Meditation as Medication: Overcoming ADHD with the mind

boymeditatingA new study conducted by an American University has shown that Transcendental Meditation can help to alleviate stress and improve overall well being. It has been used as a possible way to overcome the symptoms of ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Up until now, the only way to treat conditions of this kind was to pacify the sufferer with a cocktail of drugs.

However, new research into meditation has shown that ADHD may respond well to the quiet, inner stillness that results from regular meditation practice.

In a pilot study, researchers found that lessons in transcendental meditation, or TM, appeared to calm the anxiety of children with ADHD, and improve their behavior and ability to think and concentrate.

TM is considered to be one of the simplest meditation techniques. Practitioners sit comfortably for 10 to 15 minutes with their eyes closed, silently repeating a mantra — a sound, word or phrase — to calm the mind and body.

The study included 10 children between the ages of 11 and 14 who were attending a school for students with language-related learning disabilities. All had been diagnosed with ADHD and, though most were taking medication, were having problems at school and home.

The students were taught the TM technique and then practiced it at school twice a day, for 10 minutes at a time.

“The effect was much greater than we expected,” lead researcher Sarina J. Grosswald, a cognitive learning specialist in Arlington, Virginia, said in a written statement.

After three months, Grosswald and her colleagues found, the students reported lower stress and anxiety levels, while their ADHD symptoms also improved, based on questionnaires given to teachers and parents.

Because the TM technique is simple, it means that adults and children alike can easily practice the meditation.

The video below shows Grosswald explaining her findings:

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