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ADHD Motivation Using Negative Emotions

ADHD Brains don‘t receive adequate dopamine upon completion of a task. So they aren‘t intrinsically motivated by just the prospect of a job well done.

ADHD Brains don‘t receive adequate dopamine upon completion of a task. So they aren‘t intrinsically motivated by just the prospect of a job well done.

BUT urgency created by negative emotions can overcome task paralysis by shooting us into motion fueled by fear.


Negative Emotions We May Use to Motivate:

  • Stress of pushing last minute deadlines

  • Shame of others potentially perceiving you negatively

  • Anger at ourselves and our behavior

  • Waiting until we hit an anxiety fueled breaking point & do it all at once


The negative emotions lead us to a tipping point where the desire to avoid discomfort outweighs the inertia, propelling us into action.


This cycle can be addictive. Stress builds, action is taken, then relief is felt: reinforcing the use of stress as a motivator.

Stress builds, action is taken, then relief is felt: reinforcing the use of stress as a motivator.

While effective in the short term, relying on negative emotions for motivation can have long-term costs on our mental health.

BURNOUT

Here are my quick tips to flip the script on our common negative motivators...


  • STRESS? Create artificial deadlines with rewards for meeting them

  • SHAME? Try an accountability partner or group

  • ANGER? Practice acknowledging your efforts & rewarding milestones

  • ANXIETY? Say “I’m Excited!” three times then propel into the task


There's better ways to stay motivated with ADHD...

3C Activation: created for ADHDers, BY ADHDers. It's a 12 week online group coaching program designed for adults looking to better manage their personal and professional life with ADHD. Learn more


You've got this,


Coach Brooke

Brooke Schnittman

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