Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique can significantly decrease psychological distress in public school students, according to a new study.
The finding suggests a simple stress-reducing meditation technique could be a viable solution to increasing stress among 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.
A total of 106 secondary school students 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.
“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,” said Dr. Charles Elder, MD, lead author of the TM study, and investigator at Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research
Educational research has also linked student stress to negative school behaviour and poor academic performance.
“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,” added Dr. Nidich.
The study has been published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology.