I’ve been reading recently about a new treatment option for ADD & ADHD – one that may surprise you – Transcendental meditation (TM). As it turns out, not only is TM effective in treating Attention Deficit Disorder, it’s actually quite compatible with it, too.
TM is the practice of sitting quietly and focusing the mind on something simple. It could be a single word or short phrase (a mantra), or you could concentrate on the act of breathing, becoming aware of inhaling and exhaling. Although I use the words “focus” and “concentrate”, TM is actually easier than it sounds. Practicing it quiets the mind, rests the body, and can even lower blood pressure.
William Stixrud, Ph.D, a clinical neuropsychologist, and Serena Grosswald, an educator, recently studied the effects of TM on kids with ADHD as it related to school. The kids were taught to meditate, and then asked to do so for 10 minutes, twice a day. According to the researchers, the kids found the practice of meditating to be very natural and relaxing.
Stixrud & Grosswald noted significant improvements in their test subjects in a number of areas: the kids showed less signs of stress, anxiety, and depression ( as much as 45-50%), as well as showing marked improvement in memory, organizational skills, strategizing, mental flexibility, attention, and impulsivity.
Another study, conducted over 2 years, showed that kids who meditate regularly have significant improvements in their standardized test scores, particularly in math and reading.
Meditation does take a little practice in order to get the hang of it (it did for me anyway), but it’s free, it’s easy, you can do it anywhere – and the health benefits are hard to argue with. Give it a try – and get your kids to try it, too. I thnk you’ll be pleasantly surprised.