At a time when student stress is on the rise in high school and college campuses, a new study suggests Transcendental Meditation (TM) can be an effective antidote for emotional distress.
A recent survey by UCLA researchers found that the percentage of students reporting good or above-average high school emotional health dropped from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 51.9 percent in 2010, the lowest level in 25 years.
Charles Elder, M.D., lead author of the TM study and an investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, emphasized the important implications of the findings on reduced stress.
“It is vital that we start addressing the high levels of emotional stress being reported by high school and college students. Decreased stress can have a positive impact on mental health, and can also reduce the risk for hypertension, obesity, and diabetes—major risk factors for heart disease,” Elder said.
“These new findings on reduced stress, along with the recent research on academic achievement gains, hold tremendous promise for public education,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., principal investigator and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management.
“There is a growing body of evidence showing Transcendental Meditation to be an easy to implement, value-added educational program that promotes emotional health and increases academic achievement in at-risk students,” said Nidich.
Researchers followed 106 secondary school students, consisting of 87 percent racial and ethnic minorities over a four-month period. Results showed that students practicing Transcendental Meditation as part of their schools’ Quiet Time program exhibited significant reductions in psychological distress factors compared to controls.
Experts content that stress is the number one enemy of public education — especially in inner-city schools. Stress contributes to tension, violence, and compromises the cognitive and psychological capacity of students to learn and grow.
“The TM/Quiet Time program is the most powerful, effective program I have come across in my 39 years as a public school educator for addressing this problem. It is nourishing children and providing them an immensely valuable tool for life. It is saving lives” said James Dierke, 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals—National Middle School Principal of the Year.
This study, conducted with at-risk minority secondary school students, is published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology.