top of page

Stress Dominant Physiology - The Hidden Cause to ADHD

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

The Problem

When a student experiences a downward spiral of thinking, emotions and behavior, they are also by definition experiencing high stress and anxiety. Behavior that is aberrant or uncooperative, thinking that is effort-ful and has poor results and is even counterproductive. And emotions that may range from highly volatile to deep shut-down. The result is a brain-body internal environment which will not support learning, concentration or even rationality. Too often this issue is attributed toward psychological causes and not physical ones even though we now know conclusively that physical causes out-weigh and generally precede psychological manifestations like learning difficulties or challenges. Remember also that stress is widely accepted as the root cause to most forms of mental and physical illness. Chronic stress in particular has been conclusively connected to impaired learning ability, frequent states of being overwhelmed to the degree that normal activities are impossible.

Stress also alters the brain's relationship to stress, treating it as a new and preferable habit that needs to be followed by the mind and body. The result is an inability to cope or manage stress effectively. Chronic stress also manifests in other ways which include poor sleep, disproportionate stress reactivity, and body pain.

The Cause - Stress Dominant Physiology vs. Relaxation Dominant

When our body is largely or completely racked by stressful feelings of mind and or body, it is highly unlikely for students and especially children to perform well in measures of learning, retention, and critical thinking skills. These mental/emotional skills are reactive to the how well the brain/body is being oxygenated, or not. These mental/emotional skills are highly responsive (and malleable) to the relative 'oxygen state' of the body-brain. They are characterized by reactions which are volatile and immediate. We are all in continuous reaction to our current breathing mechanics.

Basically if breathing is rhythmic, slow, and being generated by the diaphragm 75% and the chest 25% then this breathing profile will cause very good oxygen to the brain for mental skills and to the body to be more relaxed and having less pain/stress. Yes, this part is that simple. But when these parameters fall into disarray, learning difficulties MUST follow. This IS the primary cause to learning difficulties; the issue of oxygen getting to the brain-body. Secondarily, the stress hormones (such as adrenaline) are associated with non-contemplative mental states adding additional obstacles to learning. In summary, lower oxygen and higher adrenaline leads to anti-learning and concentration internal states and are conclusively linked to higher stress.

Stress Dominant Physiology - The Stress Cycle

The Stress Cycle has 3 key descriptors - Stress that is; 1) Ongoing (chronic 6 months or longer), 2) Overwhelming (disrupting normal action, thoughts, emotional volatility), 3) Oppressive (stress symptoms control many aspects of your life). "O.O.O."

Stress Dominant Physiology is present whenever we can observe poor breathing patterns such as chest-dominant breathing, fast breathing, and often stress knots will be present between the shoulders and neck. As breathing frequency increases, the amount of oxygen released into the cells of the body, and in particular to the brain, decreases. Stress breathing causes lower and central brain dominance due to inadequate oxygen delivery to the higher or frontal brain. This has been associated with primitive cognitive expression (lowered thinking skills) and behavior. When present, Stress Dominant Physiology causes the brain to avoid using its thinking ability in preference for it survival facility. It is also known as low brain dominance referring to the Limbic (in red) or primitive brain.

The Remedy

Breathing improvement (immediate response) is by far the most potent influence of improving all forms of cognitive function such as leaning, retention, and critical thinking. Correcting mechanics here leads to solving the oxygen problem. It also leads to improved sleep which is critical for any form of concentration and learning. Perhaps it should be said that sleep is fundamentally involved in learning as we see no learning when sleep deprivation is present. The remedy is to cause higher brain dominance through Relaxation Physiology Dominance. Then we have an internal environment that supports good concentration results from the biological standpoint.

The student's physical and psychological response to anti-stress measures is dramatic, immediate, and painless and leads to faster and wider learning experiences as well as reduced body pain, stress reactivity and sleep quality. This result is easy to 'lock-in' because the Method here is to re-script the brain program for breathing and reactivity to stress overall. This provides a board-based anti-stress remedy to the challenges of solid concentration skills.

The Recovery

These measures combined provide reliable metrics of overall stress cycle severity at initial treatment and disclose the students' recovery from the ravages of chronic stress over the course of the Rubenstein Method treatment protocols.

Do you have a child who:

  • Demands attention by talking out of turn or moving around the room.

  • Has trouble following instructions, especially when they’re presented in a list, and with operations that require ordered steps, such as long division or solving equations.

  • Often forgets to write down homework assignments, do them, or bring completed work to school.

  • Often lack fine motor control, which makes note-taking difficult and handwriting a trial to read.

  • Has problems with long-term projects where there is no direct supervision.

  • Doesn't pull their weight during group work and may even keep a group from accomplishing its task.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation: Call or Text 714.392.2458

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page