Archive for February, 2019

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses

February 27, 2019

Nurses can better cope with the burnout that’s endemic to the profession by practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique, according to a new study published today in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development. After four months of practice, standardized assessments found that nurses in the study had reductions in “compassion fatigue” and burnout, and increases in compassion satisfaction and resilience. The study highlights the importance that self-care plays for professional development and longevity in nursing. (EurekAlert!) (PubMed)

TM Outcomes for Nurses-Reduced Compassion Fatigue and Increased Resilience

After 4 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation, a group of 27 nurses experienced an 18% reduction in burnout (“compassion fatigue”), a 16.9% increase in resilience, and a 9.2% increase in compassion satisfaction.

Research suggests that self-care for nurses is important for professional development

The Transcendental Meditation technique helped to reduce “compassion fatigue” and burnout in a group of 27 nurses while also improving resilience according to a study published today in Journal for Nurses in Professional Development (Mar/Apr 2019, Vol 35, Issue 2).

Jen Bonamer, PhD, RN-BC, NPD (cropped)

Jennifer Bonamer

Standardized assessments showed a significant improvement after four months of practice.

“For years I watched nurses struggle to care for their patients and themselves,” said lead author Jennifer Bonamer, PhD, RN-BC, AHN-BC, Nursing Professional Development Specialist at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Florida. “Working with people who are suffering trauma eventually takes a toll and produces what’s come to be called ‘compassion fatigue.'”

Study included mostly Registered Nurses

Dr. Bonamer searched the literature for self-care methods that could help nurses cope with burnout and hypothesized that Transcendental Meditation would help relieve compassion fatigue in nurses and improve their ability to bounce back from the challenges of work.

Most of the 27 nurses in the study were Registered Nurses working directly with patients. They had been working as nurses 15.7 mean years, and in their current practice area for an average of 6.5 years.

Standardized assessments quantify benefits

The researchers used the Professional Quality of Life Scale, which includes a 30-item survey that measures compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue on a 5-point scale. After four months of practicing Transcendental Meditation, the nurses experienced a 9.2% increase in compassion satisfaction and 18% reduction in burnout.

Resilience was measured via the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, a 25-item survey with statements that reflect resilient perspectives. It also uses a 5-point scale. Again, after four months of Transcendental Meditation, the nurses experienced a 16.9% increase in resilience.

“These surveys are widely used with demonstrated validity and reliability,” Dr. Bonamer said. “They demonstrated quantitatively what the nurses reported: they felt better and enjoyed their work more.”

Increasing importance of self-care techniques in nursing

There is an increasing trend toward appreciating the necessity of helping nurses in their careers by taking active steps to use self-care techniques to build resilience.

“We need to invest in our nursing staff and ensure that they have rewarding careers while also providing the best possible care for their patients,” Dr. Bonamer said. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is one step that we could take. A variety of studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing stress and promoting health and well-being.”

RNs practice TM for self-care at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

RNs practice TM for self-care at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

The nurses learned Transcendental Meditation from two certified teachers over a four-day period. They then practiced it for 20 minutes twice a day, though their demanding schedules sometimes made it challenging to fit it in. The technique is typically practiced once in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. In this video, Nourishing the Caregiver from Within, nurses describe the benefits they are receiving from the TM Program.

Previous qualitative study also found a benefit

The present study is the second of two that have used the Transcendental Meditation technique as a modality to improve the well-being of nurses. A study published in 2018 in International Journal for Human Caring reported the experience of RNs in graduate school who practiced Transcendental Meditation for four months. The qualitative study entailed the students keeping a journal and then the researchers used Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological method to examine their journals.

The results showed that graduate students were more present and balanced, and experienced enhanced job performance. They also enjoyed greater feelings of bliss, peace, and integrity.

About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is easily learned, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It doesn’t involve concentration, control of the mind, contemplation, or monitoring of thoughts or breathing. The practice allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of inner calm. For more information visit www.tm-women.org/nurses.

Study: Self-Care Strategies for Professional Development: Transcendental Meditation®; Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses, Jennifer (Rheingans) Bonamer, PhD; Catherine Aquino-Russell, PhD. DOI: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000522

Photo credits: Jennifer Bonamer—Sarasota Memorial Health Care System; meditating nurses and graph—Transcendental Meditation for Women.

