“Why Women with ADHD Benefit the Most from Meditation.”
Women with ADHD experience unique stressors and demands. With or without ADHD medication, meditation can form part of a treatment plan that improves quality of life. Here are four benefits of meditation specifically to ADHD brains and bodies.
Women with ADHD are an historically overlooked demographic — and for that they pay a high price. A late diagnosis, a misdiagnosis (or several), and a lack of true ADHD awareness translate to years of struggling unnecessarily, suffering low self-esteem, being misunderstood, and believing something is inherently “wrong” with them.
That’s why women with ADHD may benefit greatly from meditation – a fantastic tool to improve wellbeing and decrease the stress of living with an often-misunderstood condition.
The Unique Struggles of Women with ADHD
Missed ADHD Symptoms in Women
Women with ADHD are underrepresented in conversations surrounding ADHD. It is considered by many, including many women themselves, to be primarily a male disorder. Some women, as a result, can live the majority of their lives with no knowledge that they even have ADHD.
This can be an extremely alienating experience for many women, who far too often end up in the unfortunate position of “carrying on” without support when an appropriate diagnosis could significantly improve their lives.
What’s more, those who do seek help for potential symptoms face the high possibility of being misdiagnosed with another condition, like a mood disorder or anxiety. The result, however, is the same: a lack of help and support for the correct conditions, which could lead to further mental health problems.
Masking ADHD Symptoms
Women with ADHD often experience profound stress as they attempt to hold together an outwardly “normal” life that meets societal demands and expectations — while also dealing with the onslaught of ADHD symptoms often exacerbated by shifting hormones over time. This dynamic can even lead to regular periods of burn-out.
Women with ADHD frequently mask how much effort it takes to get through daily life, silently questioning how life can appear so effortless for other women. Meanwhile, their own curiosities, passions, and talents are neglected in a world which refuses to make room for minds that work in a different way.
It’s unsurprising that living this way can cause elevated anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and eroded self-esteem over time. It’s difficult to be accused of being “dreamy” or “lazy” when you are working overtime to keep life moving forward — feeling guilty when it doesn’t work, and exhausted when it does. All in all, the experience can be overwhelming, and leave those masking ADHD in need of a profound rest.
Meditation for ADHD: Why and How Women Benefit
1. Meditation is ADHD-Friendly
There are many ways to meditate, meaning there’s a form out there that works best for your brain. Personalized mantras can be particularly effective, for example, for their simplicity. Rather than consciously focusing to quiet a busy or distracted mind, mantra meditation asks you to simply repeat a phrase in your head and let it carry you effortlessly to a place of calm and rest.
The advantage to mantra meditation is that it affords little opportunity for the mind to wander, which is one of the biggest hurdles for newcomers and those who struggle the most with focus. This refocusing of the mind, if done regularly, can clear the mind and help you improve our focus.
2. Meditation Improves Communication Skills
Some women with ADHD struggle with impulsivity and hyperactivity, which manifests as a tendency to interrupt others or talk excessively. Alongside its calming and de-stressing qualities, meditation also help improve communication skills over time by encouraging pauses and reflection.
With improved verbal abilities, women are less likely to feel overwhelmed in conversations and social situations — and more likely to find a happy middle ground when it comes to interacting with others.
3. Meditation Builds Coping Skills
Meditation enables your mind and body to enter a resting state far deeper than that in even your deepest point of sleep. Tapping into this state gives your nervous system (which is responsible for feelings of stress) a chance to deeply relax.
The result is that levels of cortisol and other stress hormones are reduced by up to a third, whilst production of our happy hormones is increased, making you much more resilient to unnecessary but inevitable future stress. This is particularly important for women with ADHD, as it helps to take away some of the fear and anxiety while building confidence and allowing them to be more true to themselves.
4. Meditation is “Portable”
Meditation can be done anywhere and at any time the individual needs it the most, making it the perfect, discrete tool for ADHD symptom management.
While meditation is not a replacement for ADHD medication, it can form part of a comprehensive treatment plan and significantly improve quality of life for women with ADHD.
Meditation for ADHD: Next Steps
- Blog: “How I Learned to Meditate (Even Though I Can’t Sit Still)”
- Download: Make Mindfulness Work for You
- Watch: 7 Ways to Meditate with a Busy Brain
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.
Updated on January 3, 2021