Mindfulness and meditation are terms that mean very different things for different people. At the same time, they are often referenced as some of the most useful tools and techniques to manage ADHD. In this article, we asked our ADHD experts for their point of view and recommendations on this topic.
Mindfulness to break the anxiety cycle
Content marketing manager Chelsea Blackstone, who was diagnosed with ADHD at 13, has built strategies to find normalcy while living with ADHD. She says that Mindfulness helps — but not in the way you think. “A lot of people who don’t have ADHD/ADD recommend mindfulness for quieting your mind. And sure it can do that. But in my experience, that’s not its primary function when you’re combating a brain that doesn’t like to follow workflows. What mindfulness does is help you stop when you begin to emotionally deregulate. Mindfulness helps you catch yourself before you spiral, and unwind the knot of anxiety or anger before it takes over. It can help you catch yourself, settle the cause, and move on faster to get back to what matters.”
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time
Marjan Najafi runs qyro.io, offering relaxation techniques to business professionals. One of her favorite techniques is called autogenic training: “Many people in the corporate environment appreciate, as it helps with managing a chaotic mind. It is very easy to use, and best of all, it takes only a few minutes per day! Business professionals can also use other scientifically proven techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or journaling.”
Use fidgets and other tangible aids
When it comes to focusing during meetings, Aniko Dunn of EZCare Clinic, likes using hand-held fidgets: “It may seem amusing, but this tip is very useful. Just bring an object with you to the meeting. A small ball to wrap in your hands, a pen to rotate in your fingers, or paper for doodling. The pen and paper will also help you to take notes or write down any thoughts, questions, or thoughts that may come to your mind during the meeting. Moreover, it will make your mind stronger, sharper, and will help you boost your productivity and creativity.” Just try not to be distracting to others with your fidget spinner!
Nettie Owens, author of the What Businesses Need To Know Right Now, continues on the topic of fidgets as a way to neutralize excess mental energy, but not just tactile ones: “The work fidget brings to mind constant motion, bouncing feet, and playing with the staples or paperclips holding your report together. Those with ADHD may need the extra sensory input to keep their brain focused. Think about all the ways you sense the world, and consider infusing more input in one area and less in another. For example, listening to music can be an auditory fidget. So can be chewing gum (taste, touch), lighting a candle (smell), standing desk (motion), soft couch (tactile), sitting with a coworker (energy, social). Fidgets engage your brain in a secondary way while you focus on the task at hand. Working in a sterile, noiseless environment may work for some people, but for others, like us, having additional inputs keeps the brain dialed in while working.”
Change your environment as stress builds up
Risa Williams is the author of The Ultimate Anxiety Toolkit, and she offers some tips for adults with ADHD to manage their stress: “To get more organized and increase your productivity, the first thing to look at is your daily stress level. Stress can exacerbate ADHD symptoms and anxiety, so I prioritize that with my clients, before we work on time-management techniques. An easy way to reduce stress is building-in time buffer breaks where you’re stepping away from the computer, taking a break from your phone, and letting your body reset at regular times throughout the day. It helps to get outside for a walk, do light exercise, learn to take deliberate deep breaths more, or sometimes, just to get up and change your surroundings to slow down a little. This lets your stress come down more frequently, and it can give you more mental clarity for future tasks ahead. Learning to notice what stress feels like as it’s rising in your body, and to take steps to bring your stress levels down, can not only help your productivity throughout the day, but also improve your overall mood, and ability to make better decisions.”
Marketing expert Savannah Cherry also understands the power of a healthy interruption when stress is building up. “If you work for a good company, they’ll understand that taking a 5 or 10-minute break in the middle of the day is better for your productivity and mental health. But don’t just go watch TikTok in the lunchroom. Have a quick meditation or have a self-introspection. When you’re overwhelmed, walking away from it completely will just make it worse when you get back. Take some time to breathe, think through it, and come back with renewed focus.”
Consider professional help
Julia Seraphine works with her therapist to get from generic tips to the right care for her situation: “My therapist knows everything that I struggle with. This includes different symptoms of ADHD, as well as my own personal struggles. He gives me tools to use each day that work specifically for me. Getting customized care to help mitigate my symptoms has been one of the main reasons that I became as successful as I am today.”
Marjan Najafi was working in wealth management for over 14 years, and decided to ask for help with her attention span: “When I hired a business coach who guided me through various techniques, the best of which was cognitive behavioural therapy. This is incredibly easy to follow and learn. It was so effective that now I decided to become an executive coach myself and help people using similar techniques.”
Focus on this
This article on mindfulness and meditation is part of a series on living with ADHD for successful business professionals. We’ll keep sharing new ideas to help you stay focused on high-impact work.
If you haven’t tried Priority Matrix yet, breath in, breath out, and take a look now. Namaste!