Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

How TM helped calm and center a young woman’s busy mind—inspiring article in new Irish magazine

October 11, 2013

A new magazine, Upside News, came out on Dublin’s north side in Ireland. Their website is still under construction, but here is a description on their Facebook page. They asked someone for an article on Transcendental Meditation.

John Burns

John Burns

Since Christine Ryan was the contact person, John Burns, Communications Director for TM in Ireland, persuaded her to write about her experience of the technique. John said he sent the editor an article he had written along with Christine’s TM experience and told him he thought what she had written was so good that he should use it instead if space was an issue. The editor got back to John and said that he would print Christine’s piece.

Good decision; it’s a fantastic personal account! When I asked John to tell me more about the author, he said, “Christine is training to be a school teacher. She is just someone who really appreciates her TM.” I asked John to send a picture of Christine, a PDF of the magazine article, and a link when it’s posted online, which I’ll add when they’re available. Here’s what she wrote:

“As a twenty-four year old trying to find your place in the world, weaving your way around the many forks in the road that separate all of the possible paths down which to venture, it can be hard to tease out your own true voice in an increasingly noisy world.

I am an introverted, intellectual, always-something-to-think-about child of the technological generation. It seems easy to assume I would have trouble turning my awareness away from words on a page, the lure of the internet, my mobile phone, the radio buzzing and the drilling noise vibrating from the neighbour’s house a few doors down where a posse of hard-working, bellowing construction workers are knocking down two walls in her house only to put six back up. But TM is natural and it is effortless, when you learn how to do it.

What TM gives me is stillness and silence. For twenty minutes twice a day, I go to a place of silence that already exists within me. It happens effortlessly and spontaneously. As a helpless analyser of all things, this initially seemed impossible for me to swallow but I very quickly discovered its truth. The noise of the world disappears and I arrive at a place of beautiful quiet.

TM is like diving into a pool of light that washes away dirt and darkness, and emerging fresh and invigorated. During my TM practice, I feel my body settle into a deep state of rest and an overwhelming sense of calm and stillness pervades it. I feel free from the shackles of stress and exhaustion. I experience a sense of unity and peace. Without any resolve to do so, this sense of wholeness and calm lingers on when my meditation has ended; the effects of my TM practice spontaneously ripple forward into my activity.

Almost seven months into my second year of practising TM, I feel greater clarity in my thinking; as a busy thinker this has been such a profound change that TM has brought me. My relationships are infused with a sense of ease now. My thinking is sharper, ideas flow more easily, and my energy is lasting and productive. I feel less uncertain about decisions to be made and a greater vibrancy in my creative endeavours.

As I continue to meditate, the effects grow stronger. My wonderful TM teacher, Ann, put it simply: “It’s like going to the gym,” she said. “You feel great for the first few weeks that you’re going, but if you stop going, you’ll lose the benefits bit by bit.” I may not get to the gym (or exercise for that matter!) every day, but sitting in a chair in my sweats, with messy un-brushed hair, allowing my mind to simply settle down to a place of profound stillness and emerging twenty minutes later energised and renewed—now that I can do!

I was never one to easily identify with, or apply, the principle of “go with the flow,” but as I continue to practise TM I edge all the more closer to fully understanding exactly what that means. TM has resigned stress and anxiety to a state out of tune with the natural rhythm and flow of my body and mind. It puts things into perspective. To connect with that constant centre of calm and stillness that lies within me, regardless of what is happening in my life, and to find that stillness lingering during activity has been one of the greatest joys of learning TM.

Visionary filmmaker, veteran meditator, and prolific speaker and activist for TM, David Lynch, said it best when he said: “TM is for human beings.” The truth of his words find significance in the shared experiences of the benefits of TM by meditators around the globe, young and old, from all religions and all walks of life, from those behind bars to those raised high on a platform called “celebrity.”

In the monthly group meditation meetings I meet meditators of all ages: veterans to novices, students to retirees and everything in between. In a world that breeds so much disconnection and discord, it is a joy to practice a simple technique that allows for an awareness of the integral similarity between us all.

TM recharges me mentally and physically. My morning and evening TM practice have become the pillars onto which I anchor my day. I can hear my own inner voice more clearly again and those forks in the road don’t loom quite so ominously now.”

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD? Article for Ageless Living by Helen Foster-Grimmett

December 14, 2012

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD?
By Helen Foster-Grimmett

Tonight, my husband told me that this article lacked pizzazz. I said: “Sorry, my serotonin is seasonally challenged – no sparkle.” I find myself standing in front of travel agency windows mesmerized by posters of sun-drenched Hawaii, Mexico, Barbados. Mauritius looks delicious.

