting to it!" Sound familiar? There could be many reasons someone avoids taking action on the obvious or making big changes in their life. 

Learn how motivation and mindset are two important factors to reckon with to get more accomplished. In this class, we explore how to leverage your own motivators and shift your mindset to help you get and stay in action.

Read more about this class…


Get it Done! Productivity and ADHD

Saturday, April 30

11:00 am Eastern | 10:00 am Central | 9:00 am Mountain | 8:00 am Pacific

In this class, we explore four saboteurs that are most likely to derail us from our best intentions. Learn helpful strategies and ADHD-tuned approaches to avoid these saboteurs as you go about your day to experience more productivity and accomplishment. Participants will create a 7-day challenge goal and receive support from our coaches as they work through the challenge.  

Read more about this class…

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