Replace stress with optimism?

You see the world in a different light when you are less stressed

New research shows TM is very effective at reducing depression.

The world looks different when you’re relaxed and rested.

Problems look smaller, you are ready to enjoy life.

Why do we feel low? Because we feel we can’t cope, that we aren’t getting anywhere in life, or don’t attract the things we think will make us happy. We just can’t see further than our problems.

But the CEO of a corporation doesn’t sit in the middle of the shop floor of one branch of the company. They take an overall view of the business so that they can get a true idea of what is needed.

TM clears away tension and fatigue so we can think more clearly and be able to see the ‘big picture’.

Life unfolds more smoothly and obstacles to our goals and desires are reduced. And, of course, then you feel happier,and enjoy life more.

Research on TM and depression

Reduced depression
TM is an effective method of reducing the symptoms of depression.

*Reference: 31st Annual Meeting of Society of Behavioural Science, Seattle, USA.

We asked some meditators to tell us how TM helped them:

“I am happier and more creative now than I ever would have imagined.”

“I just wish I had started to meditate years ago, but I never realized it was something that you can be taught! What a joy it has been to learn TM—it’s such a beautifully easy and natural technique.”

– Mindy Weisel, artist.

(Mindy’s art hangs in museums and institutions around the world, including the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American Art, and the Israel Museum.)

“There’s a certain equanimity there most of the time, which is really, really nice.”

Terry Freedman, Head of E-Education, Tower Hamlets Borough Council.

What made you decide to learn TM?

“Well, two things. I saw an article in the paper which was talking about all the benefits and so on, physiological benefits, psychological benefits, and I thought it sounded a little too good to be true, but as it did sound so good and the talk was free, I thought I’d be mad not to go.

“And then what prompted me to learn once I got there was not so much the statistics and the research they were talking about but the fact that everyone who was there representing TM had a certain glow about them. They just looked really contented and happy.

“I was very happy at the time myself, and I just thought what they were saying sounded like a load of rubbish, and was too good to be true, but they all had something. And I thought what they all had in common was that they did TM. So I thought I’d investigate it further. And the next time I went I was even more convinced by that, and I’ve basically not looked back.”

Has Transcendental Meditation affected your health?

“I don’t lead what you might call a healthy lifestyle, even though I try. I don’t really exercise; I do tend to eat sweet things and all the rest of it.

“When I did a first aid course last year, as part of the course they take your blood pressure. The bloke who was running the course called everyone else over, and said ‘This is textbook’. He said ‘You’re absolutely perfect – perfect heartbeat.’

“My colleagues couldn’t believe it, because the most exercise they’ve seen me do is unwrapping a sandwich. And I definitely think Transcendental Meditation must have something to do with that, because you can’t live the ridiculous sort of lifestyle I live, sometimes working 16 hour days, (and I’m in my early fifties) without there being some reason for it. TM, to my mind, must be the factor.”

Does TM make you feel calm, then?

“You don’t stop feeling emotions as result of doing TM. I still get angry, I still get happy, I still get sad, and I still get upset over things, but what does happen is that that is no longer all of it, there’s part a of me that isn’t upset. There’s a certain equanimity there most of the time, which is really, really nice.”

Common Questions about TM and depression

I get severe episodes of depression every few years. Will the Transcendental Meditation technique prevent these episodes?

TM helps to bring balance in those with depression.

It may not prevent episodes of depression entirely, but many people say that TM helps their mood remain more stable and promotes better health.

We have found that people who do TM regularly have more stable moods and more balanced activity.

If I practice TM will I still need to take antidepressants?

People with depression and taking antidepressants can certainly benefit from TM practice.

The benefits of TM are accumulative and gradual . . . don’t rush it. It is important to allow the brain physiology to normalize.

Continue with your medication and your meditation and later, after a period without depression, you may choose to consult with your doctor about the possibility of tapering off.

We recommend that you always work with your doctor regarding your medication and not stop it on your own.

If I close my eyes, my mind is filled with thoughts about the things I have to do or about problems I have to solve. I can’t stop these thoughts, so how could I ever successfully practice the Transcendental Meditation technique?

This is not a problem since in the practice of TM we don’t go against this natural tendency of the mind to be active.

With the TM technique we guide the mind to more refined or settled levels of activity and this leads the physiology to very deep rest.

It’s easy and natural. When people have this experience of restful alertness on a daily basis, they naturally start feeling more calm, clear and focused in activity.

Research on Reducing Depression

TM has long been known to help with depression. People suffering from post-traumatic stress problems who learned the TM technique showed significant reduction in depression after four months, compared to others who were randomly assigned to receive psychotherapy and did not show significant reduction in depression, according to a study published in The Journal of Counselling and Development in the 70’s. New research backs this up.

Reduced depression

The Transcendental Meditation® technique is an effective approach to reduce symptoms of depression, according to two new studies presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, Washington April 9th, 2010.

The studies, conducted at Charles Drew University in Los Angeles and University of Hawaii in Kohala included African Americans and Native Hawaiians, 55 years and older, who were at risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants were randomly allocated to the Transcendental Meditation program or health education control group, and assessed with a standard test for depression—the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) inventory over 9-12 months.

Participants in both studies who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant reductions in depressive symptoms compared to health education controls. The largest decreases were found in those participants who had indications of clinically significant depression, with those practicing Transcendental Meditation showing an average reduction in depressive symptoms of 48%.

“The clinically significant reductions in depression without drugs or psychotherapy in these studies suggest the Transcendental Meditation program may improve mental and associated physical health in older high risk subjects,” said Robert Schneider MD FACC, director of MUM’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention.

“The importance of reducing depression in the elderly at risk for heart disease cannot be overestimated,” said Gary P. Kaplan MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology NYU School of Medicine. “Any technique not involving extra medication in this population is a welcome addition. I look forward to further research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and prevention of depression in other at-risk elderly populations, including those with stroke and other chronic diseases.”

The studies were funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health – National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and National Center for Complementary and Medicine.

  • 12.4 million women and 6.4 million men in the U.S. suffer from depression.
  • Approximately 20% of the elderly suffers from some form of depression according the National Institutes of Health.
  • Depression is an important risk factor for the development and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research has found that a dose-response effect exists whereby the level of depressive symptoms is linearly associated with the prevalence of cardiac events. Even a moderate level of depressive symptoms increases the risk for cardiac events.
  • The Medical Outcomes Study determined that depression was more impairing in terms of patient functioning and well being than arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension, among others, and is more disruptive for social functioning than all of the chronic medical conditions.
  • Research has shown that approximately 50% of patients suffering from major depression can be left undiagnosed by general practitioners.
  • Depression accounts for $83.1 billion in medical care and workplace costs.

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