By Christmas – the season to be jolly – some people have been feeling sad, down, or downright depressed since the onset of autumn. And they’ll motor on through to the first buds of spring feeling the same way. If you are one of those people, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about five million Canadians experience the “winter blues,” a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. At least two to three percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed as “SAD” – an apt acronym. People with SAD often feel a sense of happiness on a cloudy day when the sun peeks through the clouds, then deflated when the clouds cover the sky again. It’s as if the clouds are a manifestation of their minds. For people with SAD, those inner clouds can be dark, and they sometimes don’t lift until the spring flowers bloom and sunshine is more constant. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that women are more at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder than men: eight times as many women as men report having SAD. Although the reasons for this are not defined, one suggestion is that women may spend more time indoors with their children than men and, therefore, less time in sunlight.

Sunless and SAD
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they generally link it to lack of sunlight. SAD is rare in those living within 30 degrees of the equator, where daylight hours are consistently long and bright. It is more common in northern countries, including Canada, where bright winter sunlight is sparse. Lack of light may upset our cycles and other rhythms. It may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin, which affects mood. People with mild winter blues manage to cope throughout the season. However, those diagnosed with SAD could feel more severe symptoms, including:
• Depression, apathy, negative thoughts, loss of self-esteem
• Sleep problems
• Lethargy, fatigue
• Overeating or little appetite
• Difficulty with concentration and memory
• Withdrawn – finding it hard to be around people
• Anxiety
• Inability to deal with stress
If you are affected by any of these symptoms, take heart: there are remedies that work wonders for SAD.

Relief for SAD Symptoms
Millions of people with SAD have been helped by the work of Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renowned psychiatrist. Rosenthal and his team at the National Institute of Mental Health pioneered research that first led to describing Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the use of light therapy to treat it.

According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association in the UK, “light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of diagnosed cases.” Light therapy is now routinely prescribed for SAD in northern countries, but at the time Rosenthal and his team first used it, the results were dramatic. In his New York Times best-selling book Transcendence, Dr. Rosenthal recalls a comment from one of his colleagues. He had noticed a remarkable change in a patient who had been having light therapy for SAD for just one week: “I don’t know what treatment she is receiving, but she’s blooming like a rose!” A vivid metaphor for our need for light from the life-giving sun.

Dr. Rosenthal’s other guide for readers who suffer from SAD is called Winter Blues. This book provides a self-test that readers can use to evaluate their own seasonal mood changes, presents remedies for SAD, research on the use of medication, and new recipes to counterbalance unhealthy winter food cravings. A cautionary caveat: if you or someone you know is seriously depressed, it is imperative to seek professional advice, as depression can be debilitating or even life-threatening.

The good news? The incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder decreases with age. So for all you seniors out there, as we approach the holiday season, ‘tis truly the season for you to be jolly!

Helen Foster-Grimmett writes on issues of health, education, and stress management. These days you may find her outside travel agency windows, looking wistful. Article references available upon request.

This is Helen’s 2nd article for the Canadian magazine, Ageless Living. You can read her first article there: The Answer To Cancer.

For more information on Dr. Norman Rosenthal, his work and books: Winter Blues, and Transcendence, visit: http://normanrosenthal.com.

Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point

November 12, 2012

Soledad O’Brien interviews Bob Roth and Russell Simmons on Starting Point

This morning, November 12, 2012, in honor of Veterans Day, CNN’s Starting Point news anchor Soledad O’Brien interviewed Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation. They talked about the successful use of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in healing veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Click on the title to see the (3:41) clip from the interview Vets find wellness in meditation. The show airs weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET.

Bob Roth and Russell Simmons

Hip-hop founder, fashion designer and philanthropist Russell Simmons is on the board of The David Lynch Foundation. Bob Roth, a 40-year teacher of Transcendental Meditation, is the executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and president of Operation Warrior Wellness, the newest division to bring relief to veterans and their families suffering from PTS, and to develop greater resilience in cadets at military colleges.

Soledad O’Brien, anchor of CNN’s morning news program Starting Point

Bob Roth described the benefits veterans were experiencing with Transcendental Meditation. Soledad O’Brien enthusiastically said, “What a great gift for Veterans’ Day, when you think about it. I mean if you can give some peace of mind and some calmness in dealing with some of the terrible things they experienced.”

Soldiers practicing Transcendental Meditation

Bob mentioned DLF working with the VA, the Wounded Warrior Project and many military bases. He also mentioned Norwich University, home to the oldest private military college in the nation, using TM to develop resiliency in their cadets. See the Norwich University video Meditation Improves Performance at Military University.

Research shows reductions in anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse and heart disease. One study showed a 50 percent reduction in PTS symptoms within 1-2 months. See Veterans show a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation. See this video of Norwich University Professor Carol Bandy presenting findings of TM on resilience and psychological hardiness in cadets and veterans.

