I admit it, I was a skeptic about mindfulness for ADHD women. Well I was a skeptic about mindfulness in general. So like any good research nerd I set out to learn more.
In one 2008 study 78% of participants who practiced mindful awareness reported a reduction in their ADHD symptoms. In fact, at the end of the study the majority of participants were happy happy they had completed the training. Source
When I first heard the word Mindfulness all I could think of was hippies, yoga and chanting. I took it upon myself to look up the actual definition of the word so I could translate it for all of us.
Mindfulness.org defines mindfulness as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Link to mindfulness.org
This definition brings 3 things to mind for me:
Mindfulness encourages us to stay in the moment.
Calmness is the key to mindfulness. (This part is gonna be harder for me.)
Awareness of your own feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations is important.
Mindfulness could be applied in almost any area of your life.
For example, you can be mindful of your eating if you are trying to lose weight. You might want to be mindful of your body sensations if you are recovering from surgery or an injury.
Some people would argue that meditation and mindfulness could speed your recovery. I remember when my mother had her knee replacement they offered her meditation and aromatherapy to help. From what I can tell she liked it.
If you can follow along in a yoga class, you can practice being more mindful.
No it’s not easy, but it is possible.
Mindfulness for ADHD women is possible, and it might help reduce your symptoms.
mindfulness for ADHD Women
Negative thought patterns
In my article about emotional management I mentioned what I called NTP’s, or negative thought patterns.
You and I both have negative thoughts so why not begin being more mindful of them?
If you listen to your inner voice, you might find that your thoughts are even more negative than you realized. This is totally normal, and you can work through this.
We also work on reframing negative thought patterns in my private support group, The ADHD Enclave.
Along those same lines, why not be more mindful and aware of the behavior patterns in your day.
For example, I almost always have to make multiple trips in and out of the garage as I race out of the house in the morning. Maybe instead of yelling, “Sh-t!” at the top of my lungs, I should just take a deep breath.
What would happen if you committed to the same evening routine every night?
You would do the same tasks in the same order at almost the same time every day. Eventually, you would start to complete your evening routine without even thinking about it.
This would be an example of a good habit. In order to form good habits we have to be aware of the bad ones. Mindfulness is a good way to assess your personal patterns and look for areas that need work.
Mindfulness can (and probably should) extend into your relationships with other people. I try to choose my words carefully in my interpersonal and professional relationships. As you are likely aware, not everyone does this.
If you have ADHD you have probably experienced the embarrassment that follows an “inserting foot into mouth” situation. We do have a tendency to speak without thinking don’t we?
When your mind is racing and you are waiting for a chance to speak try to slow yourself down before you respond.
The words and intonation you use when you speak with other people is so very important. We should all spend more time concentrating on how we use language.
Many women with ADHD have impulse control problems when it comes to food. I have written about my struggle with eating and body image.
I have been thinking a lot lately about what exactly drives the impulse to eat. I don’t understand the science of it, but I do know I am not always physically hungry when I eat. From what I read it is a complicated chemical process involving several hormones with strange names like grehlin.
Lets challenge ourselves to practice mindful eating.
We want to eat when we’re hungry and reject food if we’re not.
Since mindfulness involves awareness of your physical sensations, we need to stop and try to feel the sensations of our stomach. Appetite is different than hunger. Are you really physically hungry? Or are you emotionally hungry?
When you are really, physically hungry you know it.
Ways to get started with mindfulness
Learning to practice mindfulness doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is certainly possible. It is something we can all incorporate into our lives in small doses every day.
You do not have to be heavy into yoga or meditation. We just have to be in tune with ourselves, our bodies and our perceptions of the world.
Try starting with small five minute quiet times at a specific time every day.
Download Headspace or Calm, whatever app appeals to you to get started.
Try not to berate yourself if your mind wanders. Research shows that mindfulness meditation is something we have to learn, just like riding a bike. Practice really does make perfect.
There is no one size fits all version of mindfulness. Everyone can benefit from being more mindful in some way. Take the principles of mindfulness and apply them to your life in ways that work for you.
Mindfulness is possible with ADHD, and it might help reduce your symptoms.
Recommended Reading: (Affiliate links. See my full disclosure.)