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Can Meditation Help With ADHD & Improve Focus?

Can Meditation Help With ADHD & Improve Focus?

You may already be aware that there are benefits that come with practicing meditation. But more recently, there has been more research on how meditation can help with ADHD symptoms specifically.

If you have ADHD, you are likely thinking something along these lines, “I can’t even sit still for 5 minutes, how am I supposed to meditate?” It may also seem like pairing meditation and ADHD is kind of like an oxymoron, especially if you have the type of ADHD with both hyperactivity and inattentiveness present.

Sitting still and focusing are exactly the two things you struggle with the most right?  Same here. Meditation can be more challenging for those of us with ADHD, this is true… some may even say it can feel like a form of self-torture. But we have even more to gain from practicing it regularly than neurotypical minds do.

How can meditation help with ADHD symptoms?

I will start by saying, am an organizing and decluttering coach and consultant, not an expert on Meditation. So what is stated here is based solely on the research that I have done, and on my own experience.

That said, meditation is something I have studied extensively and have long been fascinated with. I’ve read many books and have done a significant amount of research on the subject. I practice meditation myself and have experienced the benefits firsthand.

It’s also important to note that the benefits of meditation for ADHD may vary from person to person, and it’s not a replacement for other treatments such as medication or therapy. 

I feel strongly that the numerous advantages of meditating needs to be shared with the ADHD world. Not only can it help those with ADHD develop the ability to focus and function better, but it also helps alleviate anxiety and has a whole host of other benefits.

There are lots of people out there with ADHD who are struggling and are not aware of how much of a difference meditation can actually make for them.

Studies show that meditation can help those with ADHD in specific ways. This includes improving executive functioning skills which are often affected by ADHD.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what they have discovered:

Research now shows that mindfulness meditation, where you actively observe your moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings, may be an effective tool for calming your mind and improving your focus long term.”  In other words, meditation can actually change your brain physically.

Studies at UCLA have shown that meditation improves attention and concentration skills. They compared people with extensive meditation experience to people who do not meditate at all. Using brain scans, researchers found that the meditators’ brains had a thicker prefrontal cortex (PFC).

This is the part of your brain that’s involved in focus, planning, and impulse control. The PFC is responsible for executive functioning skills such as decision-making, impulse control, emotional control, and planning and organization.

These are the same exact executive functioning skills that are often impaired in those with ADHD. What’s even more compelling is that these researchers have documented positive brain changes after only eight weeks of meditation. 

So it seems, practicing meditation on a regular basis can help hone our executive functions so that we can stay more organized, productive and feeling in control.

Sign with: My brain has too many tabs open.

While it may not be a cure, meditation can help with ADHD and improve the following executive functions:

1. Improved attention: Enhances the ability to focus and sustain attention, which are areas of difficulty for individuals with ADHD.

2. Reduced impulsivity: Meditation can help individuals with ADHD develop greater impulse control, allowing them to think before acting and make less impulsive, more mindful decisions. What it does is allow us to put a little space between our thoughts and our reactions.

3. Emotional regulation: Promotes self-awareness and mindfulness, which can help individuals with ADHD better understand and manage their emotions, reducing emotional impulsivity and reactivity.

4. Increased self-awareness: Meditation encourages introspection and self-reflection, allowing individuals with ADHD to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This increased self-awareness can lead to greater insight into how ADHD affects us and how we can cope more effectively.

5. Improved planning and organizing skills: Meditation has been shown to improve planning, organizing, and prioritizing tasks by strengthening cognitive control and decision-making processes.

Other ways meditation can help with ADHD and overall well-being:

Studies have shown that practicing meditation on a regular basis reaps the following benefits:

1. Stress reduction: Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation. And I ask you, who can’t use more calm that these days?

2. Increased dopamine production: Studies have shown that meditation also raises your brain’s level of Dopamine, which is in short supply in ADHD brains.