Here is the latest video of veterans discussing their PTS experiences and relief with Transcendental Meditation: Training from the Inside: Treating PTSD with TM.  Click on the titles listed at the end of that post to see other videos and articles on this subject. Also see video highlights of the Iowa Veterans Summit – PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

And here is the full CNN interview now available on YouTube.

Norman Rosenthal spoke in Chicago on Light and Transcendence—alternative modalities to reduce stress, optimize health

September 11, 2012

Norman Rosenthal, M.D., was in Chicago September 5-7 to deliver a series of talks at various medical, educational, and public venues. His main theme was using Light and Transcendence as alternative approaches to reduce stress and optimize health. Dr. Rosenthal addressed 200 people at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center Wednesday evening, spoke on Thursday with staff and students at Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola, and talked with health care and other professionals as a guest of the Chicago Lakeshore Hospital at a Friday luncheon.

Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned psychiatrist and author whose research in describing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneering the use of light therapy has helped millions of people. The New York Times best-seller, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation, is out in paperback this month (September 2012), with a Foreword written by Mehmet C. Oz M.D., and a new concluding chapter, After Transcendence.

At the same time, Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat SAD, which the New York Times called “a landmark book,” is being released in its revised and updated fourth edition. It includes a chapter, Meditation for the Winter Blues.

Stressful times affect health and happiness

Economic challenges, the feeble job market and information overload, not to mention the drought, conspire to stretch people to the breaking point. Everyone is experiencing some degree of stress and anxiety in their lives. In fact, the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that 40 million adults, one in seven, have some type of anxiety disorder.

Dr. Rosenthal pointed out the current epidemic of stress has resulted in cardiovascular disease as well as psychiatric disorders. It effects everyone from war veterans to the general public. “Having witnessed the mental and spiritual anguish of many hundreds of people,” he said, “I find the potential clinical power of this technique (TM) amazing.”

Transcendental Meditation—a simple effective solution

A Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, Dr. Rosenthal was initially very skeptical about the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique for beating stress and anxiety. After examining the research, however, he said, “I came to scoff and remained to pray,” paraphrasing a famous line from Irish writer, playwright, and physician Oliver Goldsmith‘s poem The Deserted Village.

Dr. Rosenthal at University of Chicago Gleacher Center explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain producing different results

The former NIMH researcher explained three different categories of meditation and how they effect the brain. He said having the right instruction in meditation can make a world of difference in the results.

Dr. Rosenthal described research examining the Transcendental Meditation program resulting in hard evidence not seen with other meditation techniques. He cited improvements in cardiovascular health, reduced drug, alcohol and tobacco use, reduced PTS symptoms in veterans, and studies showing significant reductions in health care costs and utilization resulting from twice daily TM practice.

Mr. Ulrich Sandmeyer, co-owner with his wife Ellen, of Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, an independent Chicago bookseller, brought Dr. Rosenthal’s books to every event. He does this service for speakers 3-4 times a week and has done so for 20 years.  He said that Norman Rosenthal was the most compelling speaker he has ever encountered. Coming from Mr. Sandmeyer that says a lot!

Thanks to Carla Brown, Ed.D., co-director of the Transcendental Meditation Program in the Greater Chicago Area, for organizing these events for Dr. Rosenthal and for sending us some highlights of the tour.

Click on Transcendental Meditation Visualized [Infographic] to see this new post on Dr. Rosenthal’s blog. He says, “The infographic below is brought to you as a resource and extension of the book ‘Transcendence,’ which features some of the main points about Transcendental Meditation that I highlighted in the book.”

Related posts on this topic

Dr. Norman Rosenthal gives an engaging talk to medical staff at Northern Westchester Hospital

PsychCentral reviews Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence: Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Dr. Catherine Ulbricht interviews psychiatrist and author Dr. Norman Rosenthal for Natural Standard

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

Additional information on Norman Rosenthal, Transcendence and Winter Blues are listed below and available in his Press Kit.

(more…)

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness

July 10, 2012

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, an open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation, in Fairfield, Iowa.

Veterans are overcoming PTSD through meditation and reclaiming their lives. Meditation Saves A Veteran From Suicide is a video of Iowa veteran Luke Jensen describing his experiences in Afghanistan, how he tried to deal with his PTSD, and what finally worked for him.

After reading about Luke’s situation in a Des Moines Register article: Former undercover cop, MP battles PTSD: How Afghanistan service affected one soldier, Jerry Yellin, co-director for Operation Warrior Wellness, reached out to Luke and offered him a scholarship from the David Lynch Foundation to learn Transcendental Meditation.

As a result of learning to meditate, and the relief it brought him and his wife, Abi, Luke wanted to join Jerry in making this program available to other Iowa veterans and their families suffering from PTSD. They are organizing a special open forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, to take place Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2 pm in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.

