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How Nootropics Can Enhance Motivation
Many people struggle with motivation. A lack of motivation can make it hard to be productive and often results in procrastination. From a neurological perspective, motivation can have many causes.
The neurotransmitter dopamine may play a key role in motivation. Contrary to popular belief, dopamine is not so much a “pleasure” chemical as it is a “seeking” chemical. When you have a valued goal that you are working towards, it is dopamine that is responsible for feelings of excitation that come from moving toward that goal.
However, dopamine is just one part of the picture. A lack of motivation, also called amotivation, can also be caused by sleep deprivation, high stress levels, and drug abuse. Therefore, there are many different causes and potential solutions for improving motivation.
Fortunately, that there are many different nootropics that may be able to help improve motivation. Many motivation-enhancing nootropics work through direct dopaminergic processes or through improving general brain function and mental health.
List of the Best Nootropics for Motivation
Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug that provides significant mental stimulation and cognitive enhancement even in healthy individuals.
Unlike typical prescription stimulants such as Adderall, Modafinil is non-addictive and does not have a significant impact on mood. In general, Modafinils subjective effects tend to lean much more heavily towards cognition rather than emotion and mood. As a result of this, it is very popular as a productivity aid.
Modafinil has been shown to improve working memory, alertness, focus, and motivation.
Tianeptine is a unique drug that provides nootropic, antidepressant, anxiolytic effects. Tianeptine promotes the formation and survival of new neurons and enhances synaptic activity. These abilities, known as neurogenesis and neuroplasticity respectively, may play a key role in motivation.
Additionally, Tianeptine enhances dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is the region of the brain where the dopamine “reward circuit” is active. This reward circuit is heavily relevant in motivation and reward-seeking behavior.
As such, it stands to reason that Tianeptine may be one of the best nootropics for motivation due these unique properties.
Phenylpiracetam is a nootropic stimulant that is popular for enhancing motivation and productivity. It’s primary effects come from increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.
Phenylpiracetam provides a noticeable “clean” source of energy for about 6 hours. It is not associated with any serious side effects such as anxiety and insomnia and is non-addictive.
In my experience, it is excellent for improving motivation, and is particularly effective when used once a week. I generally prefer to use it on days where I have a lot of the work to do so that I can maximize the benefits from it.
Noopept is a nootropic that is typically used to boost brain power and enhance cognition. While noopept is not a stimulant or dopaminergic substance, it does increase brain activity through the modulation of glutamate and BDNF.
Noopept is can be great for improving motivation levels without any noticeable side effects. It can increase both motivation and productivity indirectly by reducing brain fog and improving creativity.
Semax is a unique nootropic that has many different uses. It’s primarily used for its brain boosting properties, which include enhanced executive function and goal-oriented behavior.
Semax promotes the formation and survival of new neurons and reverses stress-related neurological changes to the brain. It may indirectly improve motivation by optimizing the brain to work at peak performance.
Selank is another unique nootropic that is similar to Semax; it is also used to treat depression and anxiety. One of its primary effects is modulating the expression of certain genes that reduce inflammation.
Selank has many other unique properties on the brain. Among them, it is able to significantly elevate dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and BDNF, all of which may be beneficial to motivation and mood.
The uridine stack consists of uridine, fish oil (DHA), choline (Alpha-GPC). It is useful for promoting neurogenesis and synaptogenesis , upregulating dopamine, improving mood and motivation, improving learning and memory, and for general neurorestorative benefits.
The uridine stack may directly improve motivation by upregulating baseline dopamine levels over time. It may further enhance motivation by restoring the brain to an optimal state of functioning by growing neuronal structres.
Sulbutiamine is a drug that is promoted for its nootropic and energy-enhancing properties. It is a synthetic compound that consists of two thiamine molecules (Vitamin B1) bound together by a sulfur group.
Sulbutiamine can be especially useful for individuals who are deficient in thiamine, as sulbutiamine is extremely effecting at delivering thiamine to the brain. It’s been shown to modulate dopaminergic and glutaminergic processes, which are key neurotransmitters for motivation and mood.
Theacrine is a naturally occurring alkaloid that has similar properties to caffeine.
It’s been shown to be less addictive than caffeine as it may build up tolerance much more slowly.
Theacrine may useful for boosting energy levels, improving mood, and enhancing motivation. Since builds tolerance much more slowly than caffeine, it may be an effective way of improving motivation without it becoming a crutch.
However, theacrine is fairly understudied and so it’s unclear at this time how effective it is compared to caffeine.