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Meditation on EASY mode (for ADHD)
Here's how people with ADHD can (easily) learn to meditate
Time to read: 3 mins & 23 seconds — 678 words. Written by Joseph Pack.
Today, I’m going to show you how anyone with ADHD can meditate.
Most people with ADHD believe they can’t meditate because it’s often taught wrong. Contrary to popular belief, it’s NOT about quieting the mind. I thought that too, and ended up down a rabbit hole before I finally found the truth.
Here’s how I got there:
Meditation shouldn’t be difficult. But it often is.
I learned to meditate in 2016, days after waking up in hospital from seizures caused by burn out.
My first attempts at meditation were, to be honest…frustrating.
The Headspace app was ineffective for me. Every time I focused on my breath, my thoughts became too intense.
Apparently this is what’s meant to happen.
But for me, the busyness of the mind was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t sit there for 10 minutes without growing anxiety.
I persisted with a few other basic meditation techniques with moderate success.
The benefits of basic meditation
Although I found meditation tough it made me calmer, so I persisted. I meditated by allowing thoughts to come and go, focusing on the breath for four years.
A little calmer
A little more focused
A little more rested
But something bothered me.
I’d spent hours meditating but still didn’t truly understand why.
Then I read this line in The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer: “You are not the voice of the mind, you are the one who hears it” and in an instant I finally understood!
You really are not the voice of your mind
Of course it is — to be able to hear the voice, the voice must be separate from you. The voice is NOT you, but it is YOURS.
That voice is more like an unsolicited commentator.
Meditation isn't a game of 'spot the thought'. It's 'spot the YOU spotting the thought.' That age-old technique only made me more addicted to my mind's nonsense. It didn't separate me from the chatter, it pulled me right into it.
💡 Lightbulb moment? I needed a new technique..
Meditation set to easy mode
I stumbled upon Mantra Meditation taught by Yogani from Advanced Yoga Practices.
Yogani teaches NOT to watch the breath, but instead to repeat a sound silently in your head for 10 to 20 minutes.
If thoughts come, they come.
We don’t have do anything about them.
We can follow them for a bit if we choose.
The only instruction is to continue repeating the sound, even while following the thoughts. Once we notice we’re thinking, we simply redirect our attention back to the sound.
Within minutes I found this technique EASY!
Here’s I do it:
Set the timer for 15 minutes
Sit down in a chair
Repeat the sound until the bell rings — I use a meditation timer called Insight Timer.
Very quickly I noticed progress.
I was calmer
…and most incredible of all I felt happier. A lot happier!
As I doubled down on this new mantra technique, I found myself getting a grip on my mind's narcissism. I used to orchestrate life like a control freak—weather, business, people, you name it.
I catch myself in the act, and it's comical how I ever thought I could micromanage the universe.
This technique is available to everyone — no matter who you are, where you come from, and where you’ve been. Here’s how it works:
An ADHD-friendly meditation technique
Sit on a chair with a straight back
Set a timer for 10 minutes
Close your eyes
Repeat the words “I AM” very slowly in your head
Like this: “AAAAAYYYYYYYAAAAAAAMMMMMM”
Let thoughts come and go. Don’t try to push them away. Just let them be.
As thoughts come, continue the mantra (it is possible to think and repeat the mantra at the same time).
Once the bell rings, take a few deep breaths
Stand up and continue your day
Once you do this, notice how you feel.
Listen, meditation isn’t a quick fix—it’s a long game, but the rewards? They’re wonderful. I’ve changed a lot since 2016:
Here’s a list of things meditation has changed in me:
The list could go on.
Meditation has helped me manage ADHD so effectively that I’ve no need for medication. This isn't unique to me; others have achieved similar results using this technique.