Iowa veterans can find relief from combat-induced stress and escape the self-destructive cycle of drugs, alcohol, and depression. To learn more, or to register, visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Uploaded by on Jul 10, 2012

Some excerpts from the video:

“The first week I was there three soldiers got killed there….I was certain I wasn’t going to make it back home and I started thinking about suicide. I felt I was going to die anyway, so why be miserable day after day when it’s going to happen? I was just certain it was going to happen….I tried five or six different kinds of depression medicine, two or three different kinds of anxiety medicines. When I continued to try and try and try and things weren’t helping, hopelessness really was taking over and I still continued to think almost daily that suicide was going to be the option.”

In 2011, Luke Jensen learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique – a stress reducing practice, proven to combat the effects of PTSD.

“For the first time in I don’t know how long I felt hope….I don’t take anxiety medicine at all anymore….It’s made me a better father, a better husband. I’d consistently thought about suicide before I learned TM. It was the first thing to kind of get that away and get that off my mind. It changed everything.”

To support the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help

Operation Warrior Wellness has been championed since 2010 by a coalition of meditating veterans spanning four wars. Their mission is to deliver rapid and profound relief to veterans and active-duty military suffering from PTSD, promote resiliency among military personnel and cadets, and provide much needed support to military families serving the rewarding but often taxing job of caring for their loved ones.

See this KTVO News report: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD.

A few related articles: POLITICO: Coping with PTSD  |  Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD  |  Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets  |  Ruben Rosario: Recovered veteran’s latest mission: helping those like him

Here is a wonderful  interview with Jerry Yellin and Lisa Cypers Kamen of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio July 18th. You can listen online to Jerry Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection or download the the podcast.

PsychCentral reviews Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence: Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

September 16, 2011

Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

By Therese Borchard

Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?Being that my job is to feature and review books on psychology, spirituality, and especially the intersection between the two, I receive my share of books on meditation. And as a person who has been trying to meditate for two years, but who just can’t seem to get the hang of it, I always open the cover a tad sinister, looking for a magic bullet.

The book Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation was on my decline stack until I read the short bio on Norman Rosenthal, M.D. and became intrigued. He’s a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School. He conducted research at the National Institute of Mental Health. And he was the one who first described and diagnosed seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Ironically, I knew of him through my good friend Michelle, who had been one of the case studies for him on SAD.

So, with those credentials I opened the book and began to read stories that inspired me and gave me hope that one day I might be a meditator too.

Rosenthal won my trust in that he clearly states in the introduction that Transcendental Meditation is not a stand-alone treatment for emotional disorders, especially when effective treatments are available and work (if not full proof). He writes, “The fact is that no single treatment works every time for any given set of symptoms. We often have to try several different medications or treatment approaches before we find the right mix. I am suggesting that TM should be part of that mix, especially when conventional approaches prove unsatisfactory.” Rosenthal would in no way advise a person to go off his meds and try this type of meditation. However, he believes that practicing it can be the difference between a life of coping and a life of living.

Before reading Rosenthal’s book, I was unaware of the ways different kinds of meditations activate neurons in distinct regions of the brain. For example, Mindful Meditation increases the activity of neurons not only in certain emotional areas of the brain, but also in frontal regions, which are responsible for decision making and other functions. In Transcendental Meditation, there is a more global effect. Characteristic brain wave patterns are seen in many different parts of the brain, so the meditator has a better chance of experiencing the effects of meditation long past the meditation session.

What, exactly, is this Transcendental Meditation? Rosenthal writes:

Transcendental Meditation is always taught one-on-one, at least initially, by a teacher who is a longtime meditator trained not only to instruct new students and provide follow-up, but also to customize the approach for each student. Initial instruction has seven steps: two lectures and a personal interview with a certified teacher, then four teaching sessions on four consecutive days. Each session lasts about ninety minutes. Ideally, the fledgling meditator then follows up with the teacher, perhaps weekly for the first month and monthly thereafter. These thirty-minute “checking” sessions give students a chance to ask questions and make sure their technique is still on track, so they will derive the maximum benefit.

Basically, TM is a nonreligious practice that involves sitting comfortably for twenty minutes twice a day, while using a silent mantra, or nonverbal sound, to attain a profound state of aware relaxation. And just like yoga or martial arts, says Rosenthal, in order to learn it correctly, you need ongoing guidance with a teacher.

A profound gift of TM is that regular practice increases brain wave coherence, meaning that the frequencies of brain waves in different parts of the brain work together as a result of TM. In seasoned meditators, brain wave coherence can be found throughout the day, not only during meditation. Electroencephalograms (EEG) indicate that TM calms the brain while organizing the prefrontal brain regions so that meditators can improve their focus, decision-making, and job performance.

