Posts Tagged ‘Norman E Rosenthal’

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.’s new book, The Gift of Adversity, helps us to look at life differently

September 1, 2013

Throughout his storied career as a research psychiatrist, Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal has searched outside the box for ways to help people struggling with depression and other mood disorders.  This search led him to diagnose and name seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and develop light therapy as a wonderfully effective treatment while at the National Institute of Mental Health. He went on to write several books that brought alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments straight into public awareness, including “Winter Blues,” “St. John’s Wort: The Herbal Way to Feeling Good,” and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, “Transcendence,” which explores the power of Transcendental Meditation in healing and transformation.

The Gift of AdversityIn his new book, “The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Setbacks and Imperfections,” Dr. Rosenthal shares personal stories of adversity, as well as case studies and lessons he has learned from his heroes. Less scientific than his previous books, “The Gift of Adversity” is part memoir, part inspiration, and thoroughly enjoyable to read.

Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative, bestselling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter.

Whether the adversity one experiences is the result of poor decision-making, a desire to test one’s mettle, or plain bad luck, Rosenthal believes life’s most important lessons—from the value of family to the importance of occasionally cutting corners—can be best learned from it. Running counter to society’s current prevailing message that “excellence” must always be aspired to, and failure or mistakes of any sort are to be avoided at all costs, Rosenthal shows that engaging with our own failures and defeats is one of the only ways we are able to live authentic and meaningful lives, and that each different type of adversity carries its own challenges and has the potential to yield its own form of wisdom.

David Lynch Foundation executive director and author, Bob Roth, interviews Dr. Norman Rosenthal on how he went from writing “Transcendence” to “The Gift of Adversity.”

In this excerpt from the interview, Dr. Rosenthal shares with Bob Roth the gift he received from a very adverse situation early on in his life.

There are many reviews and interviews coming out on The Gift of Adversity and with Norman Rosenthal. Here are a few of them on Huffington Post and elsewhere: The Gift of Adversity: A Book Review by Lloyd I. Sederer, MD on HuffPost’s HealthyLiving. Norman Rosenthal on the Surprising Benefits of Life’s Biggest Challenges on Bookish. Norman Rosenthal ‏posted an article on HuffingtonPost: The Gift of Adversity. Norman wrote Your Mind, Your Body, How to live a happier, healthier life, for Psychology Today. Jeanne Ball ‏ posted 3 Ways Meditation Helps You Deal With Adversity also on HealthyLiving. The TM Blog posted an article by Dr. Norman Rosenthal: From Transcendence to The Gift of Adversity. And this excellent review by Jane E. Brody in the Personal Health section of the New York Times titled, Life’s Hard Lessons.

Norman Rosenthal was interviewed on Writers’ Voices: Looking for the Silver Lining with Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal and “The Gift of Adversity”. Dennis Raimondi on his show Speaking Freely asks Norman Rosenthal about his new book, The Gift of Adversity on KRUU-LP 100.1 FM (23:51).

Susan Page and Norman Rosenthal at WAMU 88.5 FM

Guest host Susan Page interviewed Dr. Norman Rosenthal on The Diane Rehm Show

Norman Rosenthal was booked on the Diane Rehm Show to discuss his latest book, The Gift of Adversity, Wednesday, Sept 4, 11:00am to noon ET. Listen live on WAMU 88.5 FM or online.

As it turned out, Diane was on vacation, and guest host Susan Page, American Journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today, conducted the interview. Visit their post to read an excerpt of the book, Dr. Norman Rosenthal: “The Gift Of Adversity”, and listen to a replay of the interview on their audioplayer.

He was also interviewed by Dr. Sherrill Sellman on her show What Women Must Know – The Gift of Adversity with Norman E. Rosenthal – 09/26/13.

As I continue to read this wonderful book I find myself quietly reflecting on my own life’s experiences and lessons learned, triggered by reading Dr. Rosenthal’s and those of the people he discusses. Each chapter has a takeaway point, something to reflect on and learn from the transforming alchemy of adversity.

I am reminded of two quotes that beautifully encapsulate the message of the book: One by Buddha: “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” And the other by Tom Bodett: “In school, you’re taught a lesson, then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” Dr. Rosenthal looks for and finds the blessings and lessons that adversity has brought him and the subjects in his book. It should be required reading for young adults to help them build empathy and understanding, preparing them for their journey through life.

