Posts Tagged ‘preceived stress’

New research shows Transcendental Meditation empowers disadvantaged Ugandan mothers

April 18, 2018

Summary: A new study with disadvantaged women in Uganda using measures of self-efficacy, perceived stress, and mental and physical quality of life, found significant differences between a group practicing Transcendental Meditation and controls after three months. Results indicate improved ability to cope with difficult situations, decreased perceived stress, and improved clarity of mind and physical vitality. In follow-up questionnaires after 8 and 36 months, the women reported improvements in health, employment, and social relationships. Decreased Perceived Stress and Increased Self-Efficacy in Women in UgandaApril 18, 2018, 8:00 ET: A study published today in Health Care for Women International shows how the Transcendental Meditation technique can empower women’s lives, using measures of self-efficacy, perceived stress, and mental and physical quality of life.

The practice was shown to help single, disadvantaged, illiterate mothers in Uganda deal with high levels of physical and psychological stress in their daily lives while improving their health, well-being, and ability to support themselves and their children.

“Transcendental Meditation has been in the news in recent years, with many celebrities talking about how they’ve benefitted,” said lead author Leslee Goldstein. “Moreover, many educational institutions and organizations around the world have successfully adopted Transcendental Meditation in programs for students, veterans, and the general population. This pioneering research shows that it can also aid vulnerable women in Africa who’ve never before heard about meditation.”

Impoverished mothers able to help themselves

A top leader in the Uganda Ministry of Health, Dr. Grace Nambatya, said the findings are extremely important in showing how this simple meditation technique can provide a platform for impoverished mothers to help themselves.

“There is a significant need for evidence such as this to help us improve women’s health and promote empowerment for vulnerable women in Uganda and worldwide,” she said. “Given the global impact of stress on women’s health and self-efficacy, this study has wide, interdisciplinary applicability.”

How it began: Uganda NGO introduces Transcendental Meditation

The research was conducted under the auspices of the United Women’s Platform for Empowerment and Development (UWOPED), a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) that offers training and educational programs to impoverished women to build practical skills to help empower their lives and increase their competencies and productivity.

UWOPED founder Brenda Nakalembe learned the Transcendental Meditation technique in 2012, and due to the benefits she experienced, decided to offer it as one of her training programs for women to help them cope with the challenges they face.

“These women face serious deprivation, and have so much stress in their lives that they become hopeless,” Ms. Nakalembe said. “The result is that it’s a real challenge for them to engage in meaningful action.”

Ms. Nakalembe collaborated with the African Women and Girls Organization for Total Knowledge (AWAGO) to provide instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique. Licensed in 2011, AWAGO offers programs, including Transcendental Meditation, to develop the full potential of women and girls in Uganda.

Single-blind, controlled study

AWAGO’s certified Transcendental Meditation teachers initially taught the technique to 60 women in the village of Nsambya in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. After observing the benefits experienced by their neighbors, 81 more women requested to learn. UWOPED and AWAGO then elected to invite these 81 women to participate in a single-blind, controlled study.

Of these 81, 42 of the women learned Transcendental Meditation immediately, and the rest (39), were put on a waitlist to learn the technique after three months, serving as a control group. All subjects were assigned to groups without known bias, and there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of demographics or study outcomes at baseline. The women on average were 28 years old and instruction was conducted in their mother tongue. The participants practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day for about 20 minutes. Twice a month they attended group follow-up meetings.

Ugandan women meditate together

Improvements in self-efficacy, stress, and mental/physical health

Assessment after three months of practicing Transcendental Meditation found benefits on standardized measures of self-efficacy, perceived stress, and mental and physical quality of life. Further questionnaires after 8 and 36 months suggested that the women enjoyed improved health, better relationships with others, and increased employment rates.

A total of 71 participants completed the three-month post-test. The primary outcome was a significant improvement in self-efficacy in the Transcendental Meditation group, as measured by the 10-item General Self-Efficacy Scale, which assesses the ability to cope with difficult life challenges. These outcomes are particularly relevant because self-efficacy is considered a critical element of empowerment.

“This Self-Efficacy Scale, which has been in use for nearly 40 years, is a good way of getting a sense of how optimistic a person is, and how much belief a person has that she or he can overcome obstacles,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Those in the Transcendental Meditation group clearly had a changed attitude and greater confidence in their ability to overcome difficult demands in life.”