Locally, The Fairfield Weekly Reader published an article on the study: Transcendental Meditation reduces compassion fatigue and improves resilience.  The Iowa Source published an article by Amy Ruff, RN, National Director of Transcendental Meditation for Nurses: Helping the Helpers: Reducing Burnout Among Nurses. MUM’s The Review reported: Study Shows Benefit for Nurses.

Alliance for PTSD Recovery interviewed Amy Ruff, Director of Transcendental Meditation for Nurses. She discusses the challenges of nurse burnout and traumatic stress and the need for greater resilience.

Linda Egenes wrote Nurses Need Nourishing Too: New Research Shows TM Reduces Compassion Fatigue.

Western New York Physician: Rochester & Buffalo Issue Vol 2, 2018 published an article (pages 15 & 16) by Amy Ruff, RN BSN: New Study: Transcendental Meditation Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses. Here’s a PDF of the article.

Podcast: Kathy’s Corner: TM for Nurses – Interview with Amy Ruff, RN | May 2019. Kathy and Amy discuss the value of caring for the caregivers.

New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in South African college students

February 20, 2019

Tues, Feb 19, 2019: A study published in Psychological Reports showed that after 3.5 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM), most of the 34 tertiary-level students at Maharishi Institute (MI)—all of whom were initially diagnosed with PTSD by mental health professionals—went below clinical thresholds as measured by standard assessments. Students also experienced relief from depression. A comparison group from University of Johannesburg (UJ) with the same diagnosis received no treatment and showed no change in their symptoms.

IMAGE

College students diagnosed with PTSD at Maharishi Institute (MI) and University of Johannesburg (UJ) were tested at 15, 60 and 105 days. After 3.5 months, the MI group practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) went below clinical thresholds, while controls at UJ showed no change.

A very high percentage of young people in South Africa suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. A college that offers the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique to its students found this approach helped reduce their symptoms.

A study published today in Psychological Reports showed that after 3.5 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM), most of the 34 tertiary-level students at Maharishi Institute (MI)—all of whom were initially diagnosed with PTSD by mental health professionals—went below clinical thresholds as measured by standard assessments. The students also experienced relief from depression.

A comparison group of 34 students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) suffering from PTSD and depression received no treatment and continued to show no change in their symptoms throughout the study.

High levels of PTSD

An international research team of seven scientists and psychologists conducted the study. At the start, students at MI and UJ had a score of 44 or more on their PCL-C test and a clinician’s verification of PTSD. A score above 44 indicates likely PTSD and below 34 indicates that one is below the PTSD threshold.

Symptoms included nightmares, flashbacks to traumatic events, anxiety, fear, and hyper-vigilance. They also reported emotional numbness, anger, and violent behavior, as well as abuse of drugs and alcohol. PTSD is a chronic, debilitating condition that may last a lifetime if not treated effectively.

The study showed a rapid and significant reduction of symptoms in the test group, according to lead author Dr. Carole Bandy, professor of psychology at Norwich University, America’s oldest military college. Results were stable over time.

“A high percentage of young people in South Africa, especially those living in the townships, suffer from PTSD,” said co-author Michael Dillbeck, researcher in the Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa. “To become successful students and productive members of society, they absolutely need help dealing with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Our study shows, that after 3 months of meditation, this group, on average, was out of PTSD. It offers a way for others to effectively deal with this problem.”

Our study shows, that after 3 months of meditation (TM), this group, on average, was out of PTSD. It offers a way for others to effectively deal with this problem.”

High levels of PTSD are prevalent in South Africa

Up to 25% of the population in South Africa suffers from PTSD, according to Dr. Eugene Allers, past-president of the South African Society of Psychiatrists. Estimates put the same figure in the USA at 8%.

Several recent scientific studies show that adolescents and children in South Africa may be exposed to relatively high levels of traumatic experiences, particularly witnessing or experiencing violence of a criminal or domestic nature, associated in turn with estimates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ranging from 8% to 38% (Ensink, Robertson, Zissis & Leger, 1997; Pelzer, 1999; Seedat, van Nood, Vythilingum, Stein & Kaminer, 2000; Suliman, Kaminer, Seedat & Stein, 2005).

UJ students assessed by expert NGO

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the largest mental health NGO in SA, which assists more than 180,000 people each year, interviewed and tested UJ students suffering from PTSD. They were also tested for depression, since it often accompanies PTSD and can in fact be considered a component of PTSD.

