How Deep Breathing Opens Up the ADHD Brain

Studies suggest that rhythmic, deep breathing can balance the autonomic nervous system, which helps individuals with ADHD become more attentive and relaxed. Learn more about this free, highly portable alternative treatment.

Learn Deep Breathing

For ADHDers to master coherent breathing, it’s best to have some instruction. “An instructor can tell you whether your muscles are relaxed, and whether you’re breathing too deeply,” says Brown. “You can learn the technique in a weekend. The key is to practice at home for 10 to 20 minutes a day” -- until it becomes an automatic response to stress and hyperactivity.

Find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be interrupted. Close your eyes, relax your eyes, neck, hands, and feet, and complete five or six full breaths in a minute, keeping your awareness on the breath moving inside of you. (Respire 1, a CD by Stephen Elliott, is helpful, prompting you to inhale and exhale at set intervals. It is available at

One note: Practice coherent breathing when you’re calm. A lot of people say, “Oh, I’ll do it when I get stressed.” “That’s like waiting to brush your teeth after they’ve fallen out,” says Brown. “When you get upset with your boss, or when you lose your keys, you’ll have a head start at getting your calm and focus back if you’ve practiced. The technique becomes an almost automatic response when you find yourself in stressful situations.”

To take a course in coherent breathing, or to learn more about it, go to or to

More ADHD Alternative Therapy:

Brain Training to Treat ADHD Symptoms

The ADHD Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Exercise: An Alternative ADHD Treatment

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TAGS: ADHD and Anxiety, Alternative Treatments for ADHD, ADHD Therapy, ADHD Relaxation Tips, Yoga for ADHD

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