New Study Shows Transcendental Meditation Reduces Emotional Stress, Improves Academics

PICTURE: Over a four-month period, students practicing the TM technique experienced significant improvements in measures of emotional health compared to students who engaged in sustained silent reading. view After

Credit: CWAE

Students who participated in a meditation-based Quiet Time program using the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for four months experienced significant improvements in overall emotional stress symptoms, sleep quality, and English academic achievement. Language Arts (ELA) according to a new randomized controlled study. essay published last month in Education. The study was conducted by researchers at the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education and Stanford University. This was the first randomized controlled trial to study the effects of TM on standardized academic tests.

“Students experience increased levels of stress and this has an impact on their academic performance,” said Laurent Valosek, lead author of the study and executive director of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education. “This research shows the impact of meditation on the mental and physical health of high school students and shows that meditation plays a vital role in promoting better academic results, even in relation to more time spent reading.”

Student emotional well-being and its impact on academic performance

According to the American Psychological Association, adolescents report much more stress than they think they are healthy. 31% of adolescents say they feel overwhelmed and 36% say they feel tired from stress. More than a third of teens say their stress levels have increased in the past year, while about half of teens feel they are not doing enough to manage their stress.

This increased stress is linked to poor academics, as well as a number of other measures including low attendance and unhealthy behaviors around sleep, eating, and substance use. Stress also increases the negative effects, leading to strained relationships with classmates and teachers, as well as rule violations and suspensions.

Transcendental meditation improves emotional balance and academic performance

A new randomized controlled study published in Education involved 98 ninth grade students at a public high school on the west coast. The study found that over a four-month period, students practicing the TM technique experienced significant improvements in health and study measures compared to students who engaged in sustained silent reading.

These findings are consistent with previous TM research showing benefits related to emotional health and intelligence. It was the first randomized controlled trial to study the effects of a meditation-based school program on standardized tests.

“As a former high school administrator, I saw first-hand the effects of stress, anxiety and fatigue on the mental and physical well-being of students. High levels of psychological distress not only lead to lower academic performance, but also have serious consequences. for the whole child, ”said Margaret Peterson, study co-author and executive director of the California World Language Project at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. “In my 30 years as an educator, Transcendental Meditation has been the unique and most effective tool to help reduce stress and improve student performance.”

Among students who were below proficiency at baseline, 69% of meditation students improved at least one level of performance on the post-test, compared to 33% of control students. This is particularly noteworthy because the control group was doing sustained silent reading, suggesting that introducing meditation into the school day may be more effective in improving academic performance than the extra time spent reading.

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Valosek, L., Nidich, S., Grant, J., Peterson, M., Nidich, R. Effect of meditation on psychological stress and academic achievement in high school students: a randomized controlled study. Education, Volume 141, Number 4, June 15, 2021, pp. 192-200 (9).

Available at: https: ///www.ingentaconnect.com /content /impression/ed /2021 /00000141 /00000004 /art00005

About the Center for Educational Wellness and Success

The Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education (CWAE) is a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. CWAE’s mission is to optimize educational performance, reduce violence, stress, and substance abuse, and improve the psychological well-being of students, faculty, and administrators by strengthening the underlying neurophysiology of perception. , learning and behavior. CWAE has served more than 15,000 youth, teachers and administrators in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of the youth served, 98% are students of color and 62% live in low-income homes.

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