What it is: Mindful awareness, or mindfulness involves paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations; in other words, developing a greater awareness of what’s going on with you from moment to moment. It can be used as a tool to foster wellness, especially psychological well-being. Similar techniques have been used to lower blood pressure and to manage chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
How it works: Meditation improves your ability to control your attention. In other words, it teaches you to pay attention to paying attention. Mindful awareness can also make people more aware of their emotional state, so people with ADHD won't react impulsively as often.
Treatment: The basic practice is very simple: sit in a comfortable place and spend five minutes focusing on the sensation of breathing in and breathing out—pay attention to how it feels when your stomach rises and falls. If your mind wanders to something else—your job or some noise you just heard, label these thoughts as "thinking," and refocus your attention on your breath.
This practice should be done daily, and every couple of weeks patients should increase the length of time spent on the exercise—up to 20 or more if they feel they can.
Apply the same thinking throughout each day, focusing on your breath for a few minutes as you walk from place to place, or when you're stopped at a red light or sitting at the computer. The meditation sessions are important practice, but the key is to use mindfulness throughout your daily life, always being aware of where your attention is focused while you are engaged in routine activities. For example, you might notice while you drive that your attention wanders to an errand you must run later that day. Lots of people practice mindfulness while eating. Once you get used to checking in with yourself and your body, you can apply the technique anytime you start to feel overwhelmed.
Training centers can also help explain these basic concepts, and keep you on track.
Cost: $0 if you do it on your own, but training programs and books are available for purchase.