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Research on Transcendental Meditation shows improved mental health, reduced depression

Ask the Doctors -    Translate This Article
11 October 2011

Psychiatrist James Krag, M.D.,* discusses the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in decreasing depression.

Please also see Part I of this article.

Q: I get severe episodes of depression every few years. Will the Transcendental Meditation technique prevent these episodes? 

Dr. Krag:
Research shows a decrease in depression with the practice of TM. For instance, in a study published in the Journal of Counseling and Development, patients suffering from post-traumatic stress problems who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reduction in depression after four months, in contrast to others who were randomly assigned to receive psychotherapy and did not show significant reduction in depression.

(Other recent research has also shown reduced depression in adults practising Transcendental Meditation.)

Transcendental Meditation tends to have a balancing effect. We can't say for sure that TM will prevent all episodes of depression, but research shows that TM does help to stabilize mood and has a healthy effect. So it is worth a try. I have certainly known people who had a reduction in their depressive episodes after learning TM.

Q: If I close my eyes, my mind is filled with thoughts about the things I have to do or about problems I have to solve. I can't stop these thoughts, so how could I ever successfully practice the Transcendental Meditation technique?

Dr. Krag:
This is not a problem, since in the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique we don't go against this natural tendency of the mind to be active. With the TM technique we guide the mind to more refined or settled levels of activity and this leads the physiology to very deep rest. It's easy and natural. And research has shown that when people have this experience of restful alertness on a daily basis, they naturally start feeling more calm, clear and focused in activity.

Click here for more about improving mental health and reducing depression through the Transcendental Meditation Technique, including related research showing decreased depression, increased efficiency and productivity, and improved integration of personality.

Related article:

'New studies show reduced depression with Transcendental Meditation'

* James Krag, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, former president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and former president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists for four years. He is currently Medical Director of Liberty Point, a residential treatment program for adolescents with psychiatric problems.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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