Spiritual Life with ADHD

Hey! So I have ADHD, and frequently get distracted in prayer or when reading my Bible. When reading in general, it is really difficult for me to stay focused. I was wondering if any of you has any advice or knew of Coptic (or at least general Orthodox) resources I could use for advice on keeping my focus on God while managing ADHD?

Thank you!! :)


  • I listen to Ambient music on headphones while I pray from time to time. Also, using audio sources works well. I do not have ADHD, but I work with people who have different forms of attention disorders and autism.

    I have found if you keep something in the background, like a drone-like tone, it helps to catch your attention enough to not wonder with your thoughts, and focus on the sounds while you pray. I don't know many resources in regards to an Orthodox way of praying with ADHD, but keeping a somewhat stimulated environment seems to help people to have a few things going on to bounce back and not get too off track.
  • I've never used a drone like noise. Is it similar to white noise?
  • i expect one of the longer coptic hymns will do the trick, for example evlogimenos (blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord)

    also have some icons to look at. print out some paper ones if u don't have any wooden ones.

    i think orthodox churches are the best places for people with any sensory disorder, there is noise but not too much, colour but not too much, smell but not too much etc.
    so maybe make a small corner of your house into a prayer corner that looks like a church
  • Honestly it's not so much sensory as it is Attention Deficit.
  • edited December 2017

    Our churches are a blessing, as well as our hymns and icons, and especially the beauty of the Divine Liturgy.

    Although your suggestions are not improper, telling someone with any form of ADHD or ADD and most importantly sensory or Autism Spectrum Disorders (which would be regarded as a sensory disorders) to create a more stimulated environment, especially with all the senses that are awoken during the Divine Liturgy, would actually be regressive to helping their behaviors. But, I do agree completely with icons and listening to hymns, perhaps not long ones, but a playlist of hymns or spiritual songs?(Coptic of course) I tend to use more basic examples because I work with a secular company.

    Yeah, it's kind of like a white noise type of thing. Just something in the background to occupy your mind. I cannot sit and read, so I tend to use audiobooks or YouTube to watch or listen to things. You need something to fill the space so your mind doesn't wander. God knows mine sure does!
  • Do you think instrumental tracks would be effective? I have tracks of like spiritual songs (non-orthodox, tho) that are all in instrumental form.

    Also, one thing that really frustrates me is that I've heard people say things like "If you're bored/distracted in Church you're gonna be bored/distracted in heaven." And then I have to remind myself that in heaven I wouldn't have ADHD anymore.
  • edited December 2017

    I have the Tunein app, and they have something called, "Copt4g Radio." They have talk in English and Arabic, separate stations, and they have something called "Copt4g for Meditation." It has the normal Egyptian melodies and instruments, but has the overdubs of an Abouna talking in Arabic (I don't speak Arabic well enough to follow), but it's certainly relaxing.

    Yeah, instrumentation is great because it gives you just enough to keep you from thinking about what you are going to do when your done, what bills you have to pay, all that good stuff, without being the cause of your distraction. Test stuff out and see what works! It took me a year to stop focusing on myself and what I had to do after the Liturgy, to now having an almost clear mind.

    It's a cultural thing that will probably be gone by the time the kids born here have families and children in a Western culture. I always try to give the benefit of the doubt because our modern culture and technologies create an environment for developing such disorders.

    You are correct that Egyptians tend to be very niaeve about such disorders as OCD, and ADHD. Which is odd because Psychiatry is a fairly common vocation in the culture. I have prayed with enough priests to know some guy are very picky , especially monks. It took me a lot to get over not having everything done in a specific way on the altar. So, I completely understand from my job and even my own personality!
  • How did you do that for the Liturgy? (Because I can't really stick ear buds in then).
    Does getting used to using the instrumental tracks on your own time begin to help even when you don't have them?
    Also, what would you recommend I do if I find myself being distracted even by the instrumentals. Ie. I start mentally singing along or listening too much to the music trying to figure out the song or something like that? Like how would you recommend I bring myself back to focus. (I ask because this has actually happened quite a few times) haha :)
  • @Lovejoypeace_ I also have ADHD, so I can share some of my tips.
    1) Focus deeply on the words. Learn them, understand them, live them, and maybe it won't seem so boring. That helped me get over long Coptic hymns like Pek`;ronoc and Tenen `o;en
    1.5) Be involved! If you let the deacons do all the singing then it becomes much easier to get bored.

    2) It's been said, but try some of the longer hymns that have lots of energy, like Eulogimenoc or Vai `etafenf, and try tip 1 with them.

    3) If/when you lose focus, remember that it's not your fault! I'm guessing those who told you about being "distracted in heaven" are from an older generation, and you made an obvious point: we will have new bodies in the new Jerusalem, and no one will have glasses or diabetes or epilepsy or cancer or ADHD or anything like that. About coming back into focus: realize where you are in either the hymn or liturgy and focus in. Say to yourself what is happening literally and spiritually. I often zone out during the (Basilian) Prayer of Reconciliation so I always remind myself "This is where I get close to God. Abouna is praying for me to be reconciled with God so I can partake of Him," and it usually helps.

    I know this may seem redundant and impractical, but that's what has worked for me.
  • @Daniel_kyrillos

    That is really helpful. Thank You! :)

    Also, I was wondering if you knew any good resources where I can learn the Alhan better, because unfortunately I don't really know it well. I am beginning to learn to read Coptic, so for slower hymns I can read it from the screen in Church, but with the faster hymns it's a lot harder. I feel like if I knew them I would be able to better focus on singing them.

    I was also wondering if you also had any tips/strategies for not getting distracted during personal prayer/quiet time. I find I often fail after only a couple of minutes to remain still/silent.
  • edited December 2017
    But on the upside, I've wanted to know the Church Fathers better, but was worried because I have trouble focusing when reading, and yesterday I found a bunch of writings on Audible! :D I guess I have something else to do after finals. :D
  • For church fathers, try “When the Church was Young” by Marcellino D’Ambrosio
  • edited December 2017
    That's there too! :) I think when my family asks me what I want for Christmas, Imma say "audible gift cards" Rofl!! :')
  • @Lovejoypeace_ the YouTube channel "Learn Coptic Hymns" gives great instructional videos with hazzat (notes, but less organized and more Egyptian) along with ways to download them.

    As for during silent prayers, don't be afraid to start praying your own personal prayers! If we have a prayer meeting with the other youth at my church, dont expect me to do focus in with them. It's not plausible for someone with AD(H)D!
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