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Boosting Dopamine Towards a Day of Focus

Agave ADHD Coach Danielle Ralston shares the top 5 tips to map your personal dopamine boosters and gain more control over your focus, day to day.

February 2023, Danielle Ralston, ADHD Coach @ Agave Health

When you have ADHD, you often feel overwhelmed, burnt out, and just plain in a tailspin of procrastination and confusion. What if life didn't have to be that way? What if you had positive, successful days every single week? What if you could stop chasing the struggle bus (you know, that bus you wish you could even set foot on)?

So before you dismiss this article as just another "expert" telling you how you can do this and your life will instantly improve, just a quick reminder. I am ADHD, too, and this is what I have found works for me and what I help my clients work on too!

It all comes down to: mapping your dopamine needs.

Here are a few dopamine hacks, micro habits, and micro-shifts you can try out to help you have a less chaotic and more joyful day . Is this accessible when you are first learning how to make these changes? No! But, the reward that goes with learning it will give you the motivation payoff you need.

Tip 1: Breathing

Seriously, breathing is vital to keeping your dopamine reserves even, and is easy to grasp when needed.

  • Pull your shoulders back and breathe in for 5 seconds

  • Now hold this breath for 7 seconds

  • Now FORCEFULLY push that air out and do it for 5 seconds, throwing your shoulders forward as you do and rolling forward

  • Do this for 3-5 cycles

This breathing exercise will help you ground yourself, refocus your energy, and direct it toward what you would like to accomplish.

Tip 2: Create a Menu of Things that Create Energy

I call this a dopamine map: a list of things that create dopamine for you that you can pick from when you are struggling in your day.

Here are some examples of things that are on my list and some of my clients' lists:

  • Making and drinking a cup of coffee

  • Dance Party Break

  • Working out for 5 minutes

  • Eating a piece of chocolate

  • Taking a walk outside

  • Yoga

  • Singing

  • writing a short story

  • Watching TikToks

  • Playing a Video Game

  • Doing a Puzzle

  • Cleaning your bathroom mirror

  • Throwing out all the junk mail

  • Walking up and down the stairs three times

  • Talking to your best friend

  • Breathing again

Tip 3: Change Your Habit Cycles

Did you know the ADHD brain likes to NOT keep the same habits in place to do the same task 100% of the time? We love to have 1000 different ways to do one single kind of task. So if the way you did it yesterday isn't working today, try another way. Even doing something as simple as brushing your teeth at the kitchen sink instead of your bathroom is enough of a change to want to do that task and set you up to do the following ten tasks that day.

Tip 4: Accountability

When you have someone to share your intentions for the week, day, or even the next 10 minutes with, it can boost your productivity. Your Agave app has daily check-ins, and you can also message your coach and check back in when you are done! Having supportive accountability can help you stay on task and get things done.

Tip 5: A Healthy Eating and Sleeping Routine

When you have a regular schedule, your body knows what to expect, which helps keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. If you are struggling with this today, let your Agave Coach know, and we can help.

When you are ADHD, knowing what tools to use when you struggle to access your motivation is a game changer. Also, understanding and accepting that we sometimes need an extra boost and that it IS possible to create dopamine on our own is a life-changing skill. Try those tips today, and start controlling your dopamine boosts!


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