Students were only invited to join the study if they met two criteria for having PTSD: a score indicating PTSD on the PCL-C paper test and the opinion of a trained psychologist. Re-testing was 15, 60 and 105 days after baseline testing.

MI students find relief

At 15 days into the study, Maharishi Institute students showed a significant drop of more than 10 points in their PTSD symptoms after learning Transcendental Meditation. They also found relief from depression, judged by Beck Depression Index scores.

Re-testing was also carried out at 60 days and 105 days of their TM practice. By 105 days, the average group score for the MI students was below the PTSD threshold of 34, according to the paper tests. The UJ students showed no significant reduction in symptoms—neither depression nor PTSD. They received no support of any kind.

A binary logistical regression analysis for the effect of TM practice on PTSD PCL-C diagnosis 105 days after instruction was also highly significant, with 7 likely PTSD and 27 unlikely for the experimental group and 30 likely and 4 unlikely for the comparison group.

First study of its kind

This is the first study of its kind to show how Transcendental Meditation can reduce PTSD in college students. “This study shows that there are new tools available for professionals to add to their tool bag,” says Zane Wilson, Founder and Chairman of SADAG.

This is the first study of its kind to show how Transcendental Meditation can reduce PTSD in college students.

Thirteen previous studies utilizing Transcendental Meditation showed reductions in PTSD on Congolese war refugees, US war veterans, and male and female prisoners.

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About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation® is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is easily learned, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It doesn’t involve concentration, control of the mind, contemplation, or monitoring of thoughts or breathing. The practice allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of inner calm. For more information visit https://www.tm.org.

Funding for the study was provided by David Lynch Foundation and PTSD Relief Now Corporation (African PTSD Relief), two US 501c3 charities.

Ref: Bandy, C, Dillbeck, M., Sezibera, V., Taljaard, L., de Reuck, J., Wilks, M., Shapiro, D., Peycke, R. (Psychological Reports. on-line: February, 2019) Reduction of PTSD in South African University Students Using Transcendental Meditation Practice. DOI: 10.1177/0033294119828036 | US National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health: PubMed

EurekAlert! | ZME Science | Medical News Today | PsychCentral | OMTimes: New Hope for Trauma Victims by David H Shapiro | many more

MGFC reviewed this new study, including previous research in this area, and interviewed co-authors, research coordinator David Shapiro, and Maharishi Institute chairman Richard Peycke: 80% of Students Free of PTSD in 105 Days with Transcendental Meditation.

See this recent study: #TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD. See other TM studies and articles on PTSD posted on this blog.

OMTimes: Transcendental Meditation Reduces PTSD (May 11, 2019).

Dan Fogelberg’s song, Longer, and my 3 love poems complete today’s Valentine’s Day Show

February 14, 2019

Sheila Moschen asked me to read 3 of my love poems for a Valentine Day’s Show on her KHOE radio program, Let Your Heart Sing. This 38-minute show (#56-R) aired on Monday and Tuesday this week at 1:00 and 7:00 pm, and will soon go into her archive. The last musical selection Sheila played was the beautiful love song, Longer, by Dan Fogelberg (at 33:05). My poems complete the show (at 35:34). They’re about a special relationship I shared with my sweetheart Sally Peden. Listen here on Google Drive or OneDrive.

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S DAY WITH MUSIC AND POETRY

 

COMMITTED
a two-haiku poem

When the tide rolls in
bows of boats bump each other
tethered to the dock

With our ups and downs
we remain tied together
solid as a rock

~

This Quiet Love

This is a quiet love
One of simplicity and easiness
No complications here
It’s too late in life for that sort of thing
Just time to be best friends

~

In Our Loving Eyes

Some people are stargazers
We were soul-gazers
Looking in each other’s eyes

Windows to the Soul
A Self-reflecting mirror
Drawing us nearer

Love … looking … at Love

 

jfahsq8

 

World Radio KHOE 90.5 FM is broadcast from the campus of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

Some favorite love poems: i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings | Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem | Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself.

@eltonofficial Christmas TV ad for @jlandpartners tells story of the power of a gift to change a life

February 4, 2019

“Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Just saw this tweet from 15 Nov 2018 by @JKCorden of an amazing TV advert—a narrative about gift-giving featuring @eltonofficial—made for @jlandpartners, a large department store chain, played on Liverpool’s @RadioCity967. This artistic production also delivers a powerful message at the end—the power of a gift to change a life. It makes a statement! They must’ve aired it weeks before Christmas to get people in the spirit of shopping for gifts at their stores. But the message is timeless.