Especially enlightening to me were Rosenthal’s chapters on how TM can help treat acute anxiety, major depression, and bipolar disorder. This psychiatrist and some of his colleagues obtained a grant to study TM in a group of bipolar patients. In the study, eleven people received immediate TM training, while fourteen people were placed on a wait list. Both groups continued with their previous medical treatments. A few from the TM group reported a drop in manic symptoms, however, depressive symptoms were especially relieved, as stated in the patient reports but also upon inspecting the results of TM by Rosenthal and his team. Explains Rosenthal:

Several patients reported increased calmness, improved focus, and improved ability to stay organized and set priorities–no surprise, given TM’s known effects on the prefrontal cortex. TM helped bipolar patients improve their executive function, just as it did for people with anxiety disorders and ADHD… All in all … our study study suggests that TM might be very helpful for bipolar patients. In fact, all the clinicians who worked on the study are now referring certain of their bipolar patients, particularly those with residual depression, for TM training–along with their other treatments.

Check out Rosenthal’s book, Transcendence, for more information on the science and benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Therese J. Borchard is Associate Editor at Psych Central, where she regularly contributes to World of Psychology. She also writes the daily blog, Beyond Blue, on

Beliefnet.com. Therese is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. Subscribe to her RSS feed on Psych Central or Beliefnet. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter @thereseborchard.

APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2011). Transcendental Meditation: What Is It and How Does It Work?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 14, 2011, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/transcendental-meditation-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work/

Scientifically Reviewed
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jul 2011
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

————–
Also listen to an excellent interview with Norman Rosenthal and Jenny Crwys-Williams on South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio. Click to download Podcast. It’s mentioned in this post: Meditation for Health, Happiness and Spirituality.

A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal

July 13, 2011
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL OPINION JULY 13, 2011
A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress
One study of soldiers showed a 50% reduction in symptoms after eight weeks of meditation.

By DAVID LYNCH and NORMAN E. ROSENTHAL

War wounds come in many forms. Some are obvious, such as scars, gashes and amputations. Others, the psychological ones, are less visible but equally devastating. The numbers in this second group are staggering: The military’s latest mental health survey of combat troops in Afghanistan found that 20%—one in five—suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

People with combat-related PTSD often suffer from periods of emotional numbness and depression that may coexist or alternate with intense anxiety and delusional thinking. Their days may be afflicted by flashbacks to traumatic situations. Their nights are often disrupted by sleeplessness and nightmares, from which they awake drenched in sweat as though back on the battlefield.

Yet most veterans with PTSD do not receive adequate treatment for various reasons, including fear of stigma, a dearth of effective treatments, and insufficient government resources. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, recently acknowledged that, “The therapies used for treatment of brain injuries lag behind the advanced medical science employed for treating mechanical injuries.”

Clearly, there is a need for new, creative approaches: Transcendental Meditation, better known as TM, is a promising candidate. An ancient Vedic technique developed in India, TM was brought to the West in the late 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves sitting comfortably with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day while thinking a mantra. It does not require adherence to any religious belief system or ritual practices. Yet to date there are over 340 peer-reviewed papers describing the beneficial effects of TM on the mind and body.

lynch

The David Lynch Foundation recently hosted an event to help raise funds to teach TM to our wounded warriors returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We heard from veterans of three wars: Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot in World War II who flew 19 missions over Japan; Dan Burks, who served in Vietnam; and David George, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Despite differences in age and wartime experiences, these men had two things in common: All suffered terribly from PTSD, and all experienced tremendous relief from TM. Life became once again peaceful and even joyful for them.

What was clear from these men’s stories was how great a toll their symptoms took on their families, as well as on themselves. In a poignant video, Mr. George’s mother described the transformation of her son from a courteous young man into a hard-drinking, depressed and deeply disturbed veteran, who she feared would take his own life or someone else’s.

All that changed when Mr. George began to meditate on a regular basis. According to Ms. George, TM saved her son’s life.

In a study of Vietnam vets conducted by James S. Brooks and Thomas Scarano and published in the Journal of Counseling and Development in November 1985, TM outperformed the conventional psychotherapy of the day. More recently, a pilot study of five Iraq and Afghanistan veterans published in the June 2011 issue of Military Medicine showed a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms after just eight weeks of practicing TM.

There is a scientific basis for the observed benefits of TM for combat-related PTSD. In several studies, TM has been shown to buffer fight-or-flight responses, which are thought to be overactive in people with PTSD, as evidenced by their hypervigilance, anxiety and exaggerated startle responses.

In addition, TM has been found to reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes—other conditions in which an overactive fight-or-flight response may play a role. In a similar manner, TM may modulate nervous system responses, thereby allowing affected veterans to relax and leave behind the traumas of war.

Regardless of how TM helps, the mounting evidence leads to one conclusion: If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?

Mr. Lynch is a filmmaker and the founder of the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Rosenthal is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and the author of “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation” (Tarcher-Penguin, 2011).

