The idea of meditating when you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can seem impossible. After all, how can you manage to spend time sitting still if you have trouble concentrating, feel restless, or have difficulty engaging in quiet activities? Believe it or not, that’s where mindfulness meditation can help.
Practicing mindfulness involves more than sitting cross-legged on a cushion day after day. Instead, it encourages you to pay closer attention to your feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations from moment to moment.
At Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston, our team takes a holistic approach to treating people of all ages who live with ADHD. That’s because we know firsthand it’s not just about minimizing symptoms. It’s about improving a person’s overall health and wellness.
If you have ADHD, here’s what you need to know about mindfulness meditation and how it can help your symptoms.
Understanding mindfulness meditation
Meditation isn’t new. It’s been around for centuries, and it’s still practiced all over the world. However, there are numerous types of meditation that involve different skills and mindsets, including mindfulness.
In the West, mindfulness meditation is the most popular technique. This type of meditation aims to help you practice paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in the moment without judgment.
This approach offers numerous benefits, such as:
- Greater self-acceptance and balance
- Improved attention
- Better sleep
- Less burnout and reactivity
Best of all, you can practice mindfulness anywhere and at any time.
How mindfulness meditation works
When people think of meditation, the first thing that usually comes to mind involves sitting with your eyes closed and breathing deeply. While you can practice mindfulness meditation in this manner, there are less structured ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.
The world is busy, and it can be hard to keep up. However, spending too much time thinking, planning, and problem-solving can be exhausting and worsen ADHD symptoms. Instead, take time to slow down, so you can notice things in your environment. Then, experience the moment with all of your senses, including smell, taste, sound, sight, and touch.
If you notice negative, racing, or overwhelming thoughts, stop and breathe. If possible, sit down, close your eyes, and spend some time focusing on the air moving in and out of your body. The best part? You can practice this exercise even when in motion — just leave your eyes open! Plus, it doesn’t take long. You can benefit from this activity after a single minute of focused breathing.
Live moment by moment
It’s easy to get distracted in daily life. However, mindfulness means trying to intentionally live in the moment by paying attention to everything you do with openness and acceptance. This acceptance should also pertain to you, and you should try to treat yourself like a friend you love. While you’re at it, try to enjoy the simple pleasures that can be easy to miss.
Mindfulness meditation and ADHD
To get the most benefit from mindfulness, our team also recommends practicing more structured meditation exercises on a daily basis. These activities usually include seated meditation, body scan meditation, or walking meditation.
As the name implies, this exercise involves sitting comfortably with a straight back, hands in your lap, and feet flat on the floor. As you breathe through your nose, you focus on the air moving in and out of your body. When thoughts or physical sensations interrupt this focus, acknowledge them and then return your attention to your breath.
Body scan meditation
During this mindfulness exercise, lie on your back with your legs and arms relaxed and straight, palms turned up. Then, starting at your toes or your head, slowly focus on each part of your body as you “scan” for thoughts, emotions, or sensations.
You can still do structured mindfulness exercises even if you can’t sit still. Instead, find a quiet place 10-20 feet long. Start walking slowly, focusing entirely on the experience, including how the ground feels beneath your feet. When you reach the end of your space, turn around and continue walking, staying focused on the moment and experience.
For the best results with your ADHD, you should incorporate these exercises throughout the day. With practice, it can become easier to apply these techniques whenever you feel overwhelmed.
Do you have ADHD? Mindfulness meditation may be able to help you. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.