The Boy and The Piano

Watch the new John Lewis & Partners Christmas TV advert, The Boy and The Piano. This year’s story is about the power of a gift. And how that gift inspired, changed and influenced the course of a little boy’s life. That little boy just happens to be Elton John. The film begins in present day and works backwards chronologically through Elton’s life right until the moment on Christmas morning when he received the special gift that changed his life. Here is the video: John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018#EltonJohnLewis 🎹

The Independent published a story behind the making of the video of the commercial: John Lewis Christmas advert: Behind the scenes of the film starring Elton John. They also include their video: The Making of The Boy and The Piano | John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 #EltonJohnLewis 🎹

College life can be destructive to student health. Panel of experts offer evidence-based solutions.

February 3, 2019

VIEW EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENT WITH ALL IMAGES

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree

Is College Bad For Your Brain?
How the epidemic of stress on college campuses
is destructive to student health–and what can be done about it
 

LIVE EVENT 
Friday February 8th • 7:30 pm CT 
Dalby Hall, MUM Campus, Fairfield, Iowa
 

GLOBAL WEBCAST 
Wednesday, February 13th • 4:00 pm ET

Webcast link: https://www.mum.edu/changemakers-event-2019

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree

Mental health challenges, substance abuse and poor lifestyle choices undermine student learning outcomes and successful college experiences. This webinar will explore disruptive solutions and highlight a unique university that is reversing this trend by placing stress-busting meditation at the core of its curriculum.

The statistics are sobering: 75% of college students report feeling stressed and 39% of college freshmen report symptoms of anxiety or depression.  Suicidal ideation in students has doubled over the last 10 years, 40% of college students binge drink, and there is a 30% rise in requests for mental health support.

Is there an antidote to this potentially lethal epidemic on college campuses? The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) and Maharishi University of Management (MUM) are cohosting a major conference, “Is College Bad For Your Brain?” to offer evidence-based, disruptive solutions to college students and educators alike on Friday, February 8 on the MUM campus in Fairfield, Iowa. The conference will be then webcast on Wednesday, February 13. A distinguished panel of thought-leaders—neuroscientists, educators, psychologists and students–will convene to explore the destructive impact of college stress on mental and physical health and what can be done about it.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree

Gregory Gruener MD, Vice Dean for Education and neurology professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has developed a cutting-edge wellness program in the highly stressful environment of medical school. “A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians.”

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree

To counteract this trend and help students better manage their stress, Dr. Gruener and Adjunct professor at Loyola Stritch, Carla Brown EdD, established the first elective course in Transcendental Meditation (TM) to be offered at a major medical school. Drs. Gruener and Brown will speak (via Skype) about the benefits medical students have been experiencing in their program since it’s inception in 2014.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeClinical neuropsychologist William Stixrud, Ph.D. will also address the conference. Author of The Self-Driven Child, Stixrud has worked closely with students to help them manage their stress and become more proactive in creating success in college and in life.  Stixrud commented on the problem in his recent New York Times op-ed, When a College Student Comes Home to Stay.

“As we see it, there are two critical issues at hand.  First, college life is a highly deregulated environment with inconsistent sleep patterns and diets, little structure, and an abundance of binge-drinking, pot-smoking, and abuse of stimulants like Adderall.  Second, students haven’t been given control of their own lives until way too late.  It may be just too much to ask students to go from parental control to near-total freedom.”  In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, the most effective antidote that Dr. Stixrud has found to relieve the problem is the regular practice of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a treeHeart transplant specialist and Chief Informatics Officer for the U.S. Navy, Hassan Tetteh, M.D., brings a unique medical perspective to the issue.  After two tours of duty in Iraq, and as Command Surgeon for the National Defense University, which trains the elite officers in the military, Tetteh saw firsthand the effects of stress in these high-stakes, life-and-death environments.  But after several personal life-altering experiences in the military, he found a calling to heal others, in particular, by helping them to cultivate a deeper mind-body connection.  His favorite John Steinbeck quote captured this feeling, “A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ;” and added, “Identifying the goals, beliefs and human connections that enrich our souls can be just as essential to healthy living as any medical treatment.”

