What role does motivation play in the lives of adults with Attention Deficit Disorder? Can you muster motivation when you need it most? How can you improve your motivation?
Some years ago, a researcher studied the effects of M & M’s on children’s I.Q. tests. They gave the children a test to establish a baseline I.Q. Then, they tested them again several months later. The kids were promised one M & M for each correct answer on the second test. Does it surprise you that their I.Q. scores went up? The researchers obviously found a motivator that spoke to those kids!
Research into how children with Attention Deficit Disorder respond to rewards has been done at the University of Nottingham by the researchers in the MIDAS (Motivation Inhibition and Development in ADHD Study) group. They have found that people with Attention Deficit Disorder have a faulty switching mechanism in the brain. The Default Mode Network (DMN) is the natural state for the mind. It controls daydreaming and creativity. The mind is usually wandering. When attention to a task is needed, the brain switches to an attending mode. People with ADD have brains that tend to stay in the wandering mode. The brain won’t switch off the DMN. Two things seem to help this faulty off switch. Stimulant medications and rewards work to solve this switching problem. If you have ADD, and you don’t want to take stimulant medication, or you want to enhance the effects of the stimulants, finding potent rewards for yourself might help with motivation.
Finding rewards for your self can be a challenging exercise that may use all of your self-reflection skills. Here are some questions that might help to guide your journey.
*What do you enjoy doing that you often put aside for something more “practical?”
*Who do you enjoy spending time with?
*Where do you like to go?
*If you could buy a “little something” for yourself, what would it be?
*When you plan a special day, what does it look like?
*What do you find exciting?
*How do you find contentment?
Don’t worry about other people feeling that your rewards are silly or unsatisfying. You don’t need to please them; you are doing this just for YOU! This week, think of five things that give you pleasure and motivate you.
The next part of this can also be difficult. Next week think about two tasks that you have been avoiding. Which of your five motivators could help you accomplish one of those long-delayed jobs? Don’t try to do both. Choose one task. Pair it with your potent reward. Plan how to do it, and make sure to get ready to be rewarded. Then, work your plan. After you complete the first chore and you’ve enjoyed your reward, complete the second job. Bask in another reward. Ask yourself, “What went well, and what could I have done differently?” You can repeat this process, as needed, to help you maintain motivation with adult ADD.
Some people look at the group of low-performing children who raised their I.Q. scores an average of 12 points and say that their I.Q.s were under-reported in the first place. Others may assert that the gains were not retained. That's not what I see!
I believe that with the proper motivation, we can do amazing feats. The trick is to find out what motivates you. As adults, we can’t expect others or the universe to reward us at those times when we need a boost to keep going. What is it that rewards you? Find out and reward yourself. Keep your motivation fresh and complete those tasks that have been holding you back. Bring your dreams to reality!
When you find those motivators, please share them with this online community. Go to the BellaOnline ADD Forum and post. We would love to know what motivates you!