By Alexandra Fodor
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. But it wasn’t until I started a serious meditation practice that I was able to work on my debilitating ADHD symptoms.
Meditation is as Hard as You Think It Is
I started my meditation practice exactly two years ago. Let me tell you, it was frustrating in the beginning. I remember trying to focus on my breath. The ticking of the clock was like 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.” Monkey-brain, I had. 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.
Taming the Monkey-Brain
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.
The Magic of Better Focus
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 to be 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.
It’s So Much Better When You’re Not Alone
That’s my motivation behind creating a support group of fellow ADDA members who want to meditate. I want to create a safe space where anyone can discover and learn about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. It’s a chance to learn about benefits of mindfulness meditation. But more, it’s a chance to use outside accountability to help establish this difficult, but life-changing habit.
Every Bad Thing You Think, and Every Good Thing You’ve Heard… It’s True
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 it is 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 a turn-off for some. They may 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. Their justification is that they “can’t sit down and stay still.” And they’re right! This is all very normal when you start. We all know it is impossible to sit in front of a piano, and just start playing! We practice for years before we become good at it. The same is true for meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation for Adults with ADHD is WORTH IT
Today, after two 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. 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.
Alexandra Fodor is an accountant/CPA by training. She also owns a creative business, Urban Samba, in Milwaukee, WI (which helps her keep her sanity!) She creates unique houseplant arrangements in upcycled ceramic and glass pots. Learn more here: Instagram.com/urbansamba/