3. Enhanced mindfulness: Meditation fosters mindfulness, which involves being fully present in the moment and nonjudgmentally aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

4. Better sleep: Practicing meditation before bedtime can promote relaxation and help improve sleep quality by quieting the mind and reducing insomnia symptoms. Sleep issues are common amongst those with ADHD.  Getting enough sleep is also imperative in order for our ADHD brains to function at their best.

5. Improved relationships: By fostering greater empathy, compassion, and emotional regulation, meditation can lead to healthier and more fulfilling relationships with others.

6. Better physical health: Meditation has been linked to various physical health benefits, including reduced blood pressure, improved immune function, and decreased inflammation.

7. Spiritual Enrichment: Meditation has long been associated with cultivating a stronger spiritual connection with the universe and/or God.

The benefits that individuals can experience through regular meditation practice are numerous and this list does not even mention all of them.

Tips to help you get started with meditation:

But, you ask…How on earth can I slow my brain down enough to make meditation work for me? Most people with ADHD will give meditation a try, find it too hard, and give up before they start to see any benefits.

They declare that meditation does not work for them and that’s the end of the story. I offer suggestions for how to make meditation easier to do in my post, “How To Meditate When You Can’t Sit Still.” In this post I share what works for me, what works for others, and how to make it work for you. Be sure to read it before you try meditation for yourself.

Start Small:

The best way to experience success with meditation is to figure out what time of the day works best for you and commit to meditating at the same time each day. 

If meditating for 20 minutes seems completely unrealistic to you, start with just 3 to 5 minutes and work your way up. Even meditating for 5 minutes a day can be beneficial. By doing this, you will be setting a less daunting and more achievable goal.

You’ll also be creating a new habit, which is important if you have ADHD. Once you have developed the habit of meditating it will get easier for you to stick with it, and consistency is key to reaping the many rewards that meditation has to offer.  

Recommended Resources:

If you want to learn more about how meditation can help with ADHD and how to do it successfully, I highly recommend reading The Mindfulness Prescription by Dr. Lidia Zylowska.

She educates readers about ADHD, helping them to understand how their ADHD brain works and how they can use mindful awareness and meditation to work with their challenges. You may also find it helpful to use a guided meditation app such as Headspace or Calm to support you as you practice.  

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, when you choose to use the links provided. See my privacy policy for more information.

The Simple Daisy Organizing

Laura Coufal

About Laura

Who I am is a Southern California turned small-town, Midwest Mom. I am wife to Bruce and mom to my three girls. I am also dog mom to Ollie and Gracie, our quirky pups.

With a B.A. degree in Psychology, I have several years experience working with families and seniors. I believe in a holistic view to organizing. Clearing our minds of the clutter and chaos in our lives is just as important as clearing our physical clutter. By taking a holistic approach to organizing, we can make lasting change.

Back when I first started my professional organizing journey in 2013, I had what I thought of as a dirty little secret. I have ADHD and although I am organized, and enjoy the process of sorting, and tidying. I knew that there were many others with ADHD who really struggled with staying organized. I had a case of imposter syndrome and mostly kept the fact that I had ADHD to myself. That is until I learned that there are other successful professional organizers who have also learned to compensate for their ADHD the same way that I have.

I eventually realized that my need for order and simplicity actually stems from having ADHD as a way to compensate for my short attention span. So my gifts and my challenges are all ironically tied together to create who I am,  and I am able to relate to and help others as a result of this coping method that I have developed for myself.

I also help those without ADHD, who struggle with too much clutter.  Because simplicity and less clutter are always at the heart of staying organized, there is much overlap when it comes to finding solutions to clutter and disorganization.

I am dedicated to keeping my life as simple as possible and to helping others do the same by teaching them how to declutter their homes, simplify their lives, and manage their busy families better.

I have been helping others stay organized since 2013.

It is my deepest hope that you will find resources here that will bring you closer to living a simpler, more intentional, and more peaceful life.

Want Room-By-Room Guidance with Decluttering and Organizing Your Home?

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