What is Meditation?
Meditation is probably not what you think it is.
Meditation is not clearing your mind of thought. That’s pretty much impossible.
Instead, meditation is a way to train your mind. (Headspace has some excellent information on meditation, as well as some meditations to practice.)
Think about that in relation to your ADHD, your depression, and anxiety.
What if you could train your mind to relax, to send your focus elsewhere?
That’s one of the goals of meditation, and why I practice it. It gives me a sense of peace and calm.
It has been pointed out to me that some people get this same effect from prayer, and if that works for you, that’s wonderful. It’s good to have a diverse set of tools to help us when we need them.
How Do You Meditate?
Most people picture someone sitting crossed legged on the floor, hands on knees with thumbs and pinky fingers touching.
You can do it that way, but really there are a lot of ways to meditate. And I have no idea what the thumb and pinky finger thing is about. I assume it has some significance, I just don’t know what, and it’s not necessary for meditation.
Basically, you find a quiet place that you can use for about 15 minutes or more.
When you first start out, I recommend a 5 minute guided meditation. A guided meditation is one where someone talks you through the practice. I’ve been meditating on and off for many years and I still use guided meditations.
And don’t be afraid to try more than one. Sometimes the person’s voice just irritates you in some way. Feel free to turn it off immediately and try another one.
How to Get Started
As I said, you’ll need a quiet spot where you will be uninterrupted for about 15 minutes.
If you can ask your family to give you this time, and they will respect that, you’re all set! And if you can figure out how to get the dog to not bark during those 15 minutes, please share. It’s like she knows it’s quiet time, so…..
Next, find a comfortable place. You don’t need to sit on the floor. If I did, first, I wouldn’t be comfortable, and second, I’m not sure how long it would take me to get up.
A chair is fine.
Most meditation how to guides will tell you to sit with your back straight and your feet on the floor, your arms at your side.
We have ADHD.
Sit in whatever position makes you comfortable and feel free to wiggle or readjust as you need to; otherwise you’ll be distracted by your ADHD tendency to want to squirm.
I also recommend headphones. Ear buds are fine; most people have them, but if you have a good set of headphones, they’re better.
I have some noise canceling ones that I love. They almost block out the barking dog.
It’s About Your Breath
Many guided meditations have you concentrate on your breathing.
As you focus on the sensation of breathing in and breathing out, you become less focused on other things.
Three things to note here:
- Other thoughts will intrude. That’s natural and to be expected, especially when you first begin. As soon as you notice that you are thinking about something other than your breath, go back to paying attention to it. It will get easier as you continue to practice.
- Some people (me included sometimes) focus so much on their breath that they start to breathe in an unnatural rhythm. You may have noticed something similar if you’ve ever had a panic attack. If focusing on your breathing makes you uncomfortable, focus on your heartbeat instead. You can feel it in several areas of your body if you are still enough, and since you have no control over it, it can be more calming for you.
- As you are meditating and focusing on either your breath or heartbeat, you may notice that they begin to slow down, and that your breath will become more shallow. This is a good thing, so don’t panic! Your body is calming down and in a resting state; that’s your goal.
Don’t Give Up
Please, please don’t give up trying to meditate!
The benefits are just so amazing and so good for you!
But it does take some practice, and you do need to find the right meditation for you. And there will be days when you try and it just doesn’t work. That’s OK. It happens. Just try again another day.
Where to Find Meditations
There are a lot of places online to find meditations.
I use an app called Glo. I’ve been using it about a year and a half now. You do have to pay for it; I think it’s about $23.00 a month. I chose this one for a few reasons:
- It has both yoga and meditation practices on it from a variety of teachers
- You have the ability to search for what you want
- They have a series of meditations on grief which helped me a lot
Headspace is a good place for meditations.
YouTube has all kinds of meditation videos, which you might find even more helpful than just an audio. Be sure to look for really short ones – no more than 10 minutes tops. 5 minutes is better. Here is one I like.
And if you want to start out kind of slow, you might want to check out just breathing.