Meditation and ADD

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Meditation and ADD 2011-11-24T15:17:21+00:00
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  • #90223
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    Anonymous
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    I just found Buddhism, and and engage in meditation several times a week. I find that meditation helps me focus my thoughts, and be less scatter brained. The hurdle I have yet to get over, is being able to apply that calmness to the rest of my daily activities. This will probably come with practice.

    Just wonder if any one else out there with ADD/ADHD find that meditation helps them. For personal reasons I’m opposed to taking medication unless it’s absolutely needed, so I’m trying to control my ADD with holistic methods.

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    #109834
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    Wgreen
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    Somehow, ADD meditation seems counterintuitive. I mean, how can people who have a hard time remembering what they did ten seconds ago focus intensely on some mantra for an extended period of time?? If we could do that, we wouldn’t suffer from… attention deficit, would we? But then, maybe you’re on to something. Let us know how it goes.

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    #109835
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    Anonymous
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    Drfergus………I believe meditative practice will pay you benefits in many many ways. Brain training, and or thought management, what ever you want to call it, is never a wasted endeavor in my opinion.

    I believe there is so much more out there than prescription medicine, or “prescriptions alone” maybe more accurate…..not a knock on meds…..just sayin’.

    Toofat

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    #109836
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    Anonymous
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    >>Somehow, ADD meditation seems counterintuitive. I mean, how can people who have a hard time remembering what they did ten seconds ago focus intensely on some mantra for an extended period of time??<<

    the idea of meditation is less maintaining focus for an extended period of time, and more being mindful in each particular moment. most “beginners” meditation practice fully acknowledges that the mind wanders in thought, because it was built (in part) to think. I have heard meditation explained as learning to “watch” our thoughts so it becomes possible to make choices in how we respond to them.

    Thich Nhat Hanh writes that the gift of mindfulness is available to us in each new moment, even when we don’t necessarily have a sitting meditation practice, all we have to do is become aware of our breath. the idea is that moment by moment, if we’re willing to accept “failure” and keep practicing, it gets much easier over time.

    that being said, drfergus, those periods when I have made time in my life to carry a breathing practice I have found it extraordinarily helpful and calming, but it’s been at least about a year since then.

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    #109837
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    Anonymous
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    I’m a long-term meditation and yoga practitioner and teacher, was told I have textbook ADHD but as it turns out, that diagnosis, which is probably true to some extent, is overshadowed by a recent diagnosis of narcolepsy. – similar symtoms, similar treatment.

    There are quite a number of different practices and techniques in meditation, different schools of practice, different schools of Buddhist thought, etc. I myself have practiced zen for many years, as well as mindfulness (Jon Kabat-Zinn) and Tibetan practices.

    One of the basic (and also more advanced) practices is to focus attention on the breath. In Tibetan Buddhist practice, this is called shamatha (sham-at-a). The purpose is to develop stability in attention by focusing on a specific object (or mantra, for example) and the “goal” is to develop the ability to maintain this focus for longer and longer periods of time. It’s taught as a beginner’s practice but it is also a very advanced practice. It’s very portable since the breath is always with us, no special equipment required :-)

    Another is the mindfulness practices that LSA is referring to. It’s different than shamatha, but also good practice. It can be easily carried over into everyday life by trying to be mindful of little events, for example, walking meditation can be a mindfulness practice where you are mindful of every little movement as you lift and move your foot. Or, as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests, stopping when the phone rings and taking a few breaths and being mindful before you answer it.

    There are also much more advanced practices like zen koan practice or complex visualization practices. Practice can be endless.

    One of the hazards of practice is wanting to stay in that calm, quiet place. That’s not how life is! Life is messy, complicated, sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful. So what can be very useful is to be comfortable with all of the emotional and physical and mental experiences of your life. Meditation can help provide space for you to embrace all of that, and, as LSA says, perhaps make a different choice than you might have if you were more reactive.

    Getting back to ADHD issues (and in my case, narcolepsy) – meditation was not enough. I require meds in order to be alert and aware. But now that my health issue is stabilized, I feel that I can work more deeply on meditative practices. It’s like driving through a blinding snowstorm, you can barely see, and it’s all you can do to stay alert and on the road (pre-meds). Now I am out of the snowstorm, not that there won’t be more turbulent weather, but I’m in a much better position to navigate my life. And I’m looking forward to diving more deeply into practice.

    So good for you! Keep working.

    I hope that’s helpful.

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    #109838
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    munchkin
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    I always thought of medition like conditioning your brain to tune out all the floods of information from outside of you, be completely in the moment, and allow the mind to be awake without processing a bunch of stuff. Kind of like when you have too many programs open on your computer. You need to shut the programs down and just “be” for a few minutes so your mind can catch up with the background tasks like breathing, digesting, etc.

    For example with physical excercise, you don’t do it because you need to right now, you do it all the time, so when you need your body to work, it will be in good condition.

