Facilitator: Alexandra Fodor, Mark Taylor
Session day and frequency: Weekly, on Saturdays
Session Time: 6 pm ET / 5 pm CT / 4 pm MT / 3 pm PT
Session length: 90 minutes
Dates: April 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, May 6, 13, 20 & 27, June 3, 10, 17 & 24, July 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 Aug 5, 12, 19 & 26 Sept 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 Oct 7, 14, 21 & 28 Nov 4, 11, 18 & 25 (No Meeting) Dec 2, 9, 16, 23 (No Meeting) & 30 (No Meeting)
We know how hard it is for ADHDers to meditate. We’ve been there. It’s boring, it’s frustrating, it’s mind-boggling. And yet, research shows that it’s really good for us. Getting things done is easier with a friend, even meditating.
Mindfulness helps to control and train our attention, increase self-awareness, regulate emotions, and lower anxiety and impulsivity.
Recent studies have shown that people with higher levels of awareness have higher levels of well-being and positive emotions.
This support group is for anyone who would like to learn more about the many benefits of mindfulness meditation. Additionally, we’ll provide support for establishing this life-changing habit and teach you how to meditate with ADHD.
For the meditation practice, we’ll be using the Waking Up App created by neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. https://wakingup.com/
While the sessions build on each other, we encourage you to join in at any time in this series.
Mindfulness is a very simple practice of focusing on our breath, and bringing our attention back to it whenever our mind wanders. I call it “bicep-curls for the brain.” Sam Harris does an excellent job at providing guidance, and this app has worked wonders for me. There is additional high-quality content in the app that I regularly enjoy listening to. That said, there are many great meditation apps in the marketplace. I would encourage you to check them out and use what works best for you.
If you would like to try the Waking Up App, here’s a link for a free one-month subscription.
The yearly subscription costs $100 in the U.S. (in other regions, the price may differ). If you would like to use the app but truly cannot afford it, please request a free account. While the Waking Up App operates a business, they believe that money should never be the reason why someone can’t gain access to Waking Up.
Join us on Saturdays. Find your flow with a little help from your tribe.
Group Leader Information
Alexandra Fodor – BIO
“My name is Alexandra. I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 41, which seemed way too late in life to justify desperation. Therapy was eye-opening, and taught me a thing or two, and I’m forever grateful to my two wonderful therapists for that. But it wasn’t until I started a serious meditation practice that I was able to work on my debilitating ADHD symptoms. This was when I was really able to start applying what I learned in CBT.
I started my meditation practice exactly three years ago. The seed was planted in my mind by my second therapist, who had ADD. She told me that mindfulness was the most beneficial tool to manage her symptoms. As a coincidence, a friend of mine told me about the Waking Up app at the same time, and I decided to give it a try.
Let me tell you, it was frustrating in the beginning. I remember trying to focus on my breath, while the ticking of the clock pushed tiny stabs into my brain. And in a fraction of a second, my mind wandered to a faraway land. If it wasn’t for the voice of the guide bringing my attention back, I would wander in that land of thoughts forever.
Novice meditators are said to have the “monkey-brain,” and monkey-brain, I had. Millions of flying monkeys, actually. They kept popping up left and right, while I was sitting there, restless. Sounds familiar?
It was extremely difficult to establish a routine as well. I tried to remember to meditate daily, but I’d forget to practice for an entire week. Starting again after a week was torture. Then I had a genius idea: I set a daily alarm to remind me to practice. But when I heard the alarm, I would snooze it until I got sick of it and turned it off.
Yet, I continued the grind, meditating whenever I could bring myself to do it. After about 25 days of practicing only 10 minutes at a time, the magic began to happen. I noticed my focus sharpened. I was able to tune out distractions while focusing on a task.
I remember trying to add a long list of items on a calculator while a person talked to me. I had never been able to tune out such distractions before. But this time, it was different. It was a success. That magical moment pushed my motivation to the next level.
Then, I had another genius idea: I asked a friend to be my accountability partner. This proved the final blow to the stubborn forgetfulness of my ADHD mind. Finally, my practice became more regular. I no longer snoozed the alarm. Outside accountability cemented my daily habit.
That’s my motivation behind creating a group of fellow ADDA members who are curious about mindfulness. In this support group, anyone can discover the practice of mindfulness meditation. It’s a chance to learn about its many benefits, but more, it’s a chance to use outside accountability to help establish this difficult, but life-changing habit.
I know how hard it is for ADHDers to meditate. I’ve been there. It’s boring. It’s frustrating. It’s mind-boggling. And yet, research shows that it is really good for us. Mindfulness helps to control and train our attention. It increases self-awareness. It helps us regulate emotions. It can even lower anxiety and impulsivity.