2019_01_changemakers-2_travisMUM neuroscientist Fred Travis, Ph.D., will report on new research showing that meditating students display a “brain signature” indicating greater resiliency, adaptability and coherence in the face of stress. MUM offers students a Brain Integration Progress Report using a Brain Integration Scale to begin to assess the effects of their college experience on brain functioning. Dr. Travis will conduct a live EEG demonstration at the conference highlighting the differences between a brain under stress and a brain during TM.

Young girl touching her face with hands, like a tree“As experts search for a solution to the effects of stress on learning, one common theme seems to emerge: mind-body practices such as Transcendental Meditation work,” says MUM Dean of Faculty and co-founder of the Institute for Research on Consciousness and Human Development, Vicki Alexander Herriott. “MUM is already a global leader in the field because its educational curriculum and campus culture has made Transcendental Meditation (TM) central to the life of the student—and teacher. This conference will showcase why.”

MUM Student Body President, T. Chevonne added, “The best thing in my life is my TM practice.  It has helped me see past doubts and fears into the infinite realm of possibilities.  I am more confident and outspoken than I’ve ever been, and anxiety is a distant memory to me.”

For more information and a list of speakers and panelists visit: https://www.mum.edu/changemakers-event-2019.

Organizer Michael Sternfeld wrote an excellent article on this second Changemakers event published in the February issue of The Iowa Source Magazine: Is College Bad For Your Brain? MUM also posted this short video promo.

Watch Changemakers: Is College Bad For Your Brain? • Part 1Part 2. You can also see the 10 individual talks now posted at the event page.

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Related: The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school | Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

 

negative capability, reverse seeing, beauty & the desire for transcendence & unity in life & poetry

February 3, 2019

One day, while Angela “was reading the letters of poet John Keats,” she “received some small insight into this mystery. The young Keats would invest himself so entirely in the books he was reading (and in the lives he was living) he would become one with the creatures and emotions he encountered.” She said “the master poet wrote of—watching the birds outside his window, he would imagine himself scratching and pecking in the gravel alongside them.” She continues with this clear definition of what he called “negative capability”. I’ll underline the essence of it.

This “negative capability” Keats so prized — the impulse to negate The Self and become The Other, to inhabit a state of being perceived outside oneself—had overwhelmed our small son when he first set eyes on his hamsters, amazing little beings he had never seen before. Pierced by their beauty, his capacity to become them was outstripped by his desire, his five impassioned, puzzling words proclaiming the power and lamenting the limits of his imagination.

My response to Haiku: Pierced by Beauty

Lovely post, Angela! I never fully understood Keats’ “negative capability” until I read your clear explanation of it. Thank you. I remember reading what one writing facilitator described as “reverse seeing,” which sounds similar. I was lucky to have had such an experience once, not knowing that’s what it was at the time.

Around 30 years ago, a friend and I drove out to the countryside and ended up at Round Prairie Park. There had been a drought that summer and in a pond stood many large lotus pads. My friend, an artist, took out her sketchbook and started drawing them. I asked for a piece of paper and tried to write a poem about them, but it was nothing worth mentioning.

We had both read “The Secret Life of Plants” and talked about the lotuses and their sensitivity. She resumed sketching, and I tried writing again. Nothing notable. I didn’t realize it, but I was warming up by pre-writing.

At one point I wondered what the lotus pads were feeling about us looking at them. All of a sudden my mind took on a different, heightened perspective. The words came and I quickly wrote them down. When it was over, I looked down at a poem on the page! It was as if it was dictated to me. At that point a bird “blessed” my hand from the tree above me. Nature’s confirmation!

I had later read in The Fairfield Ledger that Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum had put out a call for poems, so I sent it in to their competition. Much to my surprise the poem won an award!

You can read, “Ode to the Artist: Sketching Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park” on my blog: https://theuncarvedblog.com/2011/01/16/ode-to-the-artist-a-magical-day-looking-at-lotus-pads/.

I also mention another poem that later came out of that experience. The editor had wanted me to submit a poem for their next publication so I wrote about how some poems come to be written. It was sort of a commentary on the first one. You can read “Sometimes Poetry Happens” on my blog: https://theuncarvedblog.com/2011/01/16/sometimes-poetry-happens-a-poem-about-the-mystery-of-creativity/.

I never planned to write this little epistle, but kept expanding and refining it to get it to this stage. Thank you tweetspeak for this opportunity to share this story about some of my early poetry!


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