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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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7.7 Healthy, Fun, and Therapeutic Ways to Help Manage ADHD Symptoms

In the past couple of decades we have learned a lot more about healthy, positive ways to reduce stress, strengthen attention and focus, and enhance our physical and emotional well-being. Science supports what most of us intuitively know: the importance of exercise and sports, art and music, or other positive outlets to channel one's energy and emotions, the value of relaxation, calming, focusing, and stress-reduction strategies, being outdoors in nature, and the joy of laughter and play. Research is now showing the specific benefits for those with ADHD.

Meditation Practices and Mindfulness

Meditation and practices involving attention to one's breathing have been used for centuries. Recent research has been looking at the positive effects of such practices on people (mostly adults and teens, but also younger children) with ADHD.

  • The first study of mindfulness or “mindful awareness” training in adults and teens with ADHD was conducted at UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) (http://marc.ucla.edu), which was led by Lidia Zylowska, a co-developer of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Program for ADHD (MAP).
  • UCLA's study involved an eight-week program in mindfulness meditation in twenty-four adults and eight teens with ADHD. Results were promising.

Mindfulness is described as the following:

  • Experiencing life from moment to moment with full awareness and acceptance and a practice that teaches us to pay greater attention ...

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