Motivation, or rather, the lack of motivation, is a huge symptom of ADHD. Understanding why you can’t get into action can help. By taking the judgment out of the equation, you can tackle the issue productively (pun intended). So, rather than trying traditional tactics, like a pep talk, let’s talk about getting activated with ADHD.
A while back, I wrote an article about how motivation and forgiveness are both neurological behaviors. Many people mistakenly think of them as character traits. Low levels of motivation can make one appear as lazy, undoubtedly a character flaw. But did you know? Low levels of dopamine create low levels of motivation. Unfortunately, one of the signature characteristics of ADHD is a low level of dopamine!
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for focus and motivation. So, if your body naturally produces less than optimal amounts, well…what suffers is your focus and motivation. A practical solution is to increase dopamine levels, which is why medications, such as stimulants, work fairly well in many people with ADHD. By stimulating dopamine production and raising dopamine levels, focus, attention, and working memory all work together and create drive.
There are also a few natural ways to stimulate dopamine production:
- Exercise. Many people achieve greater focus for a couple of hours after just 25 – 40 minutes of exercise.
- Interest in tasks is also extremely helpful in raising dopamine levels. If you can generate some interest around tasks that you find boring you can increase your motivation to do them. Creating a reward system is one example. Tying something you love to do to something you don’t is another.
- Self-Care. Your brain is not an island; it takes whole-body health care to get all systems functioning properly. This includes maintaining a balanced diet and at least 8 hours of sleep at night.
Next time you find yourself unmotivated, think about what it is that’s boring you to tears. If throwing out that laundry that’s been sitting there for weeks seems like a better idea than doing it, ask yourself, how can you make it more interesting? Maybe using a little creativity could make it actually fun. If you hate to be trapped at home doing chores, how about taking it to a laundry mat in a neighboring town so you can people-watch or make new friends while you’re there?
Just remember, the bottom line is that it’s not your fault you’re wired the way you are but it is up to you to help yourself.
I have a free webinar coming out in a couple of weeks, Demystifying & De-Stigmatizing ADHD. Be sure to sign up for it!
AFTER THIS PRESENTATION YOU WILL:
Understand the 2013 changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5).
Be able to summarize the role of Executive Function and how its impairment negatively impacts those with ADHD.
See what challenges our understanding of ADHD and understand its challenges.
Understand how a strength-based approach and attitude towards ADHD helps fight against stigma and breeds a healthy self-esteem in people with ADHD.