Dr. Rosenthal also gives us hope when he says that the stressful experiences of adversity can also lead to growth. Quoting Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous dictum: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” he tells us of the dividend of PTG from the payment of PTS, the post-traumatic growth that may come from the post-traumatic stress we’ve endured. And he also gives us the tools to deal with the stress, mentioned in his earlier books, like “Winter Blues”, using light therapy to chase away the winter blues, and from “Transcendence”, his most recent bestseller, extolling the healing and transformational virtues of Transcendental Meditation. Discovering what Dr. Rosenthal says in his books is like finding a thoughtful friend who dispenses wise advice.

On December 20, 2013 he spoke in New York at TEDx: Norman Rosenthal on The Gift of Adversity in which he describes the three kinds of adversities, and mentions his three heroes.

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D. for Decision Magazine

October 1, 2012

Decision Magazine, a UK business publication, featured an article on TM in the Wellness section of the Summer 2012 issue: Transcendental Meditation offers a promising remedy for workplace stress says NORMAN E ROSENTHAL M.D. You can download a PDF of Decision Summer 2012 to see the article laid out with images on pages 48-49.

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D.

It’s not stress that kills us; it’s our reaction to it. – Hans Selye

It is a matter of broad consensus that stress in the workplace has reached epidemic proportions. So bad has the problem become, that stress is now a more common cause of long-term sick leave than stroke, heart attack, cancer and back problems, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Workplace stress has been labeled “The Black Death of the 21st Century.”

Common causes of workplace stress include excessive workload, poor management style, workplace restructuring, and problems at home. As the great pioneer in stress research, Hans Selye, observed, it is not the stress itself, but how we react to it that affects its impact on our bodies and minds. During economic downturns, such as we are facing at present, ordinary workplace difficulties become more stressful because workers feel insecure about their job stability and fearful of losing their job, especially because it is often difficult to find a new one.

Stress takes a toll on both body and mind. It is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in developed countries. In addition, it predisposes to anxiety and depression, both enormous mental health problems. For those who of us who are concerned about performance and productivity in the workplace, it is crucial to find remedies for toxic work stresses. Such remedies will also lead to healthier workers, with fewer days off sick, lower health care bills, and extra years of productivity. There are many available “stress management” programmes. In this piece, I make the case why a simple but powerful technique, Transcendental Meditation (TM), should rise to the top of the list.

Why Transcendental Meditation?
TM is a simple technique of meditation, taught in a standardized one-on-one way over the course of a week. The instructor gives the student a mantra, along with instructions as to how to use it. TM is simple to learn and easy to practise. Ideally, the practitioner should sit comfortably with eyes closed for two sessions of 20 minutes each per day.

As a researcher and physician, I have been impressed by the scope and extent of research data supporting the benefits of TM (over 330 peer-reviewed articles to date). Much of this research has a direct bearing on the damaging physical effects of stress. For example, controlled studies have shown multiple physical benefits of TM versus controlled treatments, such as: (1) Reduction in blood pressure that is both statistically and clinically meaningful; (2) Actual reversal of arterial narrowing in the carotid arteries which carry blood to the brain; (3) increased longevity over the course of years (a finding that has been replicated). From the point of physical wellbeing alone, TM is worth practising.

But there is more. A meta-analysis of 146 treatment groups found that TM reduced anxiety to a greater extent than other approaches. Likewise, five controlled studies in people not recruited specifically for depression showed that practising TM was followed by a reduction in depression symptoms to a greater extent than control treatments. Evidence suggests that the improved blood pressure seen with TM is mediated by decreased anxiety. In other words, TM seems to be acting as a shock absorber, decreasing the impact of stress on both mind and body.

No other “stress management technique” has anywhere close to this amount of hard data in support of its claims to reduce stress.

Beyond its effects on stress reduction, TM has also been shown in numerous studies to improve levels of self-actualization – a term used to describe the need for people to be the best they can be. This benefit may result from the direct effects of TM on the brain, which include increased brain coherence. Brain coherence means that the firing patterns in different parts of the brain correspond to one another. Higher levels of brain coherence have been associated with higher levels of performance, both in businessmen and athletes.

How do the benefits of TM play out in the workplace?
To begin, let us hear from two leading business people, who are regular meditators and have praised TM’s benefits: Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world; and Oprah Winfrey, media icon and CEO of Harpo Studios. Dalio has said that TM has helped him make up for lost sleep and has made his patterns of thinking “more centered and creative.” With TM, he says, “Life got better and everything became easier.” He reports dealing with challenges in a calm, clear-headed way, which allows him to put things in perspective – “like a ninja.” Winfrey was so pleased with her own personal experience with TM that she provided TM training free of charge to all members of her organization. Her observations: “You can’t imagine what has happened. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”

Many other CEOs and business leaders have reported similar benefits in their organizations. How can we understand these extraordinary transformations?

How can TM help work-stress?
Let me count the ways. TM results in:
1. Increased brain coherence that is associated with increased levels of accomplishment
2. Reduced stress responses producing more clarity, less reactivity, and better decision-making. As Dalio put it, “I am centered – not hijacked by emotion”
3. Enhanced creativity, even with aging
4. Better physical health
5. Greater harmony

At every level of organization, TM promotes harmony. This applies within the mind of the meditator, between mind and body, and in groups. Once the meditator learns the practice and develops the habit, the 40 minutes spent per day is rapidly repaid in the form of improved performance and efficiency. How wonderful it is to think that this quiet twice-daily practice might turn out to be a remedy for “The Black Death of the 21st century!”

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D is author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation (Hay House, 2012).

An updated reprint edition by Tarcher is available in North America on Amazon.

Click here for more posts on Norman Rosenthal on my blog, and also visit Norman Rosenthal’s website and blog: http://normanrosenthal.com.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation for business executives and companies please visit www.tmbusiness.org.

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.

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

February 22, 2012

Dr. Norman Rosenthal addresses medical staff at NWH

Dr. Norman Rosenthal recently gave a wonderfully engaging talk on the Transcendental Meditation technique to the medical staff of Northern Westchester Hospital as part of their Health Education program.

Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a world-renowned psychiatrist and author who described seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy to treat it has improved the health of millions of people. His latest book Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation (Tarcher-Penguin, 2011) explores the value of this ancient meditation technique for healing and transformation in today’s modern world.

Dr. Rosenthal began his talk by highlighting the key themes of healing and transformation brought about by TM, and explained how certain parts of the brain are effected by stress and improved by meditation. He humorously described the conflict that exists neurologically in a stressed mind between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala by using the simple analogy of the CEO of a company and the fire marshall. It made a lot of sense. Everyone got it.

Drawing on anecdotes from his best-selling book, Transcendence, Dr. Rosenthal’s relaxed narrative style held the audience’s attention throughout the presentation. He shared personal stories of how TM had improved the lives of those interviewed for the book, like Hollywood filmmaker David Lynch, actress Laura Dern, Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Tim Page, neuropsychologist William Stixrud, as well as patients from his own practice.

A former NIH researcher, Dr. Rosenthal had looked into, and was impressed by, the volume of scientific research studies on TM in the fields of mental and physical health, education and social behavior. He cited some of these studies, including more recent ones.

Dr. Rosenthal also mentioned a published pilot study he had conducted on Veterans with PTSD that showed a 50% reduction in symptoms within two months. He posted an article about it on his blog, along with an emotionally-charged video of one of the Veterans and his mother:  The Case for Using Transcendental Meditation to Treat Combat Related PTSD.

He told the amazing story of Jim Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School, and how he had transformed violent, stressed under-achieving, low-attending students to motivated harmonious academically successful ones with the highest attendance ever, after he had introduced the TM/Quiet Time program to his staff and students. The program was implemented and funded by the David Lynch Foundation. Here is a recent article, with a video of principal Dierke, posted on the TM Blog: Breaking the “predictive power of demographics”: SF principal talks about how TM helps his students.

Dr. Rosenthal also shared his own story of how he started TM as a college student in South Africa back in the 70’s. “As they say, if you remember the 70’s you probably weren’t there, but I was there,” he quipped, and giggled. Like most of us he was inspired by the Beatles traveling to India to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. But, he says, he was overwhelmed with his medical studies and didn’t take the time to meditate regularly. He dropped the meditation, yet returned to it decades later after one of his patients recommended he do it based on his own experiences. He went to the local TM center to refresh his practice. After looking into some of the research studies, and noticing subtle yet lasting changes in his own life, he was convinced that this simple, natural process could really make a difference in people’s lives.

Dr. Rosenthal swore he would never write another book; it takes too much time and energy, but after seeing how much of a difference TM was making in his life, and in the lives of his patients, he just had to write this one last book. He felt as compelled to write about TM as he had been about his earlier medical discovery. He was also pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable the whole process went, compared to earlier experiences. He felt the joy of being in the flow, of being in the moment, totally engaged in the creative process. He said the whole experience was very rewarding, uplifting and fulfilling.

He concluded his talk with the value of groups, organizations, practicing TM together, and the impact that has. As an example he mentioned Oprah and how she chose to give TM to her whole organization, and the amazing transformations that brought about. She wrote about it in her magazine, What I Know for Sure.

You can enjoy watching Dr. Rosenthal’s entertaining and informative presentation here on the Northern Westchester Hospital website: http://www.nwhc.net/home/about-us/video-suite/health-education.