Photo credit: Associated Press
Link to article: http://on.wsj.com/rg8tYC

WSJ: LETTERS: VA Meditating on Good Therapies, July 22, 2011

In “A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress” (op-ed, July 13) David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal pose a challenge for the federal agency entrusted with caring for our nation’s 23 million veterans: “If a simple, low-cost technique like TM can substantially alleviate the suffering of even some of the thousands of veterans afflicted with PTSD, how can we afford not to give it a try?” In fact, Transcendental Meditation has received substantial attention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. Indeed, meditation and other forms of complementary and alternative medicine are already used at VA to help veterans suffering from PTSD. We have embarked on a series of clinical investigations to evaluate all forms of meditation, TM among them, in order to determine whether this promising technique can produce results consistently for our patients, and which kind of meditation, from among several practiced widely today, would be most helpful to them. VA is beginning demonstration projects across the country in different care settings. We are looking for a simple, natural, culturally neutral and repeatable technique that can augment existing PTSD treatments. These studies require us to be open to new techniques for prevention and treatment, as well as structured in our approach to determining their value and efficacy. The studies already conducted, and those currently underway, are listed at http://tinyurl.com/3gx74o3.

The promising personal experiences mentioned in the article and the dedicated efforts of our VA, DoD and NIH team offer us all hope for finding more effective treatments for PTSD. We can’t afford not to.

W. Scott Gould

Deputy Secretary

DVA

Robert A. Petzel, M.D.

Under Secretary for Health

DVA

Washington

TM Reduces Veterans PTSD Symptoms by 50%

June 1, 2011

Veterans Show a 50% Reduction in PTSD Symptoms
After 8 Weeks of Transcendental Meditation

WASHINGTON | Wed, June 1, 2011, 9:00am EDT

Veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars showed a 50 percent reduction in their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after just eight weeks of practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique, according to a pilot study published in the June 2011 issue of Military Medicine (Volume 176, Number 6).

The study evaluated five veterans, ages 25- to 40-years-old, who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan or both from 10 months to two years involving moderate or heavy moderate combat.

The study found that Transcendental Meditation produced significant reductions in stress and depression, and marked improvements in relationships and overall quality of life. Furthermore, the authors reported that the technique was easy to perform and was well accepted by the veterans.

The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) was the primary measure for assessing the effectiveness of TM practice on PTSD symptoms. CAPS is considered by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the “gold standard” for PTSD assessment and diagnosis for both military Veteran and civilian trauma survivors.

The paper’s senior researcher, Norman Rosenthal, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and director of research at Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Rosenthal was the first to describe seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment.

“Even though the number of veterans in this study was small, the results were very impressive,” Rosenthal said. “These young men were in extreme distress as a direct result of trauma suffered during combat, and the simple and effortless Transcendental Meditation technique literally transformed their lives.”

The findings were similar to those from a randomized controlled study of Vietnam veterans conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In that study, published in the Journal of Counseling and Development in 1985, after three months of twice-daily TM practice, the veterans had fewer symptoms than those receiving   conventional psychotherapy of the day.  In fact, most of the TM-treated subjects required no further treatment.

“Even though the combat experiences of OEF/OIF veterans and Vietnam veterans are quite different, the fact that our study corroborates the results of the previous study tells us that this technique has the potential to be an effective tool against PTSD and combat stress, regardless of combat situation,” explained Sarina Grosswald, EdD, co-researcher on the study.

Rosenthal hypothesizes that Transcendental Meditation helps people with PTSD because regular practice produces long-term changes in sympathetic nervous system activity, as evidenced by decreased blood pressure, and lower reactivity to stress. “Transcendental Meditation quiets down the nervous system, and slows down the ‘fight-or-flight’ response,” he said.  People with PTSD show overactive fight-or-flight responses, making them excellent candidates for Transcendental Meditation.

Rosenthal points out that there is an urgent need to find effective and cost-effective treatments for veterans with combat-related PTSD. “The condition is common, affecting an estimated one in seven deployed soldiers and Marines, most of whom do not get adequate treatment.  So far, only one treatment—simulation exposure to battleground scenes—has been deemed effective, but it requires specialized software and hardware, trained personnel and is labor intensive.

“Based on our study and previous findings, I believe Transcendental Meditation certainly warrants further study for combat-related PTSD,” says Rosenthal.

Rosenthal is the author of a new book, “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation,” which will be released by Tarcher Penguin on June 2, 2011. For those wanting to interview Dr. Rosenthal, contact his publicist, Dean Draznin Communications, Inc., 641-472-2257, dean@drazninpr.com.

Results of the new “PTSD and Meditation” study will be announced at special presentations: Tuesday evening, June 7, in New York City, and Wednesday evening, June 8, in Washington, DC.

Watch: Reduction of PTSD Symptoms in Veterans with Transcendental Meditation.

