Jenny is a high performer at a PR agency. The quality of her work shines, and she’s great with clients. Jenny’s manager and teammates admire her ability to think outside the box.
Behind the scenes, she’s also an employee who struggles. Jenny tends to agonize over her work to make it perfect and frequently underestimates the time she needs to complete projects. Working at night and on weekends has become part of her normal routine to meet deadlines. She’s often on the brink of burning out.
Jenny has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a form of neurodivergence, which means her brain works differently than the brains of average, or neurotypical, people. In fact, studies have shown that ADHD brains can have structural differences in the areas responsible for regulating emotions, behavior, and attention; planning; and multitasking.
Neurodivergent employees have greater mental health challenges
An estimated 10 million US adults have ADHD symptoms, but the disorder can affect people in different ways and often goes undiagnosed. Like Jenny, some employees with ADHD are able to perform at a high level despite struggles with procrastination, distractibility, perfectionism, and other issues associated with the disorder. Others with ADHD have more difficulty overcoming these challenges, which can affect their productivity and ability to succeed in a career.
Unsurprisingly, employees with ADHD or other forms of neurodivergence have greater mental health challenges than the general population. Calm’s 2023 Workplace Mental Health Trends Report shows that nearly 60% of neurodivergent employees feel nervous, anxious, and stressed more than half the time or nearly all the time, whereas 42% of the general population does. Similarly, about half of neurodivergent employees report feeling depressed nearly all the time and having trouble falling asleep, while about one-third of the general population does.
Calm research also found that neurodivergent employees wish their employers would offer more mental health support, including mental health tools to help them reduce stress and anxiousness and get better sleep.
Calm launches new mindfulness series for the ADHD community
To support the mental health needs of employees with ADHD, Calm is unveiling a new five-part mindfulness series with meditation instructor and writer Jeff Warren, who understands the challenges of ADHD firsthand. Though not officially diagnosed with the disorder until age 32, Jeff says he’s experienced its effects his entire life: “This feeling of my wheels spinning but not getting anywhere, the emotional intensity and overwhelm. All the ways things that seem so easy for others are completely impossible for me.”
Jeff’s mission is to empower people to take care of their mental health through the creative application of meditation and personal growth practices. Designed in consultation with ADHD clinical psychologist Dr. Alise Conner, his new Calm guided support focuses on bringing relief to people with ADHD by tuning in to the unique ways ADHD brains work. For example, each of the sessions is short and made in a fun and exploratory way for brains that like to wander.
The five-part series is intended to benefit the ADHD community by bringing insights about the ADHD experience, relief through compassion, a sense of calm, and mini pulses of focus and attention to break cycles of stress.
Here’s a sneak peek into Calm’s new ADHD Support Series by Jeff Warren:
- Freestyle Focus
With an ADHD brain, it can be hard to focus on just one thing. In this meditation, Jeff indulges a wandering mind, letting you swing your attention from near to far and back again. Learn how to drift and return without judgment as a key to self-regulation.
- Overwhelm SOS
If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, meet up with Jeff for some relief. He’ll help you feel looser through some playful physical movement and by tuning into what’s happening on the inside. And he’ll encourage you to breathe out tightness and give yourself a break.
- Feeling All the Feels
When you’re struggling to control your emotions, learn to roll with them rather than keep them from happening. You can do this guided support session in any situation—walking, sitting, petting your dog, or doing your hair. It’s designed to help you tap into your emotions and sensations in the moment and ride with them without needing to impulsively act.
- Be Kind to the Mind
It can be really frustrating to have an ADHD brain, but you can ease your frustration and come to a place of acceptance and even love. In this meditation, Jeff helps you explore self-compassion and find tenderness for your whole self, including your ADHD brain.
- The Good That’s Already Here
It’s easy to focus on the challenges ADHD brings, but have you considered its benefits? In six minutes, Jeff leads you on a journey to discover and appreciate your unique strengths, which can lead to relief and healing.
If you’re an employee with ADHD, join Jeff Warren on the Calm mobile and web app as he guides you through a meditation practice that helps you find relief, self-compassion, and acceptance.
If you’re an HR/benefits leader and want more information about how Calm Business can provide mental health resources to support your neurodivergent employees, contact us today.