Mindful Living With ADHD: Practical Strategies for Beginners

Living with ADHD can sometimes feel like navigating a chaotic storm of thoughts and impulses. The constant barrage of distractions can make it challenging to find a sense of calm and focus in everyday life. Amidst this turbulence, various holistic practices can help tame the mind. For this article, I will focus on getting started with mindfulness practices.

Understanding Mindfulness and ADHD

ADHD is characterized by difficulty managing and controlling attention, emotions, and impulses. Mindfulness practices can help us become aware of thoughts and feelings and be more aware of the distractions that pull us in many directions. It puts us in the driver’s seat, directing our attention to where we want it to go. We often hear the terms mindfulness and meditation. Let’s explore the differences.

Mindful Living With ADHD: Practical Strategies for Beginners

Mindfulness is about intentionally paying attention to the present moment without judgment and fully accepting one’s experiences. The emphasis is on observing thoughts, emotions, and sensations when they arise without reacting to them or framing them as good or bad. Mindfulness practices can be integrated into everyday activities, such as eating, walking, cooking, and washing dishes.

Meditation involves directing attention inwardly or on an object to cultivate a state of relaxation, heightened awareness, or emotional balance. Formal practice usually consists of sitting or lying in a quiet space and following techniques like breath awareness, visualization, or body scan. The aim is to quiet the mind, deepen concentration, or cultivate certain qualities like self-compassion or gratitude.

Key Differences: Meditation involves focused attention on an object or mental process, while mindfulness emphasizes open awareness of whatever arises in the present moment. Meditation is usually a formal practice with specific techniques, while mindfulness can be informal and integrated into daily life.

Tips For Getting Started

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to mindfulness practices. Experiment with different techniques to find what resonates with you. Here are some ADHD-friendly approaches to consider:

  • Guided Meditation using apps such as Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace or YouTube videos will guide you through a 10 – 15 minute practice to get you started. Take a look at the creative Headspace videos on Netflix for a basic introduction to meditation. 
  • Walking meditation is taking slow, deliberate steps, focusing your attention on your breath and your senses. Try walking outdoors without a headset, taking air into your lungs, listening to sounds, and observing what is in front of you.
  • Body scan meditations are helpful for times when you need to quiet your mind, relax, and fall asleep. This meditation helps calm the restless mind by scanning your body from head to toe.
  • Micro breaks can be taken during the work day to pause and reset your brain. 

Establish a daily practice by setting aside a specific time for your practice, even for 5 – 10 minutes. Consistency helps reinforce the habit and allows you to experience the cumulative benefits of meditation over time.

Accept that your mind will wander, thoughts will arise, and distractions will occur. Instead of becoming frustrated, approach these moments with gentle curiosity and self-compassion. Just pay attention to any of the thoughts that cross your mind. There is no need to resist thoughts or feelings.

Mindfulness practices offer a space for you to go amidst the chaos of our society. You can cultivate greater focus, clarity, and inner peace by embracing mindfulness practices tailored to your needs. Start small, be consistent, and approach your mindfulness practices with an open heart and mind.

Victoria Roche, MSW, PCC

Victoria Roche, MSW, PCC

ADHD Coach and Life Coach, Executive Skills Coach

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