FACT SHEET

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • A new report paints a stark picture of the toll on the U.S. military of almost a decade of war: higher stress and lower morale. The report, released Thursday, May 19, 2011, at the Pentagon, relied on questions to soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan in July and August of last year and compared responses with similar surveys in 2005 and 2009. The report noted “significant decline in reports of individual morale” as well as “acute stress rates significantly higher” than in earlier years. Source: CNN: New Pentagon study finds psychological toll from years of fighting.
  • VA’s suicide hotline receives 10,000 calls per month from active and retired servicemen. There are 950 suicide attempts per month by veterans receiving care from the VA. 18 veterans commit suicide each day, 5 of them are under the care of the VA. Source: Army Times: 18 veterans commit suicide each day.
  • The Rand Corporation’s study “Invisible Wounds of War” revealed a disturbing truth about the health of our military as recently as 2008:  Over 300,000 returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depression.  According to the Rand report, these “invisible wounds” take a high toll—impacting veterans’ quality of life, hindering their performance at work, straining their families, and placing them at greater risk for violent and self-destructive behaviors. The economic cost of these disorders is equally great—reaching as high as $6 billion over 2 years. Yet, despite the heavy toll of PTSD and depression, only half of affected veterans seek care, and only a third of those who do, receive adequate treatment. Thus, over 80% of affected veterans remain without needed help.

The Transcendental Meditation Technique

  • The Transcendental Meditation technique is an effortless technique practiced 10-20 minutes twice a day sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.
  • TM is not a religion or philosophy and involves no new beliefs or change in lifestyle.
  • Over 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique confirm a range of benefits for mind, body and behavior.
  • Several studies have compared the effects of different meditation practices and found that Transcendental Meditation provides deeper relaxation and is more effective at reducing anxiety, depression and hypertension than other forms of meditation and relaxation. In addition, no other meditation practice shows the widespread coherence throughout all areas of the brain that is seen with Transcendental Meditation.
  • The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught in the United States by a non-profit, educational organization.

Source: EurekAlert! Veterans show a 50 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after 8 weeks of Transcendental Meditation.
The Huffington Post: Top Research Psychiatrist Promotes Meditation for Healing and Transformation.
Fox News.com: Could Transcendental Meditation Help Veterans Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
The Epoch Times by Ginger Chan: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Reduced by Meditation.
Insidermedicine: Transcendental Meditation May Help Veterans with PTSD (Video)
ABC News/Health: ABC News: Meditation Heals Military Vets With PTSD
Medical News Today: Veteran PTSD Symptoms Significantly Reduced After 8 Weeks Of Transcendental Meditation
Click here for more articles and news videos on TM and PTSD posted on The Uncarved Blog.

Pathways Magazine: Taking Care Of The Student – The Forgotten Element In Education

February 18, 2011

Taking Care Of The Student – The Forgotten Element In Education

The surgeon general said that America is swimming in an ocean of stress. If this is true, our children are drowning in it. ~ Robert Roth, Vice President of the David Lynch Foundation

A teacher of a Montgomery County high school describes the 7:30 AM morning: kids with hoods pulled over their eyes, practically sleepwalking. At their desks, students are slumped over, exhausted – sleep deprived.

A school counselor describes a student whose deep anxiety constricts her ability to understand a basic math concept, and another student whose pressure to succeed is so intense that anxiety escalates into insomnia, depression, and feelings of suicide.

In most schools in our country, the student himself, and his instrument of learning – his physiology – are being ignored. We are experiencing – possibly promoting – epidemics of sleep deprivation and stress in our schools, and in the general public. Not only do we not pay attention to students’ physical health, we do the opposite: impose physical and mental strain – sometimes to the breaking point – often with serious, long-term results for both physical and emotional health.

In this article, we look at some recommendations and programs addressing this problem. We begin with refreshing our understanding of the goal of ideal education. Next we look at sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, and related problems of ADHD and depression, and the impact on student health and learning. Next, advice by professionals who work in this field of stress and adolescence will be presented. Finally, we look at promising examples where recommendations are successfully implemented: a school in D.C., the Ideal Academy Public Charter School, experiencing remarkable results by incorporating “Quiet Time” into the daily routine; and breakthrough research on ADHD and “Quiet Time” from several middle schools.

WHAT DOES EDUCATION REALLY MEAN?

All that lies before us and all that lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Emerson.

Education comes from the Latin root ‘educere’, meaning to ‘draw out from within’ or to ‘lead forth’. ‘Education’ means something other than filling up the mind with information. Socrates said, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” It involves cultivating the
student’s inner genius, innate intelligence, creativity, consciousness.

Quite clearly the two great things for which we aim are the improvement of intelligence and the deepening and the extension of the feeling of friendliness and love. ~ Aldous Huxley

A student truly being educated is not merely learning information. He is cultivating the quality of his awareness: becoming more awake, clear, creative. He is developing his character: virtues of friendliness, helpfulness, compassion. And cultivating a love of learning and sense of vitality: feeling interested, enthusiastic, capable, confident.

