Friday, February 20, 2009

Meditation for ADHD

According to two new studies, meditation shows great promise as a new treatment of ADHD for adolescents and adults.

A George Washington University study involving middle school children revealed that regular meditation reduced ADHD by 50 percent. In this study, published this month in the “Current Issues in Education” journal, middle school children with ADHD practiced transcendental meditation twice daily. Teachers reported they were better able to teach and students were better able to learn because the students were less stressed and anxious.

Said study leader Sarina Grosswald, a cognitive learning specialist from George Washington University; "What's significant about these new findings is that among children who have difficulty with focus and attention, we see the same results. TM doesn't require concentration, controlling the mind or disciplined focus. The fact that these children are able to do TM, and do it easily shows us that this technique may be particularly well suited for children with ADHD."

Researchers of a second study, “Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents with ADHD” found that a whopping 78 percent reported reduced ADHD symptoms. Additionally, adults in the study reported significant reductions in depressive and anxiety symptoms. In this study, published in “Journal of Attention Disorders,” participants attended eight weekly training sessions and also participated in at-home meditation practice.

Meditation, in a sense, helps develop "mental muscles." With meditation, you focus only on breathing in and out. When thoughts arise, label your thoughts as "thinking", gently push the thoughts aside and go back to your breath. The process of noticing thoughts, labeling them and returning attention back to the breath helps you acknowledge that the mind will wander, but that you don't always have to follow those thoughts. You can remain focused.

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