Mindfulness is a type of meditative technique that emphasizes an observant and nonreactive stance toward one’s thoughts, emotions, and body states.
You would think that “silent”, “sitting” and “slow” are oxymoron actions to a person with ADHD, however, consider the relaxation part of mindfulness for a minute. Although often induced during the training, it is not the sole goal of this practice; rather, the main activity is a cognitive and intention-based process characterized by self-regulation of attention to the present moment. Self-regulation and present moment being the key words here.
Research indicates that ADHD is a complex behavioral disorder causing deficits in executive functioning, including attention, working memory, and inhibition and difficulties in arousal, motivation, and emotional regulation. These deficits and difficulties can be considered self-regulation impairments.
Mindfulness meditation is a self-regulatory practice that is multifaceted but appears to improve self-regulation of attention and emotion. It therefore makes sense that using a mindfulness-based approach in ADHD symptom management may well improve the self-regulation resulting in being less impaired and more “regulated”.
Being mindful and present in the moment also applies in work with horses, which is probably why we see such success in partnering with horses to help people with ADHD. There just isn’t room for impulsive, fast, aroused and emotional behavior when you handle a horse or share space with a horse. Self-regulation, self-awareness and calm, relaxed body language will allow you to communicate and flow with the horse in unison. This alignment with your inner true persona is rewarded through the acknowledgment from the horse that the two of you are “on the same page”.
So get mindful, get aware and get with a horse!