Posts Tagged ‘racial and ethnic minorities’

Great article on TM helping students boost grades shows the Beatles were way ahead of their time

June 22, 2013

Here is that great article written by , Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, published June 11, 2013, 9:00PM BST: Transcendental Meditation may boost student grades. He says, It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.

BEATLES_2587635kIt seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.  Photo: GETTY IMAGES

A form of meditation made popular by John Lennon and his band mates during the “flower power” era has been found to improve students’ grades.

A study of school pupils found that performing two 20-minute sessions of Transcendental Meditation each day improves academic achievement.

The practice involves sitting still with eyes closed while chanting a mantra – also sometimes derided as “oming”.

It became synonymous with hippy culture in the 1960s after The Beatles embraced it following a visit to India where they were taught the technique by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Now a growing body of research is suggesting it can have a positive effect on people’s lives.

Recent studies have shown that it can be used to treat high blood pressure and help people overcome psychological problems.

The latest research found that US school pupils who performed the meditation technique had higher graduation rates than those who did not.

The effect was even greater among those who had the lowest academic grades, the research conducted by the University of Connecticut and Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, found.

Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation increased the number of students graduating by 15 per cent while among those with the lowest academic grades, a further 25 per cent graduated compared to those not meditating.

Professor Robert Colbert, from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, said: “Transcendental Meditation appears to hold tremendous promise for enriching the lives of students.”

He added that the meditation technique was a viable method for turning around “poor student academic performance and low graduation rates”.

Sanford Nidich, a professor of education at Maharishi University of Management who conducted the research, added: “These results are the first to show that the Transcendental Meditation program can have a positive impact on student graduation rates.

“The largest effect was found in the most academically challenged students.

“Recently published research on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students may provide possible mechanisms for the higher graduation rates found in this study.”

It is estimated that around 6 million people now practice Transcendental Meditation around the world.

The technique aims to concentrate the mind inwards by uttering the mantra and is intended to empty the mind of thoughts and feelings.

Proponents of the technique claim it can aid concentration and help to rid them of negative emotions.

The Beatles’ time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, at his teaching centre in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1968, produced some of the most famous images of the Fab Four, dressed in white and draped in flower garlands.

It was also one of their most productive periods musically, with Lennon declaring that between them they wrote around 30 new songs during their visit to Rishikesh.

The tracks, which ended up on The Beatles, also known as the White Album, and Abbey Road, include Back in the USSR, Blackbird, Revolution and Mean Mr Mustard.

In an interview conducted in 2009, Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr spoke candidly about how the meditation technique helped them.

Starr said: “Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It is a gift he [the Maharishi] gave me.”

McCartney added: “It wasn’t all about meditation, it’s just you were focused – but yeah, there were very blissful moments.

“It is one of the few things anyone has ever given to me that means so much to me. For us, it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilise us at the end of the crazy sixties.”

McCartney has also in the past called for Transcendental Meditation to be used in schools.

He said: “I believe that in the future meditation could be as commonplace in schools and society as eco-awareness is now. It interests me that an ancient cure may be the solution to a modern problem.”

The new research, which involved 235 students in their senior year at an urban school on the US east coast, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation, which has been campaigning to have meditation incorporated into the school day.

They claim that where meditation has been used in schools, it has helped to reduce stress and anxiety in pupils while also lowering suspension rates.

The foundation was set up two years ago by film director David Lynch after he used meditation to overcome his own anger issues.

Describing the difference it has made to his life, he said: “When I started meditating I had a real anger in me, and I would take this out on my first wife.

“Two weeks after I started meditating, this anger lifted.”

See EurekAlert! press release for the study: Transcendental Meditation positively impacts student graduation rates, new research shows.

See this related post on some of the news coverage: New study shows TM significantly improved school graduation rates, world press reports.

This article was later highlighted on the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education website on their Spotlight page reporting the latest news: Transcendental Meditation May Boost Student Grades.

See The former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunion for David Lynch’s benefit concert airs on New York’s THIRTEEN, Sunday, April 29.

Transcendental Meditation Effective Antidote to Record Stress Levels in School Students

November 16, 2011

Transcendental Meditation Effective Antidote
To Record Stress Levels in School Students

This graph shows a 36 percent reduction in psychological distress in 106 at-risk racial and ethnic minority students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to controls over a period of 4 months (p=.010). Significant decreases were also found in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.

