ADHD and meditation: Does anyone have... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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ADHD and meditation

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Does anyone have any practical tips for mindfulness meditation? I.e., tips they've used, that have worked for them. My mind is extremely active, and I just can't quieten it down. There are a lot of resources out there, which tell you things like "More than a third of adults with ADHD use this practice, and about 40% give it high ratings" (makes you wonder about that other 60%).

Here's my problem... ADDitude has a step by step guide, which says...

".... When you notice your attention drifting toward that thought salad, gently disengage your attention and bring your mind back to your focus."

My thoughts don't drift towards a thought salad, they are a thought salad! I have also heard the analogy that you're thoughts are like cars on the road, and you're an observer on the side of the road; they come and go, while you remain disengaged. In that analogy, my thoughts are more like cars on a freight train - loud and with no gaps inbetween. I sit down to meditate, and the lyrics to a song, or Star Trek lore, or David Bowie's discography (ordered by release date) starts cycling through my head.

That step about observing and dismissing your thoughts seems to be the crux of mindfulness meditation. i.e. you don't get the benefits without it. Not only that, but I am trying for focused meditation, using techniques like reparenting to address childhood trauma. And I literally just cannot get started. Since there's no wrong way to meditate, I have persisted with meditation - been at it almost a year, but I am just not seeing the benefits. I've tried walking meditation, same result.

I noticed that when I am medicated, my thoughts are quieter. That song stuck in my head has the volume turned way down. But that's with me borrowing my wife's ritalin. They won't give me my own, yet. So, this might all be easier with medication, but I don't want to wait. I have been fighting for a diagnosis for years.

9 Replies

Hiya,I use Insight Timer app.It covers loads of different things,ie.depression,fatigue,pain,yoga and others.when I log in,I try to do 2 or more articles one after the other as I don't always get in the zone during the 1st session.but I feel like I have less baggage when I hit different articles 1 after the other.I hope you get some relief from your youre looking at free readings,you've got so much choice.

I use 3 things in this prefered order.

Luminate app (flashing lights) (gamifys meditation - gotta love a gadget!)

Headspace app

I try to use the top 2 every day. Sometimes I use headspace but not often.

Hiyas I also use insight timer I just started using it but I find it very helpful so far. I'm sorry ur struggling to get the proper help with ur ADHD I hope this will soon work out for you and u can get on. Proper medication. Just a word of advice maybe check with ur insurance and ask them for referral for this. It's hard to get proper help it seems they always think people are just drug addict s instead of them realizing we r people with ADHD and ADD that simply need help with medication. Good luck 🤞!

Re meditation and thoughts - most meditation apps want you to focus on your breathing

Just hearing the in breath, hearing the out breath.

Have all your wandering thoughts but keep comming back to just listening to those breaths.

Keep at it untill you have phases of just hearing the breaths and no thoughts. (The no thought phases may be extremely short like 5 seconds but keep it up)

Its the ability to just be hearing the breaths - without other thoughts that you need to try to develop.

This "zoning out" on something very simple is the core of meditation. (As I understand it.)

As I say it can last only seconds - but persist in dismissing the external thoughts - as they occur - and just focus on

In breath

Out breath

It's seems overly simple and a can seem a total waste of time.

But that's how to do it.

Imagine a road digger driver scouping up the the Star Teck lore and dumping it to the side then scouping up the David Bowie data and putting that to the side too. All that's left is the sound of in / out breathing and the road digger driver (you) will move aside any new thoughts that rush in untill all that's left is just the breathing sound - in / out - rince and repeat. (For 30 mins)

Btw my mind is like some crazy monkey cage at the zoo. So I don't get it to be quiet for long when I meditate but I try. My Muse brainwave gadget (above) helps.

Hi MTA, I've never managed to enjoy or find meditation easy. As soon as someone mentions the word, my mind has scarpered to a place of unrest and won't come out until the bogeyman called meditation has returned to Tibet or wherever he originated. I've learned to simply enjoy music as a background to my thoughts. Why struggle to tame random thoughts that you have little control of when you can let the music calm the savage beast. I don't think that there is ever one size to fit all when it comes to quietening the mind so you need to find out what works for you and it may not be meditation or mindfulness. The drugs, as you've pointed out, help quiet the mind. Maybe that's as good as it gets. There's no point in making things worse trying to attain Nirvana when you're in the middle of a battle zone.

I find it difficult to sit and think about each breath. I always have, even before I was diagnosed which makes a lot of sense now. I like to box breath while I walk so I'm actively being mindful, and counting is more rhythmic than breathing to me. If you are not familiar it's breathing in, hold, out, hold for the same count, that works for you, at each step. In for 3, hold for 3, out for 3, hold for 3 repeat. I've had some success with Thai Chi(sp?) too, but you will likely want to attend a class to learn the movements.

I love Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditations. They can be accessed through the Chopra app. There’s also a free version. They’re mantra meditations which I find to be the most difficult but somehow the most rewarding also.

I’ve been meditating on and off for years for years, but Sam Harris’ book and app Waking Up have been the #1 most insightful resources for me. He is very scientific and doesn’t have any religious or new-age baggage.

Meditation is about simply observing what consciousness is like, not controlling or making judgements about it. It is the practice of paying attention to being, which includes all of your thoughts and emotions and bodily sensations. Thoughts and feelings are not things to be pushed away. Just notice them for what they are.

Well done MTA for sticking with meditation for so long- that’s amazing! My issue has been sticking with it and doing a daily practice so I genuinely admire your persistence despite not seeing the benefits.

My tip would be to explore movement based meditations before sitting for a short practice. I see you’ve tried walking meditations, but I find that a yoga routine (led by someone else so I don’t have to think about what next) or a series of gentle repetitive stretching coordinated with breathe helps before sitting for meditation. Focusing on what your body is doing can be meditative in itself but it helps put your brain in a calmer state for a still practice.

I’ve found medication does help me meditate more easily too, but that’s difficult that you need to use your wife’s.

My other tip is to let it be whatever it turns out to be and don’t fret that you aren’t seeing the benefits. You’ve done well to persist for so long so hold on to that strength and keep going! That in itself is a huge achievement in my books and who knows, maybe it is working but you just can’t see it yet 😃

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