Reply To: Is mindfulness bull?

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Hi! This is my first time commenting on anything here, but I totally relate to your question. I practiced mindfulness on and off to try to deal with my symptoms and depression before I figured out I am a poster child for adult ADHD, Inattentive.

So this is my guess based on personal experience plus a bunch of reading. I always seemed to ace the “in the moment” stuff too. If my hyperfocus lands on it, I can get lost in 30 minutes of eating a raisin like I am Buddha’s BFF. Yay hyperfocus, I still remember that raisin. But do I have the kind of organized low-level focus eat healthily and regularly on a day-to-day basis? Absolutely not.

Because of that I focus less on the “in the moment” stuff and more on the mindfulness skill set of noticing where your attention is in the moment and moving it attention where you want it to go, but in a nice way, as if it’s a beloved pet or a small child. That’s actually kind of a complicated skill, especially if you have ADHD and are used to basically yelling at your attention that it isn’t where it’s supposed to be. I do better at it when I practice.

I go with non-religious audio and basically hyperfocus on following the instructions and images as if I’m in a class for a subject I’m incredibly interested in. The audios most helpful for me are the ones that focus on creating awareness of your thoughts and emotions using images that you practice: your thoughts are clouds, or a movie that you’re watching, or you count them or name them. If your thoughts are a movie, it would be like Inception, because you notice thoughts about thinking about your thoughts… and that’s fine too, of course, and actually kind of entertaining. Your mind is doing all kinds of stuff.

Once I got the hang of the different practices, which now feel kind of like different gym workout routines for my brain, I noticed a big difference in my ability to head off stress and anxiety before they swamped me. I was kickboxing competitively and suddenly started winning more, without training more or differently. Instead of trying to be calm with breathing or imagery, I started to notice myself panicking before a match and think “oh yeah, that’s me freaking out, like everyone does, no biggy.”

I have a rotating collection of audios, but if you haven’t already, check out the Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD by Lidia Zylowska MD, who also appears on this site. The audio guides that accompany the book are perceptive about ADHD and SHORT. (During my first course the body scan was 1.5 hours, with 20 minutes on just the left foot. I dropped out because I dreaded the group sessions.)

Buddhism-tinged materials say you’re not supposed to be trying to a achieve a particular outcome, but let’s cheat on that. I think a overall goal of being able to be in the moment at times, but also to have perspective on your own thinking and how you respond to what’s going on around you can’t hurt.

So, mostly, good luck and high five for taking the plunge and lying or sitting there trying to do something to help yourself, which is impressive already, if you think about it.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Carbonous.
  • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by Penny Williams.