When we hear the term ADHD, we often think of hyperactive, easily distracted children; but, the reality is, symptoms of the condition can last into adulthood where they can cause a whole new set of problems for a person bogged down with important responsibilities, both personal and professional. Forgetfulness, disorganization and poor use of time can be disastrous, and it is vital to find ways to minimize the impact of this condition on day to day living. Medications can be effective but may not be enough and many people with ADHD are interested in finding other ways to deal with it. Meditation may be one such tool and is something to seriously consider.
Meditation, Stress and Anxiety
All adults deal with stress and anxiety, it is a part of life. But, when you have ADHD, it may be magnified. Your symptoms may cause you to do things that cause problems for you, such as forgetting to pay a bill on time, or committing a major screw-up at work, and as a result you experience stress and anxiety. Things that other people do without issue can be major hurdles for you and you probably feel frustrated that simple tasks are so hard for you. Furthermore, feeling stressed and anxious is likely to exacerbate your symptoms and make it more difficult to function.
It is pretty clear that finding ways to manage stress and anxiety is an important part of keeping symptoms at bay. Meditation is one of the most powerful tools for reining in these troublesome feelings because it helps you tune into your feelings and observe them better; you become more aware of what is happening and you simply do not react habitually. Your mind becomes calmer and a calmer mind naturally lends itself to better organization, less forgetfulness, increased concentration and greater efficiency.
Research suggests that meditation may be effective for adults and adolescents who have ADHD. One study conducted in 2008 found that meditation was effective in reducing symptoms on 78 percent of the participants; 30 percent experienced a reduction of at least 30 percent, which is considered statistically significant in medication trials for ADHD. Most of the participants were already on medication so regardless of the percentage of improvement, this suggests that meditation can offer benefits beyond what the medications can and can be a good complement to conventional treatment. There was an improvement in ability to focus and pay attention and in adults, there was a significant reduction in stress and anxiety.
There are lots of different types of meditation; the kind used in the study –mindfulness meditation– may be particularly good for ADHD because it involves focusing attention on one thing, such as your breath, and learning to recognize when you have become distracted and going back to that focus. This type of meditation will help you increase awareness of when your mind wanders and allow you to bring it back to the task at hand. As far as how long to meditate, that is really up to you. In the study, adults reported an average meditation time of 90 minutes a week, which is not a lot of time at all. If you were to sit 7 days a week, that averages out to about 13 minutes a day, hardly a major time commitment.