The Link between Motivation and ADHD
We all have those days where we just want to push a pause button on life and glue ourselves to the couch. Our motivation – was gone for a trip leaving us drained & tired. Now imagine having that day not once in a while – but every day! Not having that push to wake up, brush your teeth, and go to work every single day. Such might be the struggle of people having ADHD – and these superheroes fight and overcome it day in and day out.
ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. It is typically diagnosed in childhood and can last into adulthood. Children with A.D.H.D. may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (acting without considering the outcome), or being overly active.
According to National Institutes of Health researchers, executive functioning is the ability to plan, remember instructions, and complete tasks. For a person with A.D.H.D, these skills may tend to be especially difficult, giving the impression that ADHD comes along with a lack of motivation. They propose that certain neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine, may play a role in motivation in people with A.D.H.D. Lower levels of this neurotransmitter can affect the brain’s reward centers, causing a lack of motivation to begin or complete tasks.
Where people with ADHD suffer the most
Usually, people tend to reach from what they aim to do to actually doing it by walking on a ‘motivation bridge’. This bridge seems to be missing most of its planks for people with ADHD and their struggle to get things done is far more severe. Along with dealing with low motivation, they also lack empathizing with people around them. ‘I was able to fight my lack of motivation, why can’t you? is what they often hear. This makes them doubt their capacity without knowing that their brain is wired to be less motivated – and that it’s not their fault. This also restricts the opportunities of overcoming their motivational issues and seeking help.
So, what can we do?
Medications can help them get started with tasks because it increases dopamine levels in the brain. This enhances their attention span and ability to focus.
In the long run, however, ADHD treatment via medication can prove to be an effective form of motivation when paired up with training and strengthening the brain muscle. This training also includes building motivation in them that comes from within rather than from temporary external sources such as medication. Intrinsic motivation, which comes from within, should be accommodated for children with A.D.H.D.
Understanding what actually motivates them and what bores them is extremely important. They have difficulty with tasks that are
· Energy and focus consuming
· And long-term result oriented
You would often experience children with ADHD hating to study for an exam month in advance. Instead, they value something more immediate and rewarding, such as playing sports games hence leading to low levels of motivation in long-term activities.
Furthermore, identifying how to motivate oneself prepares children for long-term success. They have a lifetime to learn how to manage their complex brains, and the sooner they learn to use motivation to their advantage, the better. This technique, however, is difficult to master and necessitates significant family effort.
A few tips that might help boost motivation
The way there are things they find boring, there are some basics to motivate the A.D.H.D brain, just remember PINCH (P.I.N.C.H.).
· Play (Humor/creativity)
- Make anything you do personally interesting because ADHD brains are interest-based learners.
- Do your tasks in ways you like – like while cycling or while jogging.
- Do your tasks in a new environment.
- Teachers and parents tend to be liberal and lenient on their children knowing their struggle, however, giving them the flexibility of procrastinating might deprive them of motivation even more.
· Hurry Up (Urgency)
- You can set artificial deadlines to create a sense of urgency.
- Set timers before starting a task followed by a reward.
- Remind yourself about the urgency by putting up reminders and calendars.
Basically, constant stimulation, engagement, and excitement will help them stay motivated. It is extremely effective when parents identify such ways to motivate their children. Do remember – when they lack motivation, do not tell them how important the task is, because they already know it. Instead, try helping them understand what’s missing to build that motivation bridge they need to get across.
Self-motivation can be maintained by employing tactics such as:
· Breaking down work into smaller, more manageable portions,
· Applying positive reinforcement,
· Incorporating physical movement into daily routine,
· Rewarding himself/herself more immediately for small steps taken toward achieving goals
· And setting smaller, more attainable goals.
Instead of berating yourself for your imperfections, embrace them. The positives of A.D.H.D. are numerous and mighty, which include creativity, empathy, tenacity, sense of humor, and compassion, to name a few. Remind yourself of these to stay motivated and healthy.