Transcendental meditation, or TM for short, is a form of meditation that effectively minimizes anxiety and stress. Founded in India by Swami Brahmananda Saraswatiin, a Hindu monk, TM involves repeating a single word or phrase throughout the entire practice. It gained popularity in the 1960s, most famously attracting the attention of The Beatles. Since then, people from all walks of life have engaged with TM and benefitted from regular practice.
What Is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental meditation (TM) helps the individual create a sense a calm through mantra-based meditation. TM differs from other forms of meditation in that the person focuses on repeating a single word or phrase, instead of breathing patterns or body scanning. Although it is a simple practice, TM is simultaneously profound and elegant. There is no need to concentrate on controlling the mind, attempting to completely clear it of thoughts. The goal is to repeat a single mantra that aligns with personal characteristics, and that will be different for every person,
How Does TM Work?
To reap the benefits of TM, practicing for 15-20 minutes twice daily is ideal. Get into a comfortable position and breathe through the diaphragm in a relaxed way. Notice the thoughts in your mind without engaging them. Then focus on your mantra, giving attention to the sensations that arise while repeating it. This is the basic practice, which is very simple, but you can extend the duration of the meditation session as you get more comfortable in the practice. Creating time in your daily schedule for TM can have a profound impact on the way you approach life. You may also experience some of the following benefits.
TM Can Help Strengthen Relationships
Practicing TM regularly can help strengthen relationships with friends, colleagues, or family members. One study found that people who practiced TM had a much higher appreciation for others, compared to people who did not practice. TM helps you strengthen the synaptic connections in the brain, which helps improve patience and listening skills. Additionally, TM may help you see more value in the others and the relationships you have.
TM May Improve Work Efficiency
According to research from both smaller and bigger companies, employees who regularly practice TM have higher work efficiency. Leadership abilities, attention to detail, job satisfaction, and professional relationships can improve as early as three months into practicing. Other research found that TM can help inspire creativity at work, as daily meditation works to promote a clearer mind and helps you break through mental barriers.
TM Helps Reduce Anxiety
There is a lot more research surrounding TM’s ability to help reduce anxiety and stress. One meta-analysis from 2014 examined 16 studies and 1,295 participants. This meta-analysis compared findings to groups who received regular anxiety treatment. The analysis found that TM was effective at reducing trait anxiety, which is the type of anxiety that doesn’t come as a passing mood. Trait anxiety tends to be a regular experience and can wear a person down after a while.
People who experienced the highest levels of trait anxiety at the beginning of the study experienced the greatest decrease in anxiety symptoms. Other studies found that subjects with anxiety were able to experience substantial reductions in symptoms over the first two weeks of practicing TM. Another study measured the effects of TM on high school students. The results indicated that TM not only helped reduce stress levels, but it also improved academic performance. The teens that spent more time meditating were able to experience greater decreases in overall anxiety. In fact, they slept better and had more self-confidence.
TM relies on a subtle effect of a specific phrase bringing the mind-body system to a state of deep relaxation. In this restful state, it’s possible to experience more alertness, being more aware of things in your life. It’s possible to improve brain coherence, reduce stress levels, and lower the breathing rate, all of which improve physical and mental condition. If you are interested in learning more about the practice, there are many online tutorials and videos that are very educational. Check them out and let us know if TM helps improve your life in any way, shape, or form.