With record levels of student stress reported in a recent UCLA survey, can a simple stress-reducing meditation technique be a viable solution?

A new study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly decreased psychological distress in public school students. The study, conducted with at-risk minority secondary school students, showed a 36 percent reduction in overall psychological distress. Significant decreases were also found in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Rising Stress Levels Affect Emotional and Physical Health

The percentage of students in the UCLA survey reporting good or above-average high school emotional health dropped from 55.3 percent in 2009 to 51.9 percent in 2010. This marks the lowest level within the past 25 years.

Dr. Charles Elder, MD, lead author of the TM study, and investigator at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, emphasized the important implications of the findings on reduced stress. “It is vital that we start addressing the high levels of emotional stress being reported by high school and college students. Decreased stress can have a positive impact on mental health, and can also reduce the risk for hypertension, obesity, and diabetes—major risk factors for heart disease,” explained Dr. Elder.

Educational research has also linked student stress to negative school behavior and poor academic performance.

Promising Findings for Education

“These new findings on reduced stress, along with the recent research on academic achievement gains, hold tremendous promise for public education,” said Sanford Nidich, EdD, principal investigator, and professor of education at Maharishi University of Management. “There is a growing body of evidence showing Transcendental Meditation to be an easy to implement, value-added educational program that promotes emotional health and increases academic achievement in at-risk students,” said Dr. Nidich.

A total of 106 secondary school students, 87% racial and ethnic minorities, took part in the study. Results showed that over a four-month period, students practicing Transcendental Meditation as part of their schools’ Quiet Time program exhibited significant reductions in psychological distress factors compared to controls.

According to James Dierke, 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals—National Middle School Principal of the Year, “Stress is the number one enemy of public education, especially in inner-city schools. It creates tension, violence, and compromises the cognitive and psychological capacity of students to learn and grow. The TM/Quiet Time program is the most powerful, effective program I have come across in my 39 years as a public school educator for addressing this problem. It is nourishing children and providing them an immensely valuable tool for life. It is saving lives.”

The study was supported by the David Lynch Foundation.

Study Facts

  • This study evaluated change in psychological distress factors in students practicing the Transcendental Meditation program compared to non-meditating controls. A total of 106 students (68 meditating and 38 non-meditating students), took part in the study. The study included students from four public secondary schools.
  • Eighty-seven percent were racial and ethnic minority students, including 26% Hispanic, 25% African American, and 19% American Indian.
  • The Transcendental Meditation program was practiced in class twice a day as part of the schools’ Quiet Time program for four months prior to posttesting.
  • The Transcendental Meditation program was taught in the context of school-wide Quiet Time programs in which students voluntarily chose the Quiet Time program in which they wanted to participate.
  • Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, effortless technique that allows the mind to settle down and experience a silent yet awake state of awareness, a state of “restful alertness.” Practice of this stress-reduction program does not involve any change in beliefs, values, religion, or lifestyle.
  • Compared to eyes-closed rest, research has found that Transcendental Meditation practice is characterized by decreased activation or arousal of the autonomic nervous system, as reflected in decreased breath rate and lower sympathetic nervous system activity. The Transcendental Meditation program has been shown to increase electroencephalographic (EEG) brain integration and coherence, especially in the frontal area of the brain, responsible for higher-order processing.
  • Other published research on high school and college students has shown reduced psychological distress, improved positive coping ability, decreased blood pressure, reduced cardiovascular reactivity to stressful stimuli, reduced absenteeism, and decreased school suspensions.
  • Results of the current study indicated significant reductions in overall psychological distress (p=.010) and trait anxiety (p=.035) compared to controls. Within-in group differences in depressive symptoms were found for meditating students (p=.003).

Source: EurekAlert!

Reported on: Science Codex, sciencenewslinemedicine, PsychCentral: Meditation May Help Ease School Stress, Times of India: Beat stress with transcendental meditation (IANS), The Behavioral Medicine Report: Transcendental Meditation Significantly Decreased Psychological Distress In Public School Students, among others.

TM Blog: New research finds TM helps ease school stress, Ken Chawkin.

See related study: New research shows Transcendental Meditation improves standardized academic achievement.



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