When people think of mindfulness, they may think of sitting in a cave, cross legged, and meditating. Or they may think it only means meditating. If you have ADD/ADHD, it’s good to know that mindfulness, or mindful awareness, also means bringing your attention to the present moment even if you aren’t meditating.
One thing we can do in the present moment is to get out of our heads and into our senses. When we are stressed, overwhelmed, or stuck in anxious thoughts, our ability to focus and think clearly can be negatively impacted. This happens to most of us, ADD or not.
If we can take a break from thinking (or sometimes trying to think!) by focusing on our senses, that break can be like a re-set for your brain and nervous system. Afterwards, you may find yourself more focused, relaxed, and directed.
Following is a list of mindfulness exercises for when you need that break. Maybe print out the list and keep it visible so you can just pick an exercise to try when the time is right.
- Take a bath or a shower and let your mind relax. Try to get out of your head and pay attention to how the water or soap feels on your body.
- Slowly eat or drink something you love and savor the taste in your mouth.
- Take a leisurely walk and pay attention to your surroundings.
- Listen to music that calms you down or makes you happy. If your mind wanders, just come back to the music.
- Do a short mindful yoga, qigong, or tai chi exercise.
- Rock in a rocking chair or roll around on a medicine ball.
- Take some deep slow breaths and pay attention to how the breath feels moving in and moving out.
- Smell something fragrant like flowers or a spice in your kitchen.
- Consciously relax your shoulders and jaw.
- Stretch and yawn.
- Check-in with your body – am I tired, tense, hungry, thirsty? What does it need?
- Listen to sounds around you, inside or outside. You can try to identify them or just listen to the quality of the sound as if you’ve never heard it before – rumbling, loud, soft, sharp, etc.
- Pick a color and find all the places you see it inside or outside.
- Repeat a prayer or positive affirmation and only focus on that.
- Do self-massage on your shoulders, lower back, or wherever you feel tense.
- Take care of your indoor or outdoor plants.
- Stroke or play with your pet.
- Listen to a guided imagery meditation or meditate in whatever way you prefer.
- Give your absolute attention to whatever you are doing right now, whether it’s walking, cutting up vegetables, or washing your face.
- Go to www.youtube.com and find whatever helps you forget your problems and doesn’t require thinking – laughing babies, cute kitties, funny dogs, music, etc.