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FAQ on ADHD and the Transcendental Meditation® technique

The extensive research on the technique TM suggests that by reducing stress, it can help students develop their brain to work efficiently, creatively, and with flexibility. It can also reduce the risk that children and adolescents will be burdened by depression, anxiety, chemical abuse, eating disorders, or self-injury.

—Dr. William Stixrud
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Children's National medical Center, George Washington Medical School

The results were quite remarkable. The twice daily meditations smoothed things out, gave her perspective, and enabled her to be in greater control of her own life when things started falling apart. it took some time, but it gradually changed the way she handled crises and enabled her to feel confident that she could take on greater challenges—in her own words, ‘climb a mountain.’

—Daryl Schoenbach, about her meditating teenage daughter who has ADHD

How does the TM technique work? How does it affect behavior?

The TM technique is practiced for a short time twice daily. In several schools around the country, students diagnosed with ADHD meditate together in a class. They just sit comfortably, close their eyes, and meditate along with teachers who also practice the TM technique.

The teachers consistently report that the students are less stressed and more open to learning than they were before learning TM. There are also markedly fewer episodes of anger, less fights, and fewer tantrums.

The students themselves say they are able to focus better, and able to work more independently on tasks like doing their homework.

Are there improvements in executive functioning in students practicing the TM technique?

Yes. In the research to date, standard instruments commonly used to assess the brain’s executive function show improved organization and planning, improved problem-solving, improved task execution, improved attention, and improved memory.

Can you describe the Transcendental Meditation technique?

The TM technique is a specific, unique form of meditation. It is a simple, natural process that allows the mind to settle down to a state of restful alertness. As the mind settles down, the body becomes deeply relaxed. As thinking settles down, the mind transcends the busy mental activity, and experiences deep silence.

This creates a mental quietness that an ADHD child or adult so rarely gets to experience. It also creates physiological and neuropsychological changes resulting in integration and coherence of brain functioning.

What exactly is integration and coherence of brain functioning?

The restful alertness that is experienced during the TM technique creates more connectedness in the frontal areas of the brain, the areas that control impulsive actions, judgment, and social cues. That means more parts of the brain are working together.

This integrated functioning, in turn, strengthens the circuits, creating better communication of one part of the brain with another, so it’s more coherent.

Is it easy for students with ADHD to learn to meditate?

The TM technique is so simple and effortless that it is easy even for a child (or adult) with ADHD. It doesn’t involve any concentration or control of the mind, or any philosophy, religion, or change of lifestyle.

Just the fact that these students are able to sit quietly for ten minutes is a big change for them. And they don’t have to try to sit quietly — they just settle down easily and naturally.

What has research found on TM’s effect on stress?

Studies have found a 50% or more reduction in stress in children and adolescents with ADHD.