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Hello Brains!
Raise your hand if you've ever spent 3 hours scrolling through social media.
Raise your *other* hand if you've ever actually *planned* to.
ADHD brains need a lot of stimulation.
I explain why in this video, but basically, most of us don't spend hours
scrolling through social media because we think that's a great use of our time —
we do it because we're looking for the stimulation we need to function.
Unfortunately, the quick and easy sources of dopamine we tend to turn to often
aren't enough to actually satisfy that need.
I had a really great conversation with Eric Tivers about this a couple weeks ago — and
he explained it as trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it.
Water's coming into the bucket...but it's also going out of the bucket.
So we spend hours scrolling through social media without really enjoying ourselves.
Or we hit the pleasure button on the same activity so many times,
it actually stops being as fun.
Or we send WAY too many texts.
The obvious solution here is to do things that *do* give us the level of
stimulation we need.
That DO fill our buckets.
But making different choices requires figuring out what those choices are,
weighing those choices,
figuring out the steps involved then initiating them,
and, because the more satisfying dopamine choices usually take longer to set up, being
able to tolerate the distress of being bored in the meantime.
Which, when we're already low on dopamine, has a possibility scale ranging from “mayyyybe?”
to “nope.”
Just like it's really hard to make good food choices when you're already hungry,
it's really hard to make good dopamine choices when you're already low on dopamine.
One way we can make it easier is to separate the planning from the choosing.
Or as Eric puts it -- don't try to do all the executive functions at the same time.
[ERIC]: One of the challenges that we come across is that we are looking for something
to stimulate ourselves at the time when we need to stimulate ourselves.
We can create a dopamine menu or a dopa-menu for things that excite us.
So when you're like, "I'm so boredddd," grab the menu!
I feel like not doing that is almost like going to the grocery store hungry.
[Jessica]: Yeahhh.
Without a grocery sho-- without a list.
[Eric]: Without a list. Right. Without a list.
Whatever's the fastest, easiest, like, I want to eat this thing NOW.
[Jessica]: In case you're thinking, "well yeah, that's easy for him to say, he's a professional--"
He also has ADHD.
And he's very good at entertaining himself.
[Eric]: What do we do about how to...
Wait, what do we do about what?
[Eric]: I just had the thought.
Would these tomatoes fit in my nose?
[Jessica]: Do you need a minute?
[Eric]: There's a tomato somewhere on the floor of my office.
And if I forget about it, it's eventually gonna become a sundried tomato.
Do you see my tomato?
[Jessica]: I don't see your tomato.
Does anybody else see Eric's tomato?
[Eric]: I love that I have clothes on my floor and this is my office.
Okay, hold on.
Where's the tomato?!
[Jessica]: So I tried it out!
I made a Dopamenu based on his suggestions, and it was actually a really cool experience.
I elaborated on the concept a bit based on my experience in restaurants working with
actual menus, and then put it all together in a handy acronym: DOPA.
Here you go.
The world's first video on how to create a Dopamenu.
In 4 steps.
First, DESIGN your menu.
To do this,
Eric recommends thinking about things that you've done that made you feel really excited,
or alive -- and on the flip side, what your go-to's are when you're bored
that don't actually make you feel great.
You can design your menu however you want, but I split mine up into:
Entrees: the activities that excite me and make me feel alive — like playing my guitar,
or taking my dog to the dog park, going to the gym or yoga,
spending quality time with someone, game nights with friends, making a TikTok video!
Desserts: things that are my go-to's that I tend to overdo it on.
Things that don't really fill the bucket.
Scrolling through social media, texting, spending time with someone who's not really present,
ruminating, mindless eating,
watching TV, playing video games by myself, wow I have a lot of these.
I would like to point out that it's totally fine to eat dessert sometimes, it's just
good to be aware of when that's what we're ordering because if that's all we're eating,
we're probably not going to feel great.
I also added
Appetizers: things that can give me a quick dopamine burst without sucking me in.
So things like a minute of jumping jacks, or a cup of coffee, or setting a timer for
5 minutes on social media.
Sides: things I can add to other activities to make them more engaging.
So, adding a music playlist, using a fidget, or making it more challenging.
And I made a separate menu for “specials” --
Things like concerts that I might be able to go to occasionally but I can't do very often.
Going on vacation, buying a new outfit!
Once you have a bunch of options on your menu,
omit any options that aren't realistic right now.
You know what...
Restaurants take stuff off their menu all the time because it's not in season or it's
too expensive to make or nobody's ordering it; so can we.
Dog park will have to wait until we can do that again.
I will actually never choose "write a novel" over "post on Twitter;" also
this is not a to-do list, this is a Dopamenu.
That one's kind of expensive, it should probably be a special --
Oh good, I have specials again.
The idea is, what's on your menu should be something you'd actually “order”
and something you can actually “make.”
Once you've got your menu set,
Prep your ingredients!
Restaurants know that when people are hungry, they don't like to wait... so they prepare
everything they reasonably can ahead of time.
We can do the same.
After creating my menu, I set up a table for painting my minis so it doesn't take as
long to get started,
I put my guitar on a stand by the couch.
When I'm done watching TV at night, I switch it to a YouTube workout video so that that's
the first thing I see when I turn it on in the morning,
and because I realized video games are only really satisfying to me when they're new
or when I'm playing with a friend, I added to my video game budget so that I can try
new games and occasionally buy one for a friend.
I also *created* a few barriers to some of my go-to's that I would like to not go to
as often.
I put my phone charger where I can't reach it from the couch, I deleted Facebook from
my phone and gave my kitchen a cover charge.
Before I can grab a snack, I have to roll a d20 and I do whatever exercise matches the
number on the die.
Basically, for the things you want to encourage yourself to do, decrease the number of steps
For any go-to's you'd like to go to a little less often, you can do the opposite and
increase the number of steps.
Advertise your menu!
Most menus have enticing descriptions to get you to order the thing.
We can do that too!
We can also make it pretty, or funny, and post it where we'll be able to see it when
we're bored.
I posted one on my coffeetable, in my studio, on my fridge, and I made a mini version for
the lock screen of my phone.
Now when I pick up my phone, I can see what my other options are.
If you're not sure what to choose, there are even websites with random choice generators.
Just put in all your options and it will pick one for you.
This isn't to say that suddenly we're going to make all different choices,
or even that we should.
There's something to be said for familiarity, especially when we're going through a crisis.
But by preparing a menu in advance, we'll have more options available to us when we
need them.
Of course, if nothing seems fun, Eric has a different piece of advice for that.
What do we do if nothing feels enjoyable?
[ERIC]: Call your doctor.
Maybe that's depression.
So, if the, you know, it's the things that you once found enjoyable are not, I mean...it
also could be ADHD cause you're just bored of the thing cause you've already been doing
this for a week and I need something new now.
[JESSICA]: How do you know the difference?
[ERIC]: I think you feel it physically when it's depression.
[JESSICA]: That's it for this video!
Let us know what you think in the comments below and share any ideas you have.
If you do design a menu, post it on Instagram and use the #BraintasticTuesday.
It's where we're starting to celebrate all of our achievements!
Thank you to my Brain Advocates and all my Patreon Brains for helping us hit
our next goal!
Like, subscribe, click the bell if you want to be notified the next time we post and
I will see you next video!
Bye brains!
But did he ever find the tomato?
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How to Give Your Brain the Stimulation It Needs

261 Folder Collection
jeremy.wang published on June 12, 2020
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