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Can meditation help people in these stressful times?

howard stern transcendental meditation TM stress
Howard Stern has practiced transcendental
meditation for more than 30 years.
(AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM) include Howard Stern, Hugh Jackman, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Sheryl Crow, and Stevie Wonder. Advocates of TM often credit it for improving their personal happiness and professional success. Thousands of students from grade school to the college level have also shown promising results from practicing TM. Could TM be particularly valuable for people in today’s stressful political and economic times?

Proponents of the TM Program seem to think so. According to the official website, TM can deepen relaxation, improve health, and reduce stress:

The unique state of restful alertness gained during the Transcendental Meditation technique promotes health by reducing activation of the sympathetic nervous system—which, in turn, dilates the blood vessels and reduces stress hormones, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.

Some people are wary of TM because they view it as a Hindu practice that might conflict with their own belief system. However, advocates claim it is a straightforward physiological process that does not rely on any particular religious dogma. In fact, testimonial letters have been collected from people representing a wide range of different religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Other critics question whether TM is truly a unique approach to meditation or just a general approach that have been practiced in many countries for centuries.

Anyone interested in pursuing TM can start with the Basic Course, which involves beginning instruction and three months of follow-up sessions. In South Florida there is a TM Program in Miami, Broward County, and the Palm Beaches. A Tom Egenes Seminar on Maharishi Vedic Expression is also coming up on March 27th in Delray Beach; call 561.994.6990 for more information.

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