In 2015, it was estimated that 6.7 % of the American population above the age of 18 had faced at least one major episode of depression over the last year. So, how should one cope with an illness that controls their mind? Transcendental Meditation (TM) is known to have extremely positive effects on depression.
Of all the meditation and relaxation programs in the world, TM is the most widely researched and studied, with over 340 peer-reviewed articles published on the subject. The format of TM is standardized; its instructors undergo a thorough certification program and it has many centers located across North America. What makes TM simpler to practice is that it doesn’t have religious overtones and is easy to follow.
TM is taught one-on-one by a trained teacher and an experienced meditator. Initial instruction consists of seven steps: Two lectures and a personal interview, followed by four teaching sessions of 90 minutes each.
After that, students are expected to meditate twice a day, for twenty minutes each, and check-in for a follow-up session with their teacher once a week, for a month. These follow-up sessions gradually taper off, depending on the student’s level of comfort.
Improved Focus: In experienced meditators, TM has been shown to increase brainwave coherence. In simple terms, it means TM helps different centers of the brain function in coordination with each other, instead of functioning independently. This improves a meditator’s ability to focus, solve problems and make decisions, things that a person with depression has trouble doing.
Relief from chronic conditions: Studies have shown the benefit of this technique of focused attention that TM prescribes in lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and helping people suffering from chronic conditions.
While being an effective treatment for depression, transcendental meditation is not a substitute or a standalone treatment for emotional disorders, especially if other forms of treatment are working and helping a patient. To deal with depression, you need a mix of several other scientific ways of which transcendental meditation can be an important part.