Mindfulness Benefits Kids with ADHD, and Their Families

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July 13, 2021 -- Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and other mindfulness activities can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it's not just the kids who benefit.

When families of children with ADHD complete a mindfulness program together, a new study suggests, children and parents can profit, with potential boosts to self-control, self-compassion, and psychological symptoms.

The findings do not suggest children should ditch medication in favor of focusing on the present moment. Instead, the study adds to growing evidence that mindfulness can be a helpful tool along with other strategies for children and adults with ADHD, says John Mitchell, PhD, a psychologist at Duke Universitywho was not involved with the new study. Mindfulness might help families ease stress and improve quality of life.

"We talk about ADHD because one person has that diagnosis, but we don't live in bubbles," he says. "We’re all interconnected and impact one another. And having treatments that acknowledge that and measuring that in the scientific literature is pretty important."

Mindfulness training, which has its roots in Eastern traditions, generally aims to teach people how to be present in the moment and let go of judgment. Over the last couple of decades, researchers working on depression and other conditions have gathered evidence that practicing mindfulness can help in a variety of ways, including with the self-regulation of attention and emotions. It didn’t take long for those findings to draw i...

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