Integrative Medicine Blog

Using Meditation to Stay Mentally Cool

HEIDI S. PUC M.D., FACP, ABIHM Sunday, July 09, 2017

Have you considered Transcendental Meditation as a way to stay mentally "cool" this summer?

This month I would like to chat with you about Transcendental Meditation (TM), a great way to stay mentally “cool” this summer, and during every season of the year. I received training in this form of meditation in fall of 2016 with my local certified TM instructors after being reminded of the technique during my Integrative Medicine Fellowship (I originally heard about it as a small child when The Beatles spoke about and practiced it…now I am dating myself!!). TM is a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation with the repetition of a mantra. The mantra is assigned to the TM student during training by the TM teacher. The Indian guru Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi (1911-2008) brought this technique to the United States and founded the international organization of TM.

TM is a simple, effortless technique for “recharging your mind and body”—creating a brighter, more positive state of mind. It is practiced for 20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. Although there are many different forms of meditation one can practice, I find TM the most helpful to settle down “the monkey mind”—the endless brain chatter we all experience on a daily basis. Also, unlike many other forms of meditation, TM has hundreds of published scientific studies to support its health benefits, and these include studies done at prestigious centers such as Harvard and Stanford Medical Schools and Yale University. Several of numerous documented health benefits with TM include: normalized blood pressure, stress reduction, anxiety reduction, decreased depression, reduced insomnia, decreased cholesterol, reduced congestive heart failure, reduced atherosclerosis/stroke, decreased free radicals and inflammation, reduced metabolic syndrome/pre-diabetes, reduced pain, decreased health care costs and utilization, higher levels of brain function and clarity, improved intelligence/creativity/learning ability, improved academics, improved school behavior, increased longevity, reduced substance abuse, increased efficiency and productivity, and strengthening of the immune system including elevation of natural killer cells.

The TM technique is not a religion or philosophy, nor does it interfere with any diet, lifestyle, or belief system. There are no known negative side effects, and the technique significantly improves mental, physical, and emotional health. It does not interfere with medication, and research has shown that by providing deep rest it can promote the healing process. Also, it can be practiced just about anywhere (but of course, not while you are driving!).

Learning TM can not only benefit an individual, but communities and cities as well. Studies have been done demonstrating that large organized groups of TM meditators placed strategically near areas of war, conflict, and violence can significantly decrease the occurrence of violent acts and can induce more peace. Thus a goal of the international TM organization is to train as many people in TM as possible to favorably influence such social unrest.

So how can YOU learn TM? You can visit the website to learn more about TM and also to find a local certified TM instructor. There is a fee to be trained in the practice of TM, but I think you will find it to be a worthwhile investment for the lifetime health benefits you can achieve with this powerful method.