The word “meditation” can be off-putting for some. They think it’s spiritual nonsense. I used to think that too. Now, I see it as “bicep curls for the brain.” Some people swear they can’t meditate. They can’t just sit down and stay still. Of course! This is all very normal in the beginning. We all start with the monkey-brain, but little by little, we end up taming it. The other typical misconception is that you need to meditate for hours, while sitting cross legged on the floor. What if I told you that it’s not the case? You can practice mindfulness for just 10 minutes a day, or even 5, sitting or walking, while standing on the line, stopping at a red light, washing dishes, or folding laundry. Yep! Even the laundry.
We all know it is impossible to sit in front of a piano, and just start playing. We practice for years and years before we become good at it. The same is true for meditation. We just need to adjust our expectations.
Today, after a few years of tough grind, my mind is in a completely different state. It’s a magical, quiet and peaceful place. It’s a place I had never known. It’s far from perfect, but I can turn off my constant stream of thoughts. I can focus on my breath for longer stretches at a time. Not for hours, but for a couple of seconds, and that’s already huge. I am less impulsive, and I can curb the constant urge to talk. I am calmer, more patient, and I can regulate my emotions better. I no longer frantically look for my phone, keys, or purse – I remember where I put them! Seems superhuman, doesn’t it?
All the things I thought I couldn’t do are now possible. And the only difference between my mind yesterday and my mind today is simply this: PRACTICE.”
Mark Taylor – BIO
My name is Mark, and I can say that the last 4 years have been a journey unparalleled in my lifetime. In the latter half of 2017 annoyed at the lack of satisfactory treatment for my severe depression, I went to a men’s health clinic. After a two-hour consult, I had an action plan. Rule out a sleeping disorder as these can disrupt your moods the Doctor said. I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Next on the list was a trip to a psychiatrist to primarily review my medication and see if a revision was required. After an hour-long session, MRI (I have a brain!), bloods and heart monitoring I returned for another session. Questionnaires and some fascinating questions and he looked at me, and said I’ve concluded, based on your history and the lack of anything organic in your diagnostic tests, you have type 1 bipolar disorder. We need to develop a plan, a document which covers all your care from medication up to hospitalization.
I walked away from that session feeling numb. Halfway between the clinic and the train station, I sobbed. On the train I looked at the prescription for Lithium and I sobbed. The next day I filled the script at my pharmacy and my life forever changed. I slowly began to feel a stability that I had never felt before. When I saw my psychiatrist again, he reviewed my progress favorably and he looked at me, and quietly said, ‘Mark, I think you should consider trying the practice of meditation and mindfulness’. Usually, this is where I scan the room for the nearest window to gaze out of and loose myself in. His room only had a door, at my back. My ears pricked up when he said “Then he said there is scientific evidence of the benefits. There are some pretty good apps which guide you through it, like headspace”.
Sure, enough I scoured the medical literature, and found a range of studies, whilst small, they added up to something. I downloaded headspace and began a whole new path of my life. I have learnt walking meditation which I find particularly soothing. The next year or so goes well. I am stable and can reflect on what a hypomanic and manic event is. A year and a half later and I visit my psychiatrist with a large cup of coffee. It’s a 4pm meeting and he asked me about the Coronavirus. Twenty minutes later, I finished. He leant over to me slightly and said ‘have you ever noticed how you tend to follow your interests?’ I nodded. He asked me how many cups of coffee I had that day. I stared at the roof saying this was my 8th. Two meetings later, including a discussion with mum, and I have some new letters to add to my name, ADHD. I learnt much after that. One startling thing is that people get diagnosed at 52! I think we all go through a similar process as we come to terms with a new situation to deal with. Well, I was not doing at all well. I was feeling so many feelings; baffled, upset, annoyed, irritable and moody. I decided to pull myself together and research it on the net. That’s where I found my twin saviors, Jess McCabe and ADDA! I have not looked back since. I have met the most amazing, beautiful people, all unique, all diverse, all molded by a few letters. I have even joined the meditation group, which is perfect.
I have found at times, in the quiet after mediation my mind will wander. One day I found myself reflecting on my work life. Many years in the healthcare sector, Hospital Pharmacies, Clinical Trials, quality assurance, Regulatory and Medical Affairs in the corporate sector. Through this work, I have impacted many lives for the better. All with Bipolar Type 1 and ADHD. Now I know, I must have been following my interests!
Who knows what my mind will ponder around my next quiet moment?