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ADHD & Motivation

Motivation is a huge conversation topic with adolescents, parents, and adults when discussing how they manage and work with their ADHD. This video explains three ways to support ADHD brains best!

When discussing ADHD, we need to discuss executive functioning as this is part of the brain impacts those with ADHD differently than those without. The basic areas of executive functioning include,

  • Attention Control: This is the individuals ability to focus their attention and concentrate on something specific in their environment.

  • Cognitive flexibility: Sometimes referred to as mental flexibility, this refers to the ability to switch from one mental task to another or to think about multiple things at the same time.

  • Cognitive inhibition: This involves the ability to tune out irrelevant information.

  • Inhibitory control: This involves the ability to inhibit impulses or desires in order to engage in more appropriate or beneficial behaviors.

  • Working memory: Working memory is a “temporary storage system” in the brain that holds several facts or thoughts in mind while solving a problem or performing a task.

Our executive functioning assists with, analyzing information, the ability to focus, tracking behaviours, emotional regulation, making plans, remember important details, time management, viewing other perspectives, and organization.

ADHD can create difficulty in starting projects or tasks and for some it may feel/look like paralysis. When people with ADHD are receiving lots of information at once it can become difficult. for them to sort through and identify the important parts. "This sense of paralysis can quickly lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, procrastination, and avoidance, and ultimately results in problems with productivity (Verywell Mind, 2022)."

Another part of motivation and ADHD is boredom. While those without ADHD brains are able to complete boring tasks as their brains are able to release the right amount of dopamine to get through the task, those with ADHD aren't able to get this dopamine hit and at times; end up avoiding the task, becoming distracted, or feeling frustrated.

So what do I do?

Ways to support ADHD brains in getting motivated or task completion include,

  1. Break down tasks to smaller chunks - try not to overwhelm the ADHD brain.

  2. Use visuals, lists, timers, activity tracking, etc. to remain on track and support an ADHD brain to moving between tasks.

  3. Set out smaller goals instead of just one big one. Smaller goals can feel more manageable and within reach.

  4. REWARDS! We all like rewards and they can look different for everyone. Identify rewards that would motivate you or keep you on track.

  5. Exercise! Getting outside and/or engaging in physical activity is also important for ADHD brains and can assist in expending energy and encourage increased focus.

Knowing how your ADHD shows up in your life allows us to create a blueprint or outline so we can support our ADHD brain best.

Thank you,


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