    So if you actually learn about meditation and practice it until you have some amount of skill, it will be there for you when you need it. I suppose that it excercises your executive function, because you have to make a conscious effort to shut down all the things you are thinking about and keep them out for a short period of time. I’ve always sucked at it – can’t maintain a quiet mind for very long. But, when I start putting in the time to challenge myself, and increase the amounts of time I can stay “uncluttered,” I feel like it reaps rewards.

    I feel it helps me to carry less stress, be less impulsive, less worrisome, more loving, more grateful. It’s another one of those tools I never remember to work on – haha :)

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    #109839
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    Bill
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    There have been other discussions about meditation / self-hypnosis, etc. I, for one, have found self-hypnosis very helpful.

    http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=351 – Hypnotherapy and ADD

    http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=1138 – Free relaxation recordings

    http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=1106 – Sleep. Sweet, deep sleep.

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    #109840
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    Anonymous
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    Actually there is a meditation practice where you expand your awareness to include everything, all sensory input, etc plus. It’s a challenging practice.

    It’s impossible to shut out thoughts – the thought of keeping them out is a thought. But it’s possible to include them in your awareness and not believe them or act on them! Practices including emotions (like the above) make that a bit easier.

    I agree, one of the benefits of practicing when things are going well is that practice (or techniques) are available to you when things are rough. I taught my late mom some breathing techniques (a combination of pranayama and breath awareness) and it was really helpful for her when she had panic attacks. She would tell me over the phone “I remembered to do my breathing”. Sometimes that’s all you can do, but it is extremely helpful.

    Hypnosis never worked for me, I gather it is helpful for some.

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    #109841
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    Anonymous
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    I can’t meditate like regular people – I’m too impatient. However, since I’ve discovered the link between emotions and thinking (you can’t think when your emotions are in control) and my emotions (when not regulated by medication) generally have two settings (off and full blast) I discovered a compromise. I try to imagine myself as a “Vulcan” from the “Star Trek” TV series and concentrate on bringing my emotions under control so that my “logical” self has control.

    I simply close my eyes and relax, willing the emotions to fade. It’s not perfect, (sometimes things get so intense that I can’t even remember to try and relax) but it does seem to work for me. Maybe some of you can gain something from it too.

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    #109842
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    Anonymous
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    I like it, gameguy.

    I do a similar practice although I don’t will the emotions to fade, I just try to stay fully connected to them, completely aware rather than ignoring or suppressing them. They aren’t permanent anyways, so there will always be a beginning, a peak and an end (and perhaps it will start right back up again). I just don’t know when the end will happen, maybe 5 minutes, a day, a year…..

    It’s that gap that you’re creating, the pause between emotion and reaction, that gives you choice. So if you’re angry, instead of just dumping the anger or repressing it, you have a choice. My teacher says “it might be the right decision to yell at someone in anger, but at least you’ve made the choice and are prepared to accept the consequences”.

    I would like to be able to feel the subtle beginnings of anger arising in my body and mind, it’s difficult because it gets stirred up so quickly, like a tempest at time!

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    #109843
    Rick Green - Founder of TotallyADD
    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
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    Tons of evidence that Meditation is calming, soothing and unleashes energy. The little I’ve done of it, even just pausing now and then through the day to take a deep breath, or take two or, god help me, three deep breaths with my eyes closed when I’m finished something, or when I’m stuck, well, it’s amazing.

    I can get into the zone and I’m sure hours go by and I don’t blink or breathe very deeply. My whole upper body is kind of frozen, except my fingers which are a blur on the keyboard. The eyes closed, deep breath, sit back… Good stuff.

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    #109844
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    caper
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    Another thumbs up on the mediation & mindfulness from me. It helps calm the emotional part of the brain. I also try to use it when I feel myself getting stressed; then I don’t loose my temper as often. I was doing it long before I was diagnosed with ADHD, and combined with meds it gets me close to a “normal” temper.

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    #109845
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    Anonymous
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    I guess the problem, as I see it, is when one’s impulsiveness (and dare I say it, pigheadedness) has gotten one in so deep that meditation seems like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. I can even recognize that I should put the brakes on, but there’s the constant, “don’t worry, I know it’ll work this time” that keeps me on the one-way express-train to tantrum-ville.

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    #109846
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    Anonymous
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    gameguy, I’m finding it’s a lot easier with the help of meds regarding impulse control. I have had that experience too, of knowing I was heading for a rage, and letting it out. But lately, I am more aware that I’m just getting more and more frustrated, and know that rage is building, and that I should be careful – shutting the computer off is a good idea, stay away from busy traffic, don’t answer the phone, don’t engage in conversation, or if I do any of those activities, slow it down so I’m not so reactive or bring much more awareness to what I’m doing and fully experience it. Practice has been helpful for that, but it’s a slow process, with lots of ups and downs. Some days are easy, other days are more difficult, just like life.

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    #109847
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    Gryffindork
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    Meditation is extremely helpful. There are many different types of meditation. Focusing on the breath is simple & beneficial for calming the mind because the mind and the breath are closely related. Trying to hold a single object (thought) in the mind is good focus training.

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