What Are The Effects Of Mindfulness Meditation On Children And Adults With ADHD? Study Results

For many adults and children, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) brings with it two ongoing daily challenges: attention and self-regulation. The effects of ADHD can negatively impact your productivity, eating habits, sleep, motivation, mood, behavior, relationships, and the ability to be successful at work, school, or in social functions.

While there is no cure for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), medication, therapies, and other mental health treatments, as well as meditation, may help manage symptoms.

Specific approaches to mindfulness meditation that have been found to be effective in treating other conditions have been examined in studies related to ADHD and meditation.

There is more evidence that mindfulness practice can help anyone with ADHD.

Can Meditation Help ADHD? What Is The Research Saying?

Meditation may reduce symptoms associated with ADHD, such as difficulty focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Several studies have investigated the effect of mindfulness meditation on ADHD symptoms in the general population with positive results. The data suggest that meditation promotes improved task-based attention, reduces mental wandering, and regulates emotions. 

Multiple studies have examined mindfulness meditation’s effects on ADHD-like symptoms in the general population – with promising results. The studies indicated that mindfulness meditation was beneficial for fostering and improving focused attention, reducing the state of mind wandering, and regulating emotional states.

A study conducted on high school students, found that the technique is effective in reducing impulsivity and aggression. These findings have been backed up by other studies.

Another evaluation of adults with ADHD found that meditation improved emotional regulation and executive functioning skills, including: self-control, flexible thinking working memory.

Researchers found that mindfulness-based interventions, including meditation, helped reduce ADHD-associated behaviors in 13 studies involving a total of 753 adults.

Some issues affecting the reliability of some studies include high levels of bias small study sizes lack of control groups.

Despite the lack of large, high-quality studies on ADHD and meditation, anecdotal evidence suggests that meditation can be helpful to people with the disorder. Those with ADHD also report that meditation techniques help reduce anxiety, depression, and negative self-talk. Meanwhile, yoga, which emphasizes breathing control and mindfulness, can help those with ADHD stay present and focused.

Still, there is a need for more high-quality studies on meditation and ADHD, according to a systematic review published in 2018.

Zylowska’s Study : The Effect Of Mindfulness Meditation on ADHD   

Psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Lidia Zylowska is the author of two books on mindfulness, Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD (2012) and Mindfulness for Adult ADHD: A Clinician’s Guide (2020). In her book Mindfulness Recipe for Adults with ADHD, you can learn more about how to switch from an ADHD program to an eight-step mindfulness program using the Zylowska study.

It was precisely because researchers found that mindfulness improved nearly every aspect of ADHD’s core deficits that Zylowska and other researchers proposed applying it as a treatment.

“We want to bring a mindfulness mindset to ADHD moments, and ADHD moments happen throughout the day. That’s why informal practice is so valuable.”

Zylowska

According to her groundbreaking 2008 study “”Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents”, eight out of ten participants reported feeling affected by ADHD. The study by Dr. Lidia Zylowska and her team showed that 78 percent of participants with ADHD reduced their symptoms by practicing mindfulness.

The study also showed that this practice improved concentration and concentration span in participants with ADHD.

The Zylowska study did not spark a revolution in mindfulness, but it did capture the attention of people with ADHD and those who work with them. The results of the study of Dr. Lidia ZylOWSKA and her research team did one thing: they led to an increased use of mindfulness as an alternative treatment for ADHD.

It’s not always easy to stay on schedule with meditating, to transition from one activity to another… Think of ways to anchor your attention in more active ways.

Zylowska

As a result of the Zylowska study’s publication, several researchers, clinicians and trainers have become excited about the possibility of mindfulness as a treatment for ADHD. Many are starting to publish exciting studies on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for ADHD.

In addition to these studies, parents and adults with ADHD also continue to provide anecdotal evidence in support of the findings.

The researchers don’t propose mindfulness-based treatment as an alternative to stimulant medications or other lifestyle interventions. ADHD management can never be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s just another tool in the toolbox.

If this seems to be a no-brainer: integrate mindfulness skills as much as possible into their daily lives.

How Can People With ADHD Practice Mindfulness? 

For people with ADHD, there is an infinite variety of meditations, modifications, and workarounds.

In contrast to current standards that exclusively recommend medication for ADHD treatment, meditation and mindfulness focus on helping patients cope with their inner worlds and develop their inner skills.

A good personal ADHD specialist can help you achieve your goals by developing the following skills: 

  • Time management skills 
  • Clear judgment
  • A greater sense of self-efficacy 
  • Better self-esteem and relationships 
  • Motivation Planning and
  • Management skills.

Zylowska agreed that it was important to avoid imposing rigid rules on how to meditate, which often imply that if you can’t do it a certain way, you have failed the experiment. Instead she suggested following your own curiosity about your meditation experience.

A big part of mindfulness practice is activating curiosity about your experience and seeing what works and doesn’t work for me.

Zylowska

ADHD brains crave novelty, stimulation, and excitement. 

Thus, the next time you feel frustrated that you want to scream a cuss word, or you feel so ashamed for making a mistake that you want to cry, give yourself a break instead. Meditation does not have to be boring, even when it’s challenging. With meditation, there’s no right or wrong answer — just whatever calms and centers you.

It’s important to remember that the mindfulness mindset from your training helps you acknowledge that ADHD is just part of who you are. It doesn’t mean you are broken, defective, or wrong. It just means you experience life differently, and maybe that’s exactly how it should be.

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