I always laugh when people say, “Live in the moment!”
“Live in the moment” is not always good advice.
We with ADHD struggle to pause in the moment, which is frustrating, because this is when we most need to pause.
We tend to be reactive to our environment and circumstances.
If you had told me two years ago that meditation would help me to pause and manage my emotions in the moment, I would have laughed even harder.
In my mind, meditation was for people who burned incense, did hot yoga, and wore white all the time.
Not that I have anything against yoga, I actually like it. But I gravitate toward heavier physical movement.
Probably because of the dopamine and feel good chemicals?
ADHD is often characterized by the inability to slow down our thoughts, so for many of us the idea of sitting still and closing our eyes for even a minute is stressful.
I wrote a review of The Mindfulness Prescription for ADHD, and I still highly recommend this book as a way to understand how you can start a meditation practice. (affilitate link, please see my full disclosure.)
I also recommend you try all of the free apps, because guidance makes it sooo much easier in the beginning.
Meditating doesn’t happen for me every single day, I just want to be honest about that.
But this is what I know to be true: If you spend just one minute doing something to quiet your mind, you will be better able to move forward and do what needs to be done.
And that is the definition of living in the moment!
Meditation and ADHD: the best way to live in the moment
notice when you need a minute
No really, I figured out pretty early on that I needed to start noticing when I was spiraling in order to get a handle on it.
Here are some examples everyday of things that might*** require you to calm yourself down:
– Your child is moving at a snail’s pace getting out the door
– You are late to work
– You forget an appointment/meeting
– A friend rebuff’s your attempts at communication
– You fail a test or your idea gets shot down
– Your partner is annoyed with you
– Someone doesn’t return your call
– You are feeling insecure or self-critical
– You lock your keys in the car, or lock yourself out of the house
– The dog poops on the floor
– The cat vomits on your bed (Yes this has happened to me.)
choose a simple one minute meditation from the list below to get you started.
Square breathing (stolen from Carol Dweck)
Repeat this for 1 minute. Or as long as you like.
Breathe in to a count of 4, hold the air in for a count of 4.
Breathe out to a count of 4, hold breath for count of 4.
Count your breaths
Breathe in to a count of 2, out to a count of 3.
Breathe in to a count of 4, out to a count of 5.
Go up to at least 8. It works!
Body Part Meditation
I made this one up myself as a short version of the body scan.
Either seated or lying down, concentrate on some part of your body.
I often use my nose. Concentrate on the sensations in that part of your body. The air moving, the coldness outdoors, any itchiness.
I hear this works well with your feet, too. Set a time for just one minute.
Infinity Sign Meditation (stolen from James Ochoa)
Print out or draw an infinity sign on a piece of paper.
For one minute, trace the sign with your eyes or even your finger. Don’t worry about your breathing just trace the infinity sign.
This is really great for calming down that wild amygdala. James did it with a group at CHADD last year and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Trace your hand
My friend Jennie Friedman gave me this one, and it is fantastic.
Take a moment to look at the palm of your hand. Using your index finger from the opposite hand, trace upward on the thumb while inhaling. As you come down the other side of the thumb exhale.
Go up each side of every finger, and then back again.
This is exactly what it sounds like.
Sit still and try to breathe air into your belly, expanding it as much as possible.
If you need to, place a hand on your belly and feel it move in and out. Kids like this one!
Even Deepak Chopra says you only need one minute! AND, you don’t have to close your eyes and assume the position we all associate with meditation.
Meditate privately, for yourself, and nobody has to know!
Here is a 3 minute meditation from Deepak Chopra that I also like.
Check out youtube – you can find some good stuff on there.
Life gets crazy with ADHD, part of living your best life is finding the things that can help you in the moment.
If you spend just one minute doing something to quiet your mind, you will be better able to move forward and do what needs to be done.