One such benefit is the reduction of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) symptoms. During a time when people are increasingly looking for non-pharmaceutical alternatives to traditional treatment, Transcendental Meditation for ADHD emerges as a valid intervention.

Unlike medication, which often has adverse side effects and loses efficacy as soon as it is no longer taken, the TM technique is a lifelong tool with cumulative and lasting benefits that directly addresses various symptoms and contributing factors linked to ADHD.

For example, people with ADHD have reduced blood flow to the brain. The Transcendental Meditation technique combats exactly that, by increasing blood flow to the brain and creating neural connections.

Keep reading as we explore the relationship between the Transcendental Meditation technique and ADHD.

What is the best meditation for ADHD?

No two individuals with ADHD experience exactly the same symptoms. However, certain symptoms occur more often and have a greater impact on people's lives.

These include:

  • trouble with concentration
  • mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • poor sleep
  • difficulty finding a sustained sense of calm

People with ADHD often find meditation practices like mindfulness, and other techniques that require focused attention, difficult to practice. The prerequisite of sustained concentration is a stumbling block for many who are looking for something to help them address exactly that issue.

Transcendental Meditation, however, is an effortless technique that anyone can do—even children. It is done for twenty minutes twice a day, and involves sitting comfortably while silently using a mantra that has no meaning.

The learning environment of the TM course is well-suited for people with ADHD. This is because the Personal Instruction:

  • is taught one-on-one
  • is always done in person 
  • is communicated with simple, clear instructions
  • takes place in a calm and quiet environment
  • gives the opportunity for personal interaction and asking questions
  • is supplemented with videos and articles in the TM app, to review the key points of the course in your own time

During TM practice, people tend to experience a profound quietness and stillness that remains with them throughout the day. Regular TM practice leads to decreased stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved focus, efficiency, academic performance, and creativity, and many other benefits.

One scientific study looked at students with ADHD before and after practicing the TM technique for three months.¹ They showed

and verbal fluency tests when compared with their results before learning TM.

"TM has been an ADHD game-changer. Every day my practice reveals more and more peace, focus, and sense of well-being." Blake, September 2023

How does Transcendental Meditation help with ADHD?

Many meditation practices claim to help people with ADHD in their daily lives, but few of these claims are backed up by scientific research. There are hundreds of published studies demonstrating the value of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

TM improves concentration

Difficulty with concentration or the inability to focus is one of the most frequently cited struggles for people with ADHD. In addition to how effortless the TM technique is to practice, a key difference between TM and other meditations, such as mindfulness, is

.

The alpha-one brainwaves evidenced by EEG tests during TM practice are distinct from the theta brainwave signature produced by mindfulness practice. Alpha-one brainwaves promote coherent brain functioning. This means greater cognitive function and a state of restful alertness that continues beyond the period of meditation.

“After two weeks, I’m already noticing some benefits - better concentration, increased creativity, a sense of relaxation.

I’d recommend this to everyone.” William, February 2022

In addition to better focus, there are several key areas where we witness improved performance for people with ADHD who are practicing TM regularly:

  • organization
  • memory
  • strategizing skills

TM reduces depression

The Transcendental Meditation technique allows access to a state of deep relaxation and inner peace while remaining wide awake. This provides a welcome relief to people with ADHD who also experience depression.

Many academic studies have shown the correlation between regular TM practice and decreased depression, and other psychological distress.

In 2018, 96 teachers and school administrators completed a Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS) before learning the TM technique, and again after four months of regular TM practice.² The results of the questionnaire taken four months later showed significant decreases in mood disturbances including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • anger
  • fatigue

“Learning TM has been life changing for me, especially as someone who struggles with anxiety and depression. It helps to quiet my mind and has given me hope that I can not only manage these conditions, but ultimately also recover from them.” Lulu, March 2021

TM decreases anxiety

People with ADHD are more likely to suffer from anxiety than the general population. The scientific evidence linking TM practice to decreased anxiety is well documented.

A 2016 study of active duty service members with anxiety compared the effects of regular practice of the TM technique to a control group who were not meditating.³

The cohort that did the TM technique had on average 20.5% decreased severity of psychological symptoms compared to the control group.

“I am now much, much calmer and able to deal with stress and anxiety much better. I highly recommend this course and practice.” Virginia, November 2022

TM deepens sleep

A lesser-known but keen struggle for people with ADHD is the difficulty of falling—and staying—asleep. The relationship between better sleep and Transcendental Meditation practice is seen in several scientific studies.

A randomized controlled study of high school students found those who practiced the TM technique had improved quality of sleep, amongst many other benefits (improved academic achievement and less emotional distress).⁴

“It’s incredible how easily you can practice and the results feel almost immediate. For the first time in years, I’m beginning to sleep through the night. I feel more rested and have more energy while feeling much less stress and anxiety.” Lara, January 2024

TM increases calmness

Finally, people with ADHD tend to be unable to sit still, particularly in quiet situations. One of the hallmarks of TM practice is the profound sense of calm it provides.

A 2015 pilot study of caregivers’ spiritual and mental well-being found significant improvements in perceived stress and feelings of calmness and resilience after two months of regular TM practice.⁵

“The TM practice is much more than I envisioned. A simple, natural and totally practical method to calm your life. I strongly recommend it to anyone dealing with burn out, anger, anxiety, fear or psychological stressors.” David, February 2024

How to get started with the TM technique

We’ve seen how Transcendental Meditation for ADHD can result in a significant reduction of wide-ranging symptoms and improved quality of life.

The first step to learning TM is connecting with a certified TM instructor near you for a free info session.

By Chloe Bonfield, May 16 2024

References:

  1. Grosswald SJ, Stixrud WR, Travis F, Bateh MA. Use of the Transcendental Meditation technique to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by reducing stress and anxiety: an exploratory study. Current Issues in Education [On-line] 2008 10(2)
  2. Travis F, Valosek L, Konrad A 4th, Link J, Salerno J, Scheller R, Nidich S. Effect of meditation on psychological distress and brain functioning: A randomized controlled study. Brain Cogn. 2018 Aug;125:100-105. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2018.03.011. Epub 2018 Jun 21. PMID: 29936408.
  3. Vernon A. Barnes, Andrea Monto, Jennifer J. Williams, John L. Rigg, Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Psychotropic Medication Use Among Active Duty Military Service Members With Anxiety and PTSD, Military Medicine, Volume 181, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 56–63
  4. Valosek L, Nidich S, Grant J, Peterson M, Nidich R. Effect of meditation on psychological stress and academic achievement in high school students: a randomized controlled study. Education 2021 141(4):192-200
  5. Nidich S, Nidich RJ, Salerno J, Hadfield B, Elder C (2015) Stress Reduction with the Transcendental Meditation program in Caregivers: A Pilot Study. Int Arch Nurs Health Care 1:011.