Contributed by Neil Swanson —
You probably know that researchers have found that meditation improves mental functioning and even the physical health of most individuals. The slowed-down, more relaxed and accepting thought processes encouraged by meditation seem to be especially beneficial to those with ADHD challenges.
Learning to meditate, however, seems to be very difficult for many people. And for those of us with ADHD, learning to meditate can seem nearly impossible.
Why is that?
Resistance to meditation seems to be quite understandable when we remember that our ADHD brains are extremely committed to trying to establish a tolerable brain chemical balance by gobbling up the most available stimulating thoughts or tasks coming into our consciousness.
Simply trying to notice our breathing or count breaths can feel boring and certainly under-stimulating. If creative, novel, scary, or other stimulating thoughts pop into our minds, our brains automatically grab onto those thoughts and follow them. Then, within a split second we might jump to yet another new thought that might have grown out of the previous thought or that might be brought to mind by something we have just heard or felt.
Sitting in silence, trying to change this firmly established, biologically driven thought process can be very much an uphill battle – and often a losing battle.
But there is an alternative form of meditation you might want to try.
Many with ADHD have been able to experience the wonderful benefits of meditation through using what is called “guided meditation,” a form of meditation in which you listen to the words of a teacher who guides you through your meditation session. The teacher can be live or recorded. You can choose a recorded meditation session that is as short as one minute or one that lasts an hour or more.
There are numerous Apps, YouTube videos, and websites that offer helpful guided meditations. Googling ”guided meditations” will bring up dozens of options, many of which are free or offer free trials or free versions. The app with which I am most familiar is Insight Timer. This app is available in iPhone and Android Versions. It includes hundreds of guided meditations by dozens of meditation teachers including most of the well-known meditation teachers. You can sort the meditations by teacher, by length, etc. Some meditations are specifically designed for reducing tension and anxiety. Others are aimed at deepening one’s mindfulness or spirituality. The broad variety of guided meditations on the Insight Timer app and the numerous supportive tools this app includes, increase the degree to which it holds the attention of many of us distractible ADHDers.