The qualities we often find in great people – flexibility, curiosity, energy, receptivity to new ideas, and lovingness – are first found in children and then maintained through adulthood. ~ Dr. Melanie Brown, Attaining Personal Greatness: One Book for Life

But what are we doing to cultivate these qualities in our students? It seems clear that we often forget the meaning and goal of education.

Click on the above title for a Google docs quick view of the entire article, including photos, and/or download the PDF of Taking Care Of The Student – The Forgotten Element In Education, originally printed in the Winter 2009 issue of Pathways Magazine, Washington, DC.

Brain Researchers Demonstrate How Students Can Overcome Stress And Function Like Top Achievers

February 1, 2011

Prominent Brain Researchers Demonstrate
How Students Can Overcome Stress Crisis
And Function Like Top Achievers

Free Public Lecture: February 8, 2011, 5 p.m.
Location: Harper Memorial, #103, 1116 E. 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Sponsored by: Students Transcendental Meditation Association, University of Chicago
Contact: Dr. Carla Brown: 773–324–8695, chicago@tm.org

How can today’s students overcome the debilitating effects of heavy stress – made even more difficult by the economy – in order to perform at their best?  It is indeed possible, and two prominent brain researchers will demonstrate how and share their compelling research findings on Tuesday, February 8, during a free public lecture at the University of Chicago. Check below for a listing of other lectures at different locations throughout the week.

Dr. William Stixrud, Ph.D., a prominent clinical neuropsychologist from Silver Spring, M.D., and Dr. Fred Travis, a neuroscientist and Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, IA, will discuss how meditation can affect functional integration of the brain and enable changes that result in dramatic reductions in stress hormones and cardiovascular disease.

Both doctors agree that students can use these same meditation techniques to help them reduce and overcome stress and pressure, perform better, and engender increased well being and contentment.

Last week the New York Times covered a survey of 200,000 college freshmen that found that their emotional health was at the lowest level surveyed in 25 years. Dr. William Stixrud, who specializes in work with children and adolescents, responded,

“It is possible for students to ‘have it all’—to experience high achievement in a competitive world and still have happiness and peace of mind.”

Dr. Stixrud’s 2008 research found that middle school students with ADHD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day in school experienced over 50% reduction in stress and anxiety, and improvements in ADHD symptoms.

During the lecture on February 8, Dr. Travis will also present a live demonstration of changed brain activity as a result of the Transcendental Meditation® technique and will discuss differences in TM from other mental techniques.

In 2009 Dr. Travis collaborated with the American University Department of Psychology in Washington, D.C. in the first random assignment study of effects of meditation practice on brain and physiological functioning in college students International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2009. Dr. Travis and colleagues randomly assigned American University students to practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. Measured during the height of exam pressures, these students exhibited functional brain integration resembling that of gold medal athletes.

Non-meditating controls in this experiment were overwhelmed and displayed significantly less brain integration, which is brain functioning that was more fragmented and disorganized. Students reported being more anxious and irritable, reflecting the detrimental effects of college life on the students.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009, the Transcendental Meditation technique was shown to be an effective method of reducing blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and anger among at-risk college students.

“The problem is stress,” says Dr. Stixrud, who has studied and lectured frequently on the effects of stress on the brain, particularly the developing brain. Dr. Stixrud added,

“The effects of stress are not pretty. Not only does stress interfere with functions such as attention, memory, organization, and integration, but prolonged stress actually kills brain cells and shrinks the brain’s main memory structures. In fact, the top stress researchers in the world report that lifelong stress level is the best predictor of risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In light of this research, I am increasingly struck by how counterproductive it is for students to learn in highly stressful contexts, since stress not only interferes with their learning and retention in the short run but also burns out their brains in the long run.”

FREE PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES:

Diamond Bank, Conference Room, 1800 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL — Tuesday, February 8th, 11:30 am

University of Chicago, Harper Memorial, #103, 1116 E. 59th Street, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL — Tuesday, February 8th, 5 pm, sponsored by: Students Transcendental Meditation Association

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Road, Rm. D 2001, Joliet, Il — Wednesday, February 9th, 1:15 pm. For information, call Pat Tinken 815 280 6660

Oak Park Public Library, Veterans Room (2nd Floor), 834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL — Saturday, February 12th, 2 pm

LINKS:

New York Times: Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen
College freshmen at 25-year low in emotional health, study says
Dr. Travis: Live demonstration: What happens when you meditate?

Dr. Travis: Transcending & Brain Research
Dr. Travis: What’s missing from education?
Also see: David Lynch Foundation: School Projects


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 745 other followers

%d bloggers like this: