Aly's Angle: Meditation with ADD
I knew that this week's Be Better challenge of meditation was going to be a difficult one for me.I am convinced that meditation is harder for me than it is for most. Why? Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that I was diagnosed with ADD as a child (something I learned only recently). I have never been diagnosed as an adult, but I definitely have ADD tendencies that I deal with daily. It is incredibly hard for me to stay focused on one task (For example, right now I have six different windows open on my computer: a lacrosse schedule, Gmail, Etsy headboards, Groupon travel deals, Mailchimp, Be Better website) That is how my brain works. Therefore, it feels all but impossible to focus on one thing.
Nevertheless, this week's Be Better challenge inspired me to give it a real try. So here is how my meditative journey unfolded this week. It is not pretty, but I gave it my best attempt.
Monday: I downloaded an iPhone app called Simply Being: Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence. This app was really helpful. It mentioned that I didn’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor with amazing posture like I see in the movies, but that I could even lie down if I wanted to. I lay down. It was helpful to hear both the music and a soft-spoken woman's voice guide me through the meditation. In a way it was hilarious, because my thoughts would wander during the meditation, but her voice reminded me to "gently" bring my thoughts back to the meditation. I like the fact that the app gave me permission not to be mad at my mind for not remaining focused.
Tuesday: Driving home on the freeway, I decided to practice deep breathing. It lasted five deep breaths. Then I lost focus and felt anxious. Why does deep breathing do to me exactly the opposite of what it’s supposed to do? It makes me anxious. Same with yoga.
Wednesday: I wanted to listen to the gentle woman’s voice from the iPhone app before bed, while my husband was asleep, so I got my headphones and closed my eyes. Halfway through the 13 minutes, I couldn’t stay awake (I guess it relaxed me), so I took the headphones from my phone and, at full volume, the music and woman’s voice echoed in my bedroom, waking up my husband. I definitely laughed at how out of context that must have been for him . . . from deep sleep to a "creepy" woman's voice telling him – at full volume – to take a deep breath.
Thursday: The meditation asks me to focus on different parts of my body, such as my toes. The second I think about my toes, I find it impossible to keep my toes still and relaxed. I feel this crazy need to move my feet. This stretching sensation consumes me, and all I want to do is adjust my body. I feel like I will explode if I don’t move my feet. Is this normal? To be completely honest, it is super frustrating. The only time I feel like I can keep my body and mind still is when I am taking a nap. Maybe that is why I feel the necessity to take at least a 20-minute power nap every day . . . my mind and body need a break.
Friday: Around 6 p.m. I was sitting with one of the girls whom I coach. Her mother was late picking her up. We sat there on the grass as the sun was setting. I told her, let’s meditate. The best part is that she was completely willing to try it out. We listened to guided meditation while watching the sunset. It was a true instance of being present in the moment. It was a gift and a little glimpse of why mediation is such a blessing.
I have now researched tips to meditation for people diagnosed with ADD.
I love this tip from How to Meditate with ADD: "Many people think meditation means quieting the mind to perfect stillness. But this can be almost impossible, especially for ADD sufferers. Instead, take a mental step back from your thoughts by picturing yourself on a park bench, watching thoughts come by like buses. When you notice the thoughts, think, "Isn't that interesting?" It's easier to separate from them this way.”
Check out this interesting study that talks about Meditation against ADHD.