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Mindfulness: an ADHD case study

Published: 17 Dec 2019 | ADHD & Me
Mindfulness-countryside-walk

To learn about how mindfulness helped someone with ADHD, psychotherapist and mindfulness coach Stacey Camacho shared one of her client’s journey: a 38-year-old woman diagnosed with ADHD

Disclaimer: the information contained on this website does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns about your own health or the health of someone else, you should speak to your doctor.


Which mindfulness exercises have been particularly beneficial for your client?

My interventions have focused on the practice of mindfulness (focusing on the present moment whilst having an attitude of openness, curiosity and acceptance aka nonjudgmental awareness). She practices formal sitting meditation with a focus on her breath at 5 am in the morning for 20 minutes (she began with one minute a day and worked herself up gradually to 20). She also practices mindfulness informally throughout her workday, for example one minute before a meeting or sending an important email. When feeling highly unfocused and overwhelmed, she practices RAIN: a practice developed by Michele McDonald which is effective when feeling challenged or overwhelmed.

 

In what way did she benefit from the mindfulness?

She started firstly to notice some of her ADHD symptoms, which she never noticed before, like interrupting a lot during meetings and daydreaming. Once she became more aware of her urge to interrupt, she was able to choose to take a deep breath and listen to another without thoughts, thereby controlling her impulse to interrupt. She still daydreams, but she is able to choose when, so it doesn’t disrupt her day.

Other improvements she reported were:

  • her ability to sustain her attention for longer periods of time, with the ability to tolerate distraction without getting caught up in it, like the sound of her phone
  • her ability to display a more confident and centered presence versus being all over the place and disorganized
  • her ability to follow through
  • her ability to listen better and make fewer mistakes, which improved interactions at work

What I noticed in session is the increase in her emotional intelligence and her ability to identify her emotions and regulate them. She reported this improvement out of session as well: she was getting to truly understand the inner workings of her mind and was less critical and reactive.