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National Institutes of Health spotlights TM research
by Linda Mainquist
TM.org - Transcendental Meditation Blog
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19 June 2010
A recent study found daily Transcendental Meditation (TM) practice helps young adults decrease psychological stress and increase coping ability. For a group of students at high risk for developing hypertension, these changes also were associated with decreases in blood pressure. The study was conducted at American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. and involved hundreds of meditating university undergraduate and graduate students. The study was published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
The results of the study are now being highlighted on the research page of the official website of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.*
Those of us who work at universities know that a huge number of students are experiencing more academic, financial, and social stress than ever before, and this pressure frequently leads to serious problems. This experience is borne out by a growing body of research documenting rising stress among college students.
A study conducted at Kansas University, which included 13,000 students, found that over the 13-year period of time, the percentage of students with depression rose from 21 percent to 41 percent. The percentage of suicidal students rose from 5 to 9 percent, and students with stress and anxiety problems rose from 36 to 62 percent.
My work in counseling psychology makes me especially concerned about the counterproductive ways that today's young adults are dealing with this these problems. Studies indicate that 44% of college students are binge drinkers, 10 million students are taking antidepressant medication, student counseling centers are overwhelmed by the rising number of students reporting anxiety disorders, and suicide has risen to be the 3rd leading cause of death among teens.
Can the TM program really help? I think American University's study provides solid evidence it can.
The meditating students in this study at AU were also asked to summarize their subjective experiences after a semester of TM practice. Here's a sample:
''I'm just as busy as I was last semester, but since I have been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, I don't feel as overwhelmed as I did then. It's easier to stay organized. I'm more efficient, staying on top of things—both in the big picture and keeping track of the details. I am much happier and freer to take on more things. Also when I make mistakes I'm better able to deal with them practically and emotionally, simply taking corrective steps without beating myself up. My relationships with others are better because my relationship with myself is better.''
—Anne Barton-Veenkant, Georgetown University.
You can read some of the other experiences these university students had by clicking benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Program.
* This news item on the US Transcendental Meditation website also includes a link to the research page of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and a video of one of the students in the study speaking about his own experience with Transcendental Meditation.
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