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It could be that the epidemic of high school stress could be relieved by enlisting the help of an old friend: Transcendental Meditation (TM). A new study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the TM method significantly decreased psychological distress up to 36% in public school students as well as in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.
There has recently been a disconcerting increase in the number of public, secondary school students reporting stress. The percentage of students in the UCLSA survey reporting good emotional health dropped from over 55% to 52% between 2009 and 2010. It’s the lowest level in the past 25 years.
“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. Charles Elder, MD, lead author of the TM study. Student stress is also linked to negative school behavior and poor academic performance.
The TM program consisted of having a group of students practice TM during their schools’ Quiet Time. Compared to the control group, there were significant reductions in depressive and stress symptoms over a four month period.
“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 saving lives,” concluded James Dierke, 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals-National Middle School Principal of the Year.
Source: Journal of Instructional Psychology, MedicalNewsToday
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