Secondary outcomes in the study included the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale, which measures the degree to which situations are perceived as stressful and the Medical Outcomes Survey, which measures general physical and mental health as well as social functioning. Again, there was a significant difference between the Transcendental Meditation group and controls.

“These instruments used in the study measured energy and vitality, decision-making, problem-solving, and how overloaded the respondents feel,” Dr. Goldstein said. “What’s really interesting is that the participants simply learned a meditation technique that’s been shown scientifically to provide deep rest and relieve stress. After three months of practice so many aspects of the participant’s lives were greatly improved.”

Long-term benefits

A follow-up questionnaire was completed by 54 of the original 81 participants after 8 months, and 56 of the original participants completed a questionnaire after three years. All of the women who completed the questionnaire at three years were still practicing Transcendental Meditation.

The women’s self-reported benefits included improved general physical health, fewer headaches, better sleep, greater ability to deal with HIV, greater calm and peace, and less worry and anxiety. There were also reports of decreased drug use and prostitution.

Furthermore, women reported that their employment situations improved, as did their social relationships at home, at work, and in their community – such as more cooperation, love, respect, trust, and friendliness.

Comments from participants

“I used to be stressed to get enough to eat. I would cry and argue with my husband. I used to get so angry I would get a headache and fever from the stress. TM has calmed me down and I feel happy from inside because I can manage stress better. I am thankful for my TM training for giving me self-control and a better feeling about myself as a woman and that I can do something to take care of myself and my children.” (NA)

“Before TM I was unable to get myself going to find work, I couldn’t even think of working. TM has opened up my mind, and help me think better, and now I have a job selling bananas and my children are going to school and feeling happy.” (NG)

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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. The Transcendental Meditation technique is easy to learn, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. Unlike other forms of meditation, Transcendental Meditation practice involves no concentration, no control of the mind, no contemplation, no monitoring of thoughts. It automatically and effortlessly allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of deep inner calm. For more information visit http://www.africanwomenandgirls-uganda.org and http://www.tm.org.

The effect of Transcendental Meditation on self-efficacy, perceived stress, and quality of life in mothers in Uganda
Leslee Goldstein, Sanford I. Nidich, Rachel Goodman, and David Goodman

Health Care for Women International, an online international journal that provides a unique interdisciplinary approach to health care and related topics that concern women around the globe.

This research was supported by funding from the Abramson Family Foundation.

Contact information: lgoldstein@mum.edu

Source: EurekAlert!

Watch a video made on how UWOPED partnered with AWAGO to provide instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique to Empower Women from Within. Author and freelance writer Linda Egenes wrote an article of how Leslee’s daughter, Alena, came to make this documentary film, and was transformed in the process: A Young Filmmaker Documents the Transforming Experiences of Women in Uganda—And Finds Her Own Life Changing as a Result.

Some news coverage: The Hawk Eye interviewed Leslee Goldstein on her TM study with impoverished Ugandan women | KTVO: Maharishi University researcher Leslee Goldstein studies benefits of Transcendental Meditation on impoverished Ugandan women — news report.

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Transcendental Meditation reduced stress and trauma symptoms in male prisoners in 4 months

January 1, 2017

Prisoners have one of the highest rates of lifetime trauma of any segment of society, with recent surveys showing that 85% have been a victim of a crime-related event, such as robbery or home invasion, or physical or sexual abuse. Trauma is associated with higher rates of recidivism (returning to prison) and mental and physical health conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

A randomized controlled trial of 181 male Oregon state correctional inmates found that the Transcendental Meditation program significantly decreased total trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, dissociation and sleep disturbance subscales, and perceived stress compared to controls over a four-month period. Trauma symptoms and perceived stress were assessed using the Trauma Symptoms Checklist and the Perceived Stress Scale.

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Within the TM group, a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms was observed over the course of the four-month study. Further post-hoc analysis showed a 56% reduction within the TM group for those with the highest level of trauma symptoms above the mean in baseline trauma scores.

Compliance with TM practice was high. Of those randomized to learn the TM program, 88% completed the initial seven-step TM course (total of five sessions) and over 80% were regular with their daily TM practice over the course of the four-month study, which included weekly meetings to ensure continued correct effortless practice.

“To date this is the largest randomized controlled trial with the Transcendental Meditation program on trauma symptoms,” said Dr. Nidich, lead author of the study and director of Maharishi University of Management Center for Social and Emotional Health. “These findings, along with previous published research on veterans, active military personnel, international refugees, and other at-risk populations provide support for the value of the Transcendental Meditation program as an alternative treatment for posttraumatic stress.”

“I have watched inmates learn Transcendental Meditation and become more human after a long and isolating period of becoming less human,” said study co-author Dr. Tom O’Conner, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Western Oregon University. “TM helps to awaken, deepen, and solidify the kind of transformational process that we so badly need in our overburdened and costly correctional system.”

The study, Reduced trauma symptoms and perceived stress in male prison inmates through the Transcendental Meditation program: A randomized controlled trial, was published in The Permanente Journal, and funded by the David Lynch Foundation

Read more valuable information about this study in the press release, from where this content was excerpted, on EurekAlert!/AAAS.

NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101089/

Another study, this one done with female prisoners, also in Oregon, will be published later this month.

New study out on Transcendental Meditation shows reduced teacher stress and burnout

February 3, 2014

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Teacher Stress and Burnout, New Research Shows

Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Stress, Depression, and Burnout: A Randomized Controlled Study

This graph shows the average level of change in total burnout, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in burnout symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in burnout over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in total burnout, as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in burnout symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in burnout over the duration of the study.

A new study published in The Permanente Journal (Vol. 18, No.1) on health showed the introduction of the Transcendental Meditation® technique substantially decreased teacher stress and burnout.

Research indicates that stress and burnout are pervasive problems among employees, with teachers being especially vulnerable to feeling frequent stress from their jobs. Burnout, a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and job dissatisfaction, has been found to contribute to lower teacher classroom performance and higher absenteeism and job turnover rates.

This current study sought to determine whether practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program results in lower psychological distress and decreased burnout in teachers and support staff at the Bennington School in Vermont, a special in-residence school for students with behavioral problems.

This graph shows the average level of change in perceived stress, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in perceived stress in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in stress over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in perceived stress, as measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in perceived stress in the TM group, with the control group showing a small increase in stress over the duration of the study.

According to Dr. Charles Elder, MD, MPH, lead author of the study and a Senior Physician in the Department of Internal Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, “The results of this randomized controlled trial are very striking and demonstrate the utility of introducing a stress reduction program for teachers and other public and private employees. The four-month study found significant and clinically important decreases in perceived stress, emotional exhaustion associated with teacher burnout, and depressive symptoms in those practicing the TM program compared to a wait-list control group.”

“Burnout and other psychological distress factors have been linked to negative health behaviors, obesity, and hypertension, all of which are major contributors to cardiovascular disease,” emphasized Dr. Sanford Nidich, EdD, study principal investigator and Professor of Education at Maharishi University of Management. “Prior medical research has found that practice of the TM program is effective in reducing both risk factors for heart disease and cardiovascular events. Taken as a whole, this present study and prior research provide evidence for the value of the TM program for enhancing mental and physical health and well-being, explained Dr. Nidich.”

This graph shows the average level of change in decreased depression symptoms, as measured by the Mental Health Inventory-5, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in depression symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small decrease in depression over the duration of the study.

This graph shows the average level of change in decreased depression symptoms, as measured by the Mental Health Inventory-5, in the Transcendental Meditation group compared to controls. The graph displays a marked reduction in depression symptoms in the TM group, with the control group showing a small decrease in depression over the duration of the study.

The study included 40 teachers and support staff measured at baseline and then randomly assigned to either immediate start of the TM program or delayed start (wait-list control group). Compliance with practice of the TM technique throughout the four-month intervention period was high; 100% of the participants assigned to the TM group meditated at least once a day. Of those, 56% meditated regularly at home twice a day.

This is the first study to investigate the effects of Transcendental Meditation on teacher burnout. Recent published studies have shown a positive impact of this program on student graduation rates, academic achievement, and psychological distress. Transcendental Meditation has seen widespread implementation in secondary schools across the country within the context of school-wide Quiet Time programs.

The study was funded by the Nine East Network and David Lynch Foundation.

About the Transcendental Meditation technique

The TM technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. Extensive peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM reduces psychological distress, including anxiety and depression, and promotes overall mental and physical health.

The TM technique is available in the USA through Maharishi Foundation USA, a federally recognized non-profit educational organization. Through partnerships with other non-profit organizations and foundations, full TM scholarships have been given to more than 250,000 at-risk children, school teachers, veterans suffering from PTSD, homeless people, and others. Visit http://www.tm.org for more information.

About Maharishi University of Management

Maharishi University of Management is an accredited university offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business, where Transcendental Meditation is also practiced by both professors and students. Visit http://www.mum.edu for more information.

Source: EurekAlert!


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