Meditation Benefits: Improved Brain Functioning in ADHD Students

Neuroscientist Fred Travis, PhD, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management completed his second study investigating the effects of Transcendental Meditation practiced on task performance and improved brain functioning in eighteen students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Improved Brain Functioning in ADHD Students

Improved Brain Functioning in ADHD Students

This random-assignment controlled study, which was published in Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry, found decreased symptoms of ADHD in students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.

The study took place of a six month period of time at an independent school for children with language-based learning disabilities in Washington, D.C.  This study showed improved brain functioning, along with an increase in brain processing; there was also, an improvement in the language-based skills, for those students with ADHD, who practiced Transcendental Meditation.   

All the students were pretested, then using delayed-start or random assignment comparison groups, were post-tested at three and six months. The students in the delay group began learning TM after the first three month period, when they were once again post