By Faye Martins
ADHD makes some of the most basic things in life difficult, but it doesn’t have to be so. For adults and teens with ADHD, meditation offers a way to learn how to focus and pay attention when it matters most.
People with ADHD want to succeed and achieve just like their non-ADHD counterparts, but their condition frequently sabotages their best efforts. The more they try to focus or be on time, the less they are able to do so. This makes success difficult to achieve, especially in traditional 9-5 careers. For this reason, people with ADHD often find ways to earn money that are off the beaten path, or even own their own businesses so they can work with their own unique energy rhythms.
Personal relationships also suffer when the ADHD mind rules your life. Procrastinating about returning a friend’s call or jumping up and leaving during a birthday party are actions that will send the wrong message to those close to you. Add to that the fact that those with ADHD frequently experience bursts of unexpected, explosive anger and you have a recipe for problems in personal relationships.
Experts agree that the best treatment for the ADHD mind is behavioral therapy. They say that those with ADHD must train their minds to focus, but how exactly can this be achieved? Focusing on focusing doesn’t seem like a reasonable answer.
This is where meditation comes in. Individuals with ADHD may use meditation to train their minds to focus in a safe environment where nothing is on the line. Meditation methods will need to be modified specifically for the ADHD mind in order for it to be successful, but it’s very worthwhile.
There are a few different meditation methods that are wonderful for those with ADHD, and in the end the method itself doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to select the method that appeals most to the individual.
Walking meditation is excellent for those with hyperactivity. The goal of the walking meditation should be to make the walk as engaging and alive as possible. Feel the sole of the foot as it makes contact with the ground. Feel the wind as it blows against your face. Smell all the scents that you come across as you enjoy your daily walk. Think of it as the ultimate indulgence, this beautiful walk. This same principle of meditation in motion can be applied to Sun Salutations, Vinyasa flows, or a Restorative Yoga class.
Not everyone with ADHD has the hyperactivity, and many are actually very inattentive and dreamy in their day to day lives. For those individuals, a modified version of the basic breath awareness meditation may be the best choice. In normal breath awareness meditation, the practitioner counts the breath until a passing thought enters the mind. When the mind wanders, the count is reset. This is usually not at all effective for those with ADHD and leads to them feeling bad about themselves because they can’t even break into the double digits before going back to zero.
A more positive variation of this to use in the beginning is to reset the count only when the individual forgets what number they were on. A person with ADHD will lose track of what number they were on when they become completely distracted, and starting again from zero means that they became aware of their mental wandering and brought their mind back to the present. In this way, every time they return to zero may be considered a small success. The ADHD mind will always wander at the beginning, so the best approach is to work with it instead of against it.
The irony is that by focusing on nothing, an individual will learn how to focus on something when the situation demands it. Those with ADHD are plagued by a mind that does not like to be quiet and is constantly seeking escape from the present moment. By learning how to honor and enjoy the present, those with ADHD regain control over the