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More about research on Transcendental Meditation and resilience, reduced stress
by Global Good News staff writer
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14 August 2012
Can resilience be fostered? Is the accumulation of stress a given part of every officer, soldier, and first responder's job?
These were questions that Norwich University, the first private military college in the United States, set out to answer.
In order to do so, scientists at the university conducted several studies measuring the effect of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on a new class of cadets. The cadets were divided into two groups, one which learned Transcendental Meditation and the other, the control group, which did not.
The research took place over the course of a school year, from about September to May. Although the research is ongoing, the preliminary findings have been encouraging.
The studies were focused on one of two areas: reduction of negative emotions, and the increase of positive traits. In both areas, cadets practising Transcendental Meditation showed significant improvement compared to the control group. In other words, in cadets who meditated, negative emotions were found to decrease, while positive traits increased.
For example, one study showed decreased state anxiety in those who learned Transcendental Meditation while the control group stayed level, with no noticeable decrease. Another study found, through the Beck Depression Inventory, that cadets who learned Transcendental Meditation experienced a significant decrease in depression, especially as compared to the control group.
Perceived stress also decreased in the TM group.
These qualities are very important on the battlefield or when confronting an emergency situation, a teacher of Transcendental Meditation remarked. The situation doesn't need to dictate how you respond, he said. 'The key is to develop that resilience or ability to be more flexible in your nervous system' and be able to respond in a more calm, very focused way.
Positive traits also increased in the TM group.
These traits included resilience, constructive thinking, and behavioral coping, all signs that Transcendental Meditation increases an individual's ability to constructively deal with a stressful situation, thus suggesting that the accumulation of stress may be preventable.
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