Meditation for ADHD: How It Can Help Alleviate Symptoms

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is one of the most common disorders affecting children. Still, it has a fairly high prevalence among adults as well. This chronic condition typically affects a person’s ability to perform at work or school and impacts other aspects of their lives, like social relationships. Although ADHD can’t be […]

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is one of the most common disorders affecting children. Still, it has a fairly high prevalence among adults as well. This chronic condition typically affects a person’s ability to perform at work or school and impacts other aspects of their lives, like social relationships.

Although ADHD can’t be cured, it can be successfully managed. Effective management strategies include medication and cognitive therapies. Lately, meditation for ADHD has been proposed as a supportive treatment, especially when symptoms of anxiety or depression are present. The relationship between mindfulness meditation and ADHD is probably the most researched one, and a vast body of evidence supports the idea of implementing meditation to assist in the treatment of ADHD.

Understanding ADHD

According to the American Psychiatric Association, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a debilitating and long-lasting condition that affects a person’s ability to function in daily life, social interactions, and both their professional and academic endeavors. Common signs of ADHD are inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. Three types of ADHD are defined and well-described, and they are related to the predominant symptoms a person has. Those three types of ADHD are inattentive, hyperactive, and combined.

Hands in mediation position because ADHD and meditation go well together
If you are struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, try meditation for ADHA and enjoy the results.

Inattentive ADHD Type

Inattentive ADHD is characterized by struggles to stay on task, keep focus, and organize yourself. Dispersed attention and scattered thoughts are common occurrences. To diagnose the inattentive type of ADHD in adults, at least five symptoms from the following list ought to happen frequently:

  • Lack of attention to detail and careless mistakes.
  • Problems with staying focused on an activity, including conversations.
  • Looking as if not listening.
  • Not following through on instructions, coursework, tasks, or chores.
  • Issues with organizing (time management problems, messiness, disorganized work, missing deadlines).
  • Avoidance of disliked tasks, especially when they require mental effort.
  • Frequently losing everyday things, like keys, phones, or wallets.
  • Being easily distracted.
  • Forgetting daily tasks or appointments.

Having the inattentive type of ADHD should not be mixed with other disorders on the AD spectrum, which are also identified with the symptoms listed above. Inattentiveness in this type of ADHD is predominant, meaning hyperactivity is still present but less recurrent.

Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD Type

As with inattentive ADHD, it’s important to keep in mind that the name comes from the prevalent symptom and does not exclude the other side of this disorder. For hyperactive or impulsive ADHD, hyperactivity in the form of excessive energy, constant moving, and talking too much, and impulsivity in the form of actions and decisions taken without thinking of consequences are predominant. Adults diagnosed with hyperactive/impulsive ADHD must show a minimum of five symptoms from the following list:

  • Tapping hands or feet or fidgeting.
  • Squirming in a seat or not being able to stay seated.
  • Running about, even where it’s inappropriate.
  • Being extremely restless or wearing others out with their activity.
  • Always being on the go.
  • Inability to quietly enjoy leisure or work.
  • Talking too much.
  • Conversation interrupting, blurting out answers before asking questions is finished.
  • Having difficulties waiting their turn.
  • Interrupting, intruding on others, or even taking over what they do.

Combined ADHD Type

If both inattentiveness and hyperactivity symptoms are equally present, we are talking about combined ADHD. A person with this type of ADHD will be dealing with challenges imposed by both sides of this disorder and might require more assistance. These two sides can also require different support or the development of different strategies to overcome challenges. However, the alternative treatment in the form of meditation for ADHD develops skills that address both sides of ADHD-related issues.

A man struggling with a mental issue before learning that ADHD and meditation go well together.
Meditation for ADHD has great results, even when other mental issues are present.

ADHD and its Associated Disorders

ADHD is known to have comorbidities. For instance, ADHD and anxiety are often linked. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of worry, tension, and fear, in particular about things that are yet to happen. It is a normal and common state to be in, but when it becomes overpowering and significantly impacts a person’s life, we might be talking about anxiety disorder. ADHD shares feelings of stress and worry with anxiety, which is how some explain the high comorbidity of these two states.

Adult ADHD and depression are also pretty common co-occurrences. Some research suggests that adults with ADHD are more likely to develop depression compared to non-ADHD individuals. ADHD may increase the chances of experiencing depression in more than one way. People with ADHD are more likely to have a negative self-image, low self-esteem, lack of success at school or work, a sense of failure, and relationship problems, all of which can contribute to depression sneaking in.

Less common but still present are comorbidities of anxiety with conduct disorder, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which are more common in people who have ADHD. Sometimes, these disorders can be seen as secondary disorders, as they often develop due to the frustration of coping with ADHD.

