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ADHD, Restlessness and Impulsivity; “Really, You Won’t Die”

Ron Arad chairI’ve been working through Jack Kornfield’s series; “The Inner Art of Meditation’, and I have to say I am incredibly impressed with his instruction and ability to ground us in our practice.  I never thought of myself as particularly ‘H’ of ADHD, but more of an I for impulsivity.  In working through meditation, I am finding I am much, much more H than I never realized, and that in sitting through this H using meditation I can dramatically impact how it influences my life.

I had a horrible meditation yesterday, and every inch of my being was kicking and screaming saying MOVE.  I was just SO uncomfortable in my sitting position and it was painful to sit still, not because of any medical condition but just because I wanted to explode physically like I was about to fall over in a chair and had all that building energy.   I did it anyway.

After the sitting, Jack Kornfield talks about what to do if you have that total and complete restless feeling in you.  That feeling of “I can’t sit here for another second” using whatever excuse you need to get you out of the feeling.  He said if it gets THAT hard, and your mind simply WON’T sit still…  (drum roll)…  too bad, sit through it, you aren’t going to die, nobody has ever died from restlessness.  So much for my pass to escape.

I got a number of comments on a previous meditation post that said meditation should NOT be painful.  I agree in many respects.  If your back is bad don’t hurt it more, if you have a broken leg don’t sit on the floor just to do it, etc.  However I also believe that some things in life that are good for us take discipline and may be extremely uncomfortable at first, but it doesn’t mean you should not be doing it.

You know what I got sitting through my discomfort yesterday?  The realization that, no, I won’t die. And that sitting through it, while uncomfortable in the short-term, is extremely beneficial to me in the long-term.

Continuing to practice my meditation will help me:

  • Reduce my impulsivity; I don’t have to act NOW, no matter how strong that desire inside me feels.
  • Stop running from my emotions; Sitting through the anxiety, discomfort, anger, frustration, and everything else I might feel, is OK.  It all passes.
  • Allow me to live more in the moment; I don’t have to be rushing around to feel productive, what I am really searching for in that productivity is peace within.

I wish I had meditated as a younger person.  For the first time in my life, I feel like I am making my biggest contribution to society while exhibiting the least amount of effort.  I’m taking time out to care for myself and make better short-term decisions that will benefit me in the long-term, and I am being rewarded.  Meditation is BY FAR the best tool I have found that trains me to literally sit through my impulses, as they, too, shall pass.

What helps you most with your impulsivity / hyperactivity?

Creative Commons License photo credit: clogette

ADHD, Restlessness and Impulsivity; “Really, You Won’t Die”

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2011). ADHD, Restlessness and Impulsivity; “Really, You Won’t Die”. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 27 Apr 2011
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