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  • AUP Students' Union

Dopamine Menus

Updated: Mar 8

Beth Evans, Student Union President

28th February, 2024

Scroll straight to the end for a Dopamine Menu template...

Dopamine menus are a great tool to use to ensure your brain is getting an enriched and varied amount of stimulation. They are often used by people with ADHD as a way to visualize and remind themselves of methods of increasing their dopamine levels. There's a great article with more information on that here.

Essentially, a dopamine menu is a collection of activities that bring joy to the user ensuring that a day doesn't become completely engulfed by work and chores and instead is a more balanced mixture of work and play, productivity and relaxation. By combining all of these things, the hope is that, by the end of the week instead of being burned out you'll be able to keep going and enjoy a weekend filled with more than just catching up on sleep.

The menu is split into four categories. Starters, Mains, Sides and Desserts and each of these areas has a slightly different requirements. Let's break them down!

Starters are for quick 10 minute or under actions or activities that bring you joy like going for a short walk, having a dance break or playing with a pet.

Mains are heartier tasks that take more time but that you are very passionate about. It could be going to the gym or reading a book. Baking a cake, practicing an instrument or learning to juggle.

Sides are really useful! They're dopamine filled things that you can pair with boring things. Maybe it's having a smoothie whilst you read through academic papers or listening to a podcast whilst you clean your flat. Fidget toys and timers (for turning tasks into races/games) are also good options but it's up to you!

Desserts are the things that we love and that are really easy to do but maybe aren't the best for us to overindulge in. For example scrolling on TikTok, playing mindless games like Farmville or watching reality TV.

Then the game is simple, depending on how much time you have and how much dopamine you need to find, scan through the menu and see what you should eat!

Click here for a Dopamine Menu template that you can fill with your own ideas!

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