Ikigai and ADHD: Having Dopamine-Releasing Activities

Ariadne Ferro shares that for individuals with ADHD, one way to help with ikigai is by incorporating activities that increase the release of dopamine. These dopamine-releasing activities can provide individuals with ADHD with a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.

Finding ikigai in dopamine-releasing activities

Nick: But when we did the program, I had this one vivid memory. I was sharing some of Ken Mogi’s wisdom, and he basically said with ikigai, it's something you feel and he was sort of backing it up with many of these things, these sources, if they’re activity based, they released dopamine.

And he said, make your daily routine of dopamine releasing activities. You may have this daily routine of dopamine releasing activities, that essentially just your sources of ikigai. And I stopped talking about it and asked ‘Ariadne what do you think of this?’ And you're like, ‘I'm blown away’, your eyes lit up, and you're like, ‘this is amazing!’ Why was that so powerful for you?

Ariadne: Well, it was powerful on a professional and on a personal level, because ADHD is all about all about looking for that dopamine rush, right? Like, what is it, what's going to release dopamine for us? And it's like that dysregulation.

So hearing him talk about the relationship between ikigai and dopamine, you know, that dopamine was really revelatory, especially in relation to ADHD, and also on a personal level. Because even though I've lived in Spain for 20 years, and everybody thinks of Paris, because Spain doesn't do a good job of marketing, but it's the same kind of like sidewalk cafe life.

And I never drink coffee, I never partook in that lifestyle. And then when I began to work from home, like once we started getting life a little bit back to normal, the new normal as it was called, then, I would drop my kids off from school, and because I was working from home, I have a little sidewalk cafe, right downstairs from my building. And I thought I want to go I was so tired of being in my apartment all the time, that I thought I'm just going to enjoy a cup of coffee, and my toasts with tomato.

And just as something to try out, and that became my ikigai to the point where we have our coaching calls, you often see me with my coffee, and my toast with tomato. Because it was this discovery for me of something so simple, that gave me that time to connect with myself. The caffeine in the coffee was also very good for my ADHD and helping me with my focus, and everything.

But yeah, so it was just hearing him say that resonated on so many levels, especially because he mentioned like that coffee in the morning, which I thought was really interesting, too. Talking about that that little spike in dopamine, talking about just finding those small moments, which is like one of his pillars, right, is that that's starting small and just the joy of little things.

And I thought wow, it all made sense especially because it wasn't just words that you were sharing with me, it was something that I was living and that I had just recently discovered. So it was really powerful.

Nick: I'll never forget your reaction it was priceless.