I know it seems extremely difficult when we can’t stay on task or even get started, but there are several ways to increase our brain activity and get moving in the right direction. First of all, it’s not our fault that our brains are wired differently. That said, let’s learn more about this, and then take action.
Insufficient levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine is a common problem seen in both types of ADHD. Dopamine regulates mood, motivation and concentration. Without enough of this neurotransmitter, our emotional, mental, and physical health is compromised.
However, excessive use of dopamine enhancers like stimulant medications, caffeine, and sugar excite the nervous system and should be used in moderation or not at all. If you feel agitated or overly excitable, your nervous system may be producing too many stress hormones, and you may want to cut back on stimulants.
Here’s some ways you can start to feel better right now, and increase your neurotransmitters as naturally as possible. These daily activities and habits can help your body and brain function much better. Let’s get started!
- Listen to music in the morning to stimulate dopamine production and improve your mood.
- Eat a healthy, protein-enriched breakfast. Add some good fats and complex carbs to balance your sugar levels. Your brain and body will thank you.
- Take a shower in the morning. It increases serotonin and sets a nice tone for the day. I like to add a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil to the base of my shower. Inhale and enjoy.
- Exercise daily, preferably away from bedtime, to boost dopamine levels and purge anxiety. Don’t overdo it, especially if you have any chronic health issues.
- Get some sunlight early in the day, even if it’s artificial, to help regulate sleep patterns and boost serotonin levels.
- Listen to binaural beats with headphones, especially during tedious tasks. I’ve found this works just as good as caffeine, and it tunes out the world around me. Zen at last. I’m listening to beats right now.
- Take a 20-minute power nap in the early afternoon to restore energy and boost brain power.
- Stay hydrated and drink lots of filtered water all day long! Mental lethargy is often caused by dehydration.
- Take probiotics to heal your gut, body and brain. I start my day off with a big glass of water and probiotic capsules. Probiotics work best before meals.
- During the day, eat a small square of dark chocolate to boost serotonin or chew minty gum to wake up.
- Drink low-dose caffeine beverages like green tea or enjoy just a half cup of coffee. Wait about 20 minutes AFTER you eat your meals and ingest vitamins. Caffeine prevents the body from fully absorbing vitamins and minerals. Bonus: green tea is anti-inflammatory and great for the skin.
- Skip stimulants/caffeine a few times a week to rest your adrenal glands and allow the nervous system to relax. Choose days when high executive functioning tasks are not on your list, like laundry days, lazy Sundays, etc.
- If you’re overly agitated, you might want to try taking Magnesium Citrate throughout the day, to help relax. I carry tablets in my purse and sometimes take one during the day or before social events, if I’m a little anxious. I take a higher dose of magnesium at night to help sleep. I’ll post more on this in my blog/videos, since anxiety and sleep issues are a common concern for people with ADHD.
- If you’re feeling anxious or unsettled, do a quick round of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to clear out any negative emotions. If you don’t know exactly what to say, just tap on the meridian points and breathe slowly and intentionally. This calms the nervous system, so you can start to think.
“The Effect of Caffeine on Vitamin Absorption / Nutrition / Vitamins and Minerals.” The Effect of Caffeine on Vitamin Absorption / Nutrition / Vitamins and Minerals. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/the-effect-of-caffeine-on-vitamin-absorption.html