Meditation for Entrepreneurs with ADHD: Try a Hoodie

Meditation for Entrepreneurs with ADHD: Try a Hoodie
Meditation for ADHD. Wearing a hoodie helps How can entrepreneurs with ADHD meditate when random thoughts constantly swim around in their heads?

How could someone who struggles to stay on track sit still and do nothing but watch themselves breath?

But no, it’s not a contradiction!

If I can meditate, so can you! It takes a bit of practice but it’s well worth it.

Every time I meditate, I calm down, my head has fewer thoughts all scrambled together. And I can focus on whatever I’m working on.

Oops, wait a minute! What’s a picture of a cute girl wearing an orange hoodie doing on a blog post about meditation? 

Nope, it’s not a joke. So before I get to meditation for ADHD, let me explain the hoodie.

Years ago when I was in graduate school preparing to take the infamous “comps” (comprehensive exams given at the end of one’s studies for a PhD), I had trouble studying.

Hardly surprising, given raging ADHD. I couldn’t focus on the material for more than a couple minutes at a time. Even though I was passionately interested in most of the material.

Then one chilly afternoon in the library, I grabbed a sweatshirt out of my book bag, put it on, and pulled the hood up over my head.

Voila! I’d found something that helped me study. The hood blocked out noise and my peripheral vision so I couldn’t see the movement around me! I’m still addicted to hooded sweatshirts for focusing. I have four hooded sweatshirts. True story!

And I usually wear a hooded sweatshirt for meditating! Sometimes I won’t bother and then in the middle of the meditation, I’ll stop and put the hood up over my head.

No,  I didn’t just break a rule about meditation by stopping and starting. I was already sitting and wearing a sweatshirt.  Meditation doesn’t have as many rules as you might have thought. And it’s also easier than some folks who love rules would suggest.

Meditation for ADHD

Meditation for Entrepreneurs with ADHD: How to start doing it

1. Sit in a chair, any chair, your favorite chair. (If you want to sit cross-legged on the floor in the lotus position, that’s fine. But it’s not necessary.)

2.  Put your feet flat on the floor. (Although feet on floor is probably optimal, I often cheat and have my legs stretched out on a footstool. It still works and I’m more comfortable.)

3.  Close your eyes. (People who don’t have ADHD sometimes soft-focus. I don’t recommend this for ADHD. I certainly can’t do it.)

4.  Try it with no music, try it with soft music. (I can’t meditate with soft music. It’s distracting. Other folks with ADHD find that it helps. Do what works.)

5.   Take a very deep breath, hold it for 3 counts, and exhale the breath slowly. (Usually it’s suggested that you exhale with your mouth open. I often forget to do that. It works anyway.)

6.  Take several more deep breaths. I count them. Counting helps keep “thinking” to a minimum. (There’s no magic number of deep breaths.)

7. Now watch yourself breathe. You probably won’t be able to stay focused on watching yourself breath for very long. That’s normal. (Instructions that tell you to keep watching yourself breathe through an entire meditation session are asking you to do the impossible and setting you up to think you’ve failed at meditation.)

8. As thoughts start bouncing around–and they will–practice being an observer of each thought. No judgement.

9. Now let that thought float away. (I silently talk to myself which helps: “Oh, that’s an interesting thought. Never mind. Float away now thought. I’m not paying attention to you.”)

10. Stop meditating when the timer goes off and notice how you feel. Some people like to write in their journal after meditating. I do it sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. No rules.

11. Now meditate consistently, every day if possible. The benefits are cumulative.

Meditation for ADHDIf you’ve never meditated before, start with three minutes, work up to five. I do 10 minutes, sometimes more.

My favorite timer is an app for android devices called the Insight Timer. It has Tibetan singing bowls to let you know when to start and when to stop.

The paid ($2.99) version from Amazon comes with a journal if you want to jot down your meditating experience.

Your kitchen timer or the timer on your computer works just as well.

Oh, and wear a hooded sweatshirt if that helps you.

Sometimes I feel like my entire meditation is nothing but thoughts coming in and being sent away. But as I’ve gotten better at meditating, that’s not as common.

If you’re not feeling totally stressed out, you may meditate for several minutes with no thoughts. The first time that happened to me, I thought I’d lost it! I’d never experienced what it was to have no thoughts.

Other times, I fall asleep meditating. No, I didn’t just fail at meditation. After all, a short nap is also good for restarting the focus switch.

Probably not a good idea to stop and run out in the kitchen to pour yourself a cup of coffee while you’re meditating. But wiggling a bit, opening your eyes for a couple seconds, scratching your nose or even taking a sip of water doesn’t matter! You’re on track.

Occasionally I get into a pattern of saying a mantra. Again, you don’t have to say a mantra to meditate. I might say something like “all is well” as I inhale and again as I exhale. Other times I say the ancient Hindu mantra “Om Namah Shivaya.”

Usually about half way through my meditation, I forget the mantra or I change mantras. Sometimes I get tangled up in deciding what mantra to use, then it’s best to stop “mantra-ing” as it’s become too distracting.

Whether you use a mantra or not is a personal choice. If it helps, say a mantra. If it doesn’t help, don’t. It doesn’t matter!

For the purpose of meditating to get back on track on your business, to calm down and focus, using a mantra helps some get into the silent place of the meditation.  (Unlike religious meditation with specific mantras which are used to praise a deity or become closer to one.)

Meditation for ADHD

 

Meditation for Entrepreneurs with ADHD: Varieties that Probably Won’t Work and One that Might

You’ve probably read about various forms of meditation: group meditation, color meditation, walking meditation. None of them work for me. And I doubt most people with serious ADHD would find them easy.

Too many distractions. I still have a hard time meditating if someone else is in the room.  And walking mediation is an invitation to trip and break my ankle.

Bottom line: Play with meditating. Find the way it works for you. No judgement, right or wrong.

Avoid suggestions from others that are too complicated, too many rules, or don’t take into account how easily you’re distracted.  For example, meditating while walking around a labyrinth is a great idea . . . for people who do NOT have ADHD!

Success will come with practice. You may be surprised at how little practice. You may even get to a place where you can meditate outdoors sitting on the ground.

Notice that you feel calmer. That you’re more focused.

By the way, the experts say meditation lowers blood pressure, improves brain functioning, boosts your immune system, lowers stress, and improves metabolism.

So give it a try and let me know how meditation works for you in the comments below.

P.S. Did you know that websites can have ADHD? And that when they do, it kills their opt-ins and sales. Find out now if your site has ADHD and what to do about it.

 

Comments

  1. great blog post. A little long considering I have ADHD. all good. I had a yoga teacher once who said if you fall asleep while mediating it’s because you need sleep more than you need meditation.

  2. I don’t have ADHD, but I do the Transcendental Meditation technique and there’s some research on it at http://www.adhd-tm.org/. (It’s actually a whole website just about meditation and ADHD.) No guarantee, of course, that the research applies to other types of meditation…

    Personally, I’ve found that TM helps me focus and be settled inside, even out of meditation. I love it!

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