Do you ever notice a whole day has gone by within the blink of an eye? What about a week? As we near the holidays, it’s important to become aware of where we place our attention. For those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, or other learning differences, mindfulness meditation may be something you’d like to try. Mindfulness has been linked to increased conscious focus, decreased stress, and effective management of chronic pain.
Although many believe mindfulness is about clearing your mind of its thoughts, it is quite the opposite. Mindfulness actually increases your overall awareness of your thoughts. By practicing paying attention to your breath and/or posture, you start to become aware of your mind and how it works. You will start to notice where your thoughts often travel to. By bringing your attention back to your breath, you are then able to control your thoughts and your own focus. From personal experience, having a mindfulness practice has sharpened my overall availability to organize my thoughts, plan my days, and control my emotional response. I’ve also noticed a decrease in my stress level and a more peaceful version of me all around. Just like weight lifters exercise their bodies to become stronger, you can exercise your own mind to become sharper. So, why not give it a try?
Those who learn and process information differently also need different types of sensory regulation. This can vary from person to person. For ADHDers, some need more sensory input to get started such as exercise or movement, swimming, or even fidget toys. For other learning differences like ASDers or SPDers, limiting sensory input is important for focus but also for resting.
Take this time to see what works for you. Do noise canceling headphones help you tune out and get into a calm and restful zone? If you need more stimulation, is there a certain type of music or guided meditation that helps you? During the holidays, spend some time on your own to curl up with a good book, start an art project, or make a fun playlist while you massage your temples.
Unplugging for Rest & Sleep
We hear the term ‘unplug’ a lot – but what does this actually mean? It sounds like turning off your phone and other screened devices but sometimes it can mean disconnecting from the ’to-do’ list in your brain by preparing for your productive hours ahead of time. This gives you the chance to switch off those internal reminders and really let your mind rest!
Try setting a time each evening to prepare for the next day, what needs to get done before you can rest and wake up refreshed? Start your day with exercise, this helps kickstart the day and studies show it helps people fall asleep earlier. Establish a time each day to walk away from your phone or other screened devices, this will help you be more present and eliminate distractions. Use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your phone and set your computer to warm light as sunset approaches. By eliminating blue light once the sun has set you’re decreasing damage to your skin and vision and getting your body ready to rest.
When it comes to bedtime, try unplugging the TV in the bedroom or rearranging the room to promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Remove clutter and introduce items that promote rest such as essential oil diffusers or battery operated candles on a time, and move the head of the bed near a natural light source so you can wake up with the sun.
At BES, we are wishing you a very restful and peaceful holiday season! For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org