Credit and appreciation goes to Sally Rosenfeld, a Certified Teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program, in Westchester County, NY, for arranging to have Dr. Rosenthal speak at Northern Westchester Hospital. Sally said it was a great event, with around 100 people attending from both the hospital and community. Several of them later came to the TM Center to learn how to meditate. Considering how progressive NWH is with their alternative offerings, adding the TM program to the mix would seem like a natural outcome of the meeting.

DETAILS: critical eye: Meditation Nation

August 14, 2011

Meditation Nation

Power brokers no longer motivate or medicate—they meditate. How Transcendental Meditation returned as the new status symbol.

Photograph by Adam Voorhes
September 2011 Issue

A funny thing happened on the way to enlightenment. The quest got stripped of yogic posturing, Buddhist trappings, and even the last vestige of spirituality and turned into a search for the kind of clarity that might help us all in our worldly pursuits. Which is why movers and shakers are again embracing that seventies mainstay Transcendental Meditation. You’re likely to hear it spoken of reverentially in interviews: Russell Brand, whose wildman behavior was cartoonish in its intensity, credits TM with helping him to conquer his heroin, sex, and alcohol addictions. “After meditation,” he has said, “I felt this beautiful serenity and selfless connection.” And where celebrities venture (the latest wave of TM-ers includes the likes of Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts), many of us are likely to follow. The rolls of practitioners have tripled in the past three years, according to the Transcendental Meditation Program, the practice’s national organization.

“The game-changer, I think, is David Lynch and his foundation,” says Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, the Georgetown University psychiatry professor who wrote the recent best seller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation. Lynch, the surrealist director of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Dr., had been quietly practicing TM since, yes, the seventies, but about six years ago he came out of the closet, launching a foundation to promote the practice and later publishing a manifesto, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

It’s a process perfectly matched to our self-interested times—”no pain, but a lot of gain,” according to Rosenthal. Bob Roth, an executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, who taught TM to Brand and Moby, explains that when the mind has been calmed with the help of a mantra, a Sanskrit word given to each TM grad, it will effortlessly sink below the level of thought to “pure consciousness.” Practically speaking, sit in a chair, close your eyes, and silently repeat the mantra for 20 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, Lynch says, you cut the elevator cables of your normal-thinking mind to descend to a place that feels different. You may experience a connection with the universe or a mental light show, what Rosenthal calls “four-star graphic effects.” At the very least, you should be blissfully relaxed, which is the foundation of the health benefits that have been measured in the medical research amassed, much of it funded by the government. The deep tranquillity TM promotes quiets the body’s “fight or flight” stress response, lowering blood pressure and anxiety and combating depression.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the so-called giggling guru, who hosted the Beatles and Mia Farrow, among others, was the innovator who stripped Hindu meditation practice of its religious baggage and repackaged it as a systematic, stress-reducing, creativity-building technique. Lynch, a disciple, is responsible for adding a fresh civic-mindedness to the game. His foundation aims to bring TM free of charge to those most in need of its calming effects—at-risk kids, prison inmates, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. That, of course, means fund-raising benefits, which means reeling in rich folk and entertainers (many introduced to TM by Lynch and Roth), all of which attracts media coverage and an increased brand awareness among those in the general public who might be willing to shell out $1,500 for the basic course.

“It was straight out of The Great Gatsby,” Rosenthal says of the poolside benefit party thrown this past June at the Malibu home of Juicy Couture cofounder Pam Levy and her TV-director husband, Jefery Levy. One imagines the vibes spreading to their neighbor Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, the freshly minted Converse-wearing, 36-year-old movie mogul who practices TM twice a day. Kavanaugh, who started out as a stockbroker, has leveraged his connections by allying with the New York hedge fund Elliot Associates, among other investors, giving his company the billions required to dominate Hollywood film production. But his secret weapon is his risk-assessment algorithm, a high-tech quantitative analysis of the big picture that he says allows him to make money even on box-office dogs.

As the New York hard-chargers who flock to the TM courses Roth teaches at the Center for Leadership Performance soon learn, this kind of success is not coincidental. According to published research, TM enhances neural activity in the part of the brain that houses the decision-making “executive center.” “The businesspeople say they’re more focused during the day,” Roth says. As do the other Gotham heavy hitters who’ve evangelized for TM and the Lynch Foundation, from Jerry Seinfeld and Heather Graham to Ben Foster and Howard Stern. Leave it to Mr. Katy Perry himself, speaking at a gala fund-raiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past winter, to get at the essence of TM’s guilt-free marriage of creativity and commerce: “I literally had an idea drop into my brain the other day while I was meditating which I think is worth millions of dollars.”

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Prop Styling by Robin Finlay

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