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Researchers explore ways to lower students' stress
by Debra Viadero
Education Week, Vol. 23, Issue 38, Page 8 Translate This Article
3 December 2004
In May of 2004, Education Weekly published an article on the increasing use of stress reduction techniques in schools in order to help relieve student stress. Much of the focus was on the Transcendental Meditation Programme (TM), citing a study in the April 2004 edition of American Journal of Hypertension that showed a significant decrease in blood pressure in 156 hypertensive secondary school students after beginning the meditation technique. It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring fulfilment to the field of education.
According to the author, new research in the area of stress reduction and education is the result of a growing recognition that 'stress, anxiety, fear, and other negative emotions can interfere with learning,' and that children and teens are as easily affected by the debilitating effects of modern day stress as adults.
Although most of the recent studies on stress reduction techniques in schools have been conducted on a relatively small-scale, results suggest that programmes such as HeartMath and the Transcendental Meditation Programme, could help improve students' test scores.
According to the article, Vernon A Barnes, the researcher from the Medical College of Georgia who conducted the Transcendental Meditation study, ran into no objections from educators when he proposed teaching students the meditation techniques. Instead, noted the author, Mr Barnes found that Richmond County educators were concerned about their students' stress levels. Barnes stated that hypertension is of particular concern in black communities, such as those that surround many of Richmond County's schools. Studies now indicate that blood pressure problems may be twice as common among African-American youths as white youths.
The article described the TM study in detail. Participants were chosen specifically because their blood pressure levels were the highest of all the students screened. These students were then divided into two randomly assigned groups. One group meditated twice a day: once at school, for 15 minutes during homeroom period, and again in the evening for 15 minutes at home. The remaining students attended a 15-minute homeroom class each day in which they learned about controlling blood pressure through diet and exercise.
Four months later, a significant decrease was found in the blood pressure levels of the students who practised TM. The comparison group experienced no change in blood pressure levels. When the meditating group was checked four months later, blood pressure rates had continued to remain low.
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Copyright © 2004 Global Good News(sm) Service.
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