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Mental Health

The Effects Of Transcendental Meditation On Depression

May 4, 2017

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.

Why Transcendental Meditation?

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.

How Transcendental Meditation Works?

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.

Benefits of Transcendental Meditation on Depression

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.

Sharda Agarwal | Co-Founder, Sepalika

Sharda Agarwal | Co-Founder, Sepalika

Co-founder, Sepalika & Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Nutritional Therapy Association, USA

References:

Demos, J. N. (2005). Getting Started with Neurofeedback (Norton Professional Books). W. W. Norton & Company. Elder, C., Nidich, S., Moriarty, F., & Nidich, R. (2014). Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Stress, Depression, and Burnout: A Randomized Controlled Study. Perm. J., 19-23. Hopkins Medicine. (2014, January 6). Current News Releases. Retrieved from Johns Hopkins Medicine: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/meditation_for_anxiety_and_depression NIMH. (2015). Prevalence. Retrieved from National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml Rosenthal, N. E. (2011). Transcendence. Tarcher. SI., N., J.Z., F., M.V., R., R., P., D., C., J., K., . . . R.H., S. (2009). A randomized controlled trial of the effects of transcendental meditation on quality of life in older breast cancer patients. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 228-34. SI., N., M.V., R., D.A., H., J., H., J.W., S., F., T., . . . R.H., S. (2009). A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension, 1326-31. Slavich, G. M., & Irwin, M. R. (2014). From Stress to Inflammation and Major Depressive Disorder: A Social Signal Transduction Theory of Depression. Psychological Bulletin, 774-815.