“The anticipation of doing something (pleasurable) starts the brain’s responses even before you actually start doing it. You can use this as a tool to ‘trick’ your brain to do things.”
-J. Russell Ramsey, Ph.D.
Rewards to Come
Isn’t it fun to anticipate doing something fun? As you think about how great it’s going to be, don’t you become more eager for it to happen? Isn’t that eagerness a motivator?
This is what Ramsey is talking about when he’s talking about tricking your brain to do things. The long slog of planning a complicated trip can be managed better if you envision what it’s going to feel like to actually be on that trip once the planning is over. The trepidation you feel at having a delicate conversation with your partner can be steadied when you envision what it will feel like to be through the conversation after your partner has listened to you and you are no longer be in such a dark place.
Doing a task you don’t love can be made easier by both gamifying it and thinking about the appreciation your partner will show you.
Of course, this latter suggests one element of using your brain to think about reward - that there is a reward coming. This is one of the reasons why each partner’s responses to the other are so important. The ADHD brain is reward-focused. It tends towards those things that feel good.
Bottom line – one way for ADHD partners to motivate is to remind themselves and visualize the reward to come. Non-ADHD partners can help the process along by creating rewards for tasks well done.
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