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The Intersection of ADHD, Meditation, and Mental Health

Although highly efficient, medications are not always able to manage all the symptoms of ADHD. In efforts to offer additional help, practitioners started exploring alternative treatments such as meditation. Meditation is an ancient practice that slowly found its way into Western culture and only grew in popularity. The positive relationship between ADHD and meditation got scientific confirmation, with more and more research supporting the idea of meditation implementation into more traditional ADHD management practices.

The first meditation practices aimed at improving overall well-being. Some benefits to mental health include reducing negative feelings, helping manage emotions, reducing stress, developing a new perspective when looking at things that cause stress, and improving creativity and patience. Positive emotions emerging due to meditation are helpful when addressing mental issues like PTSD and social anxiety disorder.

Although meditation has many techniques, it always promotes relaxation and mindfulness. As it is all about being present and nonjudgmental, it can be of great help to someone who’s struggling with scattered thoughts, attention, and forgetfulness, all of which are common symptoms of ADHD. Meditation creates a neutral focus, allowing working memory to analyze information more deeply before it gets lost and overcome named symptoms.

The non-judgmental process of dealing with your thoughts can be especially beneficial when those thoughts are intrusive, which is often the case with mental states such as anxiety and depression. Those with dual diagnoses, therefore, can highly benefit from meditation as it addresses both mental issues at the same time. Meditation on its own is, of course, not enough. Still, it has found its well-deserved place in a broader spectrum of options for mental health treatment Fort Lauderdale patients have at their disposal in dual diagnosis programs.

A person practicing meditation for ADHD.
There’s a positive connection between meditation and ADHD, resulting in improved symptoms.

Meditation Techniques That Work for ADHD

No matter the technique, the core idea behind meditation is to create a sense of calm, tranquility, and focus. The focus is what changes, ranging from breathing to words to your thoughts and feelings. There are a few techniques that can be beneficial for those struggling with ADHD.

  • Guided meditation: This technique is also known as guided imagery, as it involves creating mental images of things, people, or places that help you feel relaxed. A person can rely on different senses, like smell or sight, to create a mental image. Usually, a guide or a teacher guides a person through this process.
  • Mantra meditation: This type of meditation focuses on a calming word or phrase (mantra) that a person repeats to distract themselves from unwanted thoughts.
  • Mindfulness meditation: As the name suggests, this type of meditation is about mindfulness, or awareness of the present and what a person feels at that particular moment. The link between ADHD and meditation was most closely examined for this particular type of meditation.
Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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Mindfulness Meditation and ADHD

Mindfulness-based meditation is part of the third wave of behavioral therapy. It’s typically described as a psychological process of focusing nonjudgmental attention on a person’s experience in the present moment. Skills developed through mindful meditation are nonreactivity, observation, acting, and describing with awareness.

Mindfulness training and treatments for addressing different mental states or elevating mental well-being are well-researched and are finding support among both scientists and practitioners. Comparative studies conclude that mindfulness training has a positive impact on attention regulation, executive functioning, and emotion regulation, all of which are struggles for someone with ADHD.

Mindfulness meditation addresses both the symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity.

  • Attention deficit: Mindful meditation involves focusing attention on a certain object and returning to it when one gets distracted, improving attention control abilities. This practice later helps people pay attention to rules and spot possible conflicts, which, in general, improves how rules are followed.
  • Hyperactivity: Mindfulness meditation requires focus, which is a struggle for people with ADHD, who tend to experience predominately hyperactive symptoms like an inability to stay still, a constant drive to move, or fidgeting. The practice alone teaches a person to remain calm and to focus on the task at hand, improving their hyperactivity symptoms.

Additionally, mindfulness meditation and ADHD are linked via emotional regulation, as mindfulness practice helps you regulate emotions, which can be a challenge for people with ADHD. Mindfulness teaches a person to non-judgmentally observe their own emotional state as a passing phenomenon to which they can be nonreactive. This develops strategies to deal with impulsivity and its related problems.

Practical Tips for Integrating Meditation into ADHD Management

Research suggests that incorporating as little as 20 minutes of mindful meditation a day significantly improves attention task performance for people with ADHD. Knowing that incorporating new habits can be a challenge, especially for someone struggling with ADHD, we provide you with a few tips on how to integrate meditation into your life.

  • Scheduling the practice: Consistency is important, and to address it, schedule your 15-20 minutes of meditation a day or choose days that work for you and that you wish to commit to. Book it in your calendar or set reminders to help you stay on track.
  • Choosing a suitable place: You wish to feel comfortable while meditating, and it starts with finding a good place for this activity. It might be a corner of your room or a place outside, like a garden or even a forest. It is essential to feel safe. Having a place designated for meditation can also serve as a cue and, with time, trigger feelings of calm.
  • Finding a comfortable position: A position in which you feel relaxed is part of the comfort you want to feel while meditating. The so-called lotus position is stereotypically connected with meditation, but new approaches suggest choosing whatever works for you, including movement.
  • Minimizing distractions: When choosing either time or place to meditate, it is important to also bear in mind what can act as a distractor. Choose to leave your phone in another room so notifications won’t distract you. Minimize the presence of electronics or other potential stimuli. It will help you stay focused, especially in the beginner’s stage of meditation incorporation.
  • Focusing on breathing: Mindfulness promotes focus on your feelings and thoughts, but it might be challenging if you’re only beginning to practice meditation. Instead, focus on your breathing. There are several techniques for it, so choose the one that works for you. When distractions occur, or your mind starts wandering, just return the focus to breathing correctly.
  • Pairing up: Sometimes, you need a company to stay on track. Pair up with someone or choose a meditation group. This helps with commitment and provides you with a companion with whom you can share your thoughts and progress.

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A bonus tip for how to meditate with ADHD and anxiety

Anxiety combined with ADHD can result in restlessness and difficulties staying still, as well as the mind wandering off towards things that worry us. A practical tip to address this is to start by practicing mental focus rather than wasting energy trying to sit in one place. A practical suggestion would be to meditate while walking. Walking helps with issues of staying in one place, and thoughts are steered away from anxiety triggers by shifting focus on your feet and how they feel on the ground.

Learning how to meditate with ADHD and anxiety offers double benefits, as it not only addresses and offers relief from ADHD symptoms but also reduces stress hormones in situations that cause anxiety.

A group of people learning how to meditate with ADHD and anxiety
People can learn how to meditate with ADHD and anxiety.

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Resources and Support for ADHD

It’s not easy to manage the symptoms of ADHD, and meditation can help with that. Although you are well acquainted with the benefits of meditation for ADHD, you might not know where or how to start. The ADHD Treatment Center Florida offers comprehensive and well-rounded support for people with ADHD and their families. We Level Up Tamarac FL can be your partner and assist you with getting the best out of this alternative approach to treating ADHD and comorbid issues like depression and anxiety. Dual-diagnosis treatment is one of our specialties, and we are confident about finding the right sort of approach for you.

To help you get the support you need, we provide Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida Mental Health Coverage, Aetna Mental Health Coverage, and other insurance options. So make sure to contact our representatives and find out how we can assist you.

Relieve the symptoms of ADHD with meditation

Although at times challenging, ADHD is a manageable condition. In addition to traditional medical ways of treating it, behavioral treatment in the form of meditation for ADHD is gaining support and is being highly recommended as a supplementary treatment. Not only does it help deal with ADHD, but it also elevates symptoms of disorders such as anxiety, making it a great assistant in dual-diagnosis treatments.

Following simple tips can help you incorporate meditation for ADHD into your everyday life. However, if you feel overwhelmed or insecure about starting on your own, looking for professional help at We Level Up Tamarac FL can set you on the right track and help you get the most out of this mindful practice.

Meditation for ADHD FAQs

What’s the link between mindfulness meditation and ADHD?

Research and practice find a positive relationship between meditation and ADHD, with mindful meditation being the most beneficial. This means that practicing meditation helps manage the symptoms of ADHD.

How effective is meditation for ADHD?

Incorporating as little as 20 minutes a day, a few times a week, is proven to be impactful and beneficial for both symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. The most obvious changes are increased focus on tasks and better emotion regulation.

How does meditation for ADHD work?

Meditation for ADHD promotes and practices self-control, nonjudgment, and acceptance. Changes in neural pathways were discovered, serving as proof of meditation’s positive impact on both the body and mind.

How to meditate with ADHD and anxiety?

You might struggle before you learn how to meditate with ADHD and anxiety, and the struggle might come from being exposed to stress and worry triggers. Mindful meditation decreases stress hormones, which benefits anxiety as well. If you feel insecure about meditation due to your dual diagnosis, seeking assistance, especially in the beginning, can offer the relief you are looking for. You can also try meditation while walking instead of sitting in place.

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Search We Level Up Tamarac FL for Meditation for ADHD Topics & Resources

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Mitchell, J.T., Zylowska, L. and Kollins, S.H. (2015). Mindfulness Meditation Training for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adulthood: Current Empirical Support, Treatment Overview, and Future Directions. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, [online] 22(2), pp.172–191. doi:

National Institute of Mental Health (2023). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. [online] Available at:

Verywell Mind. (n.d.). Do You Have ADHD, Depression, or Both? [online] Available at: