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Transcendental Meditation relieves stress, depression in adolescents

Ask the Doctors    Translate This Article
20 June 2011

Clinical neurophysiologist William Stixrud, PhD* and psychiatrist Dr Chris Clark, MD** describe how the Transcendental Meditation Technique brings relief to childhood and adolescent disorders including anxiety, depression, and obesity. Their discussion is featured on the website Ask the Doctors.

This article, the second in a series, features Dr Clark answering questions about childhood depression. Please also see Part I.

Q: My teenage son is not only anxious, but he gets depressed a lot. Is the Transcendental Meditation technique something that can help?

Dr. Clark:
Anxiety and depression are symptoms of stress. Children and adolescents often encounter stress at home and at school just as adults do in their jobs and relationships.

Research studies have demonstrated that the Transcendental Meditation technique not only reduces stress, it increases inner happiness, and results in improved flexibility, social ability, and self esteem. When children and adolescents learn the Transcendental Meditation program, they tend to find approval from within rather than needing it from the outside, which leads to greater independence and less influence from peer pressure.

Research shows that with the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, students improve significantly in academic performance and socialization skills. One striking example of a school where students practice the Transcendental Meditation technique is the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, where students have demonstrated high levels of success in academics, the arts, and athletics.

Q: Can children learn TM? And, if so, are there any negative side effects?

Dr. Clark:
Children can start the Transcendental Meditation technique at the age of ten. There are no side effects—research has found only positive benefits, such as greater focus, clarity of mind, improved grades at school, higher intelligence, more creativity and self-esteem. Children younger than ten can learn a special walking technique, which has been found to have a harmonious and stabilizing effect.

Click here for more about childhood and adolescent disorders and Transcendental Meditation, including related research showing the effects of the technique in promoting improved intelligence, creativity and learning ability; improved academics; improved school behavior; benefits for special and remedial education; and decreased depression and anxiety.

*William Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and director of William Stixrud & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, a group practice specializing in learning, attention, and social/emotional disorders. Dr. Stixrud is an adjunct faculty at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

**Christopher Clark, M.D., is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and a recipient of a child psychology fellowship from the University of Washington. He has practiced medicine for over 20 years and is currently a psychiatrist in Vero Beach, Florida.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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