top of page

Meditation with ADHD. Is it Possible?

Dear Friends,

In my years of being a meditation teacher, I have discovered that anyone can meditate. The benefits of meditation can be experienced by everyone. But what about if you have ADHD? Is meditation possible for you? Well, the good news is yes! In fact, a landmark study conducted at UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) found that people with ADHD who attended a mindfulness meditation session once a week, then engaged with a daily home meditation practice that gradually increased in duration from 5 to 15 minutes over a period of 8 weeks, experienced the benefits of meditation: they were better able to stay focused on tasks, and were less depressed and anxious.

Often people have the misconception that meditation is all about controlling the mind or having no thoughts. This can seem daunting; so daunting in fact, that many people don’t even start to meditate because it seems to them it will be too difficult. But Tantric Meditation is different. It’s more compassionate and accessible. Tantric Meditation is not about constantly striving to stop thoughts; it is more about observing the mind and understanding it. Try this: Visualize a blue sky with clouds gently scudding across it. The sky is your mind, the clouds your thoughts. There is no need to grab the clouds, just watch them as they move across the sky. They will change, move, and eventually dissolve. There is no need to try to possess these clouds or change them or stop them. Just see them for what they are. Simply watch as they do their thing, and in this way, be free of them, and also understand how your mind works.  

Now, there are challenges specific to ADHD that can be useful to consider before beginning a meditation practice. If you have ADHD, please remember to be kind to yourself as you read these challenges. Knowledge is power. Knowledge with kindness is compassion. Be kind to yourself first; this kindness will support you to be steady in your practice of meditation so you can experience its benefits in your life. The fact that you are considering meditation shows that you are willing to look at and address these challenges in your life.

What is a challenge anyway? It is an invitation to improve, to grow. So, if some or even all of the following challenges apply to you, no need to feel discouraged; remember that a regular meditation practice can help to improve some or all of them. To make the list more encouraging, I have listed under each challenge the benefits of meditation that directly counteract and improve these challenges. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it serves to show how meditation will benefit you if you happen to have ADHD.

Let’s go!

  • Inattention: Difficulty paying attention, focusing, and prioritizing.

  • Meditation counteracts inattention by improving focus and clarity of mind. 

  • Hyperactivity: Having too much energy, moving around, or talking too much

  • Meditation counteracts hyperactivity by enhancing our sense of calmness and peace over time, allowing us to be quiet or still without feeling uncomfortable.

  • Impulsivity: Acting without thinking, having difficulty with self-control, or being impatient

  • Meditation counteracts impulsivity by helping us to be aware of our breath and the present moment, which helps us to accept where we are right now.

  • Disorganization: Having trouble keeping track of tasks and responsibilities, sorting out relevant information, and managing time

  • A regular meditation practice counteracts disorganization by adding structure to our day and adds order to our mental processes.

  • Forgetfulness: Frequently forgetting important dates, meetings, or task details, or where you've put something.

  • Mindfulness meditation counteracts forgetfulness by training your mind to be present; when the mind is present, we are more likely to remember things. 

  • Restlessness: Craving a lot of stimulation and excitement.

  • Meditation counteracts restlessness by teaching us to appreciate stillness and calmness in the moment, rather than always looking for stimulation and excitement elsewhere.

Okay, so we’ve explored the challenges. Now, let's experience the benefits of meditation by doing it. Here are some useful tips for meditating with ADHD:

  • Find a comfortable position with your spine gently elongated. Sitting on a chair is fine. So is sitting cross-legged, as long as it is comfortable for you.

  • A simple way to meditate is to close your eyes and gently watch the flow of your breath as it comes in and goes out.

  • Keep your mind spacious and open. Your thoughts will wander, and that’s okay. Just watch the mind, and bring your attention back to your breath.

  • Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself; if you feel the urge to move, stretch, itch, or count, gently do this, and then return to the awareness of the breath.  

  • Set reminders: Put an appointment on your phone or calendar; this will help you make meditation a regular habit.

  • Consider a moving meditation: If you have trouble staying still, you can try a walking or moving meditation; simply walk or move while being aware of your breath.

  • Gently bring your attention back: When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Consider the breath to be your anchor, your home.

  • Practice meditation with a buddy: Having a meditation buddy can help you stick with your practice. Mutual support will help you both stick with your meditation practice so that you can start to experience the many benefits of meditation in your life.

So, is meditation with ADHD possible? Again, a resounding yes! Give meditation a try by working with these tips and experiencing the benefits of meditation for yourself, you’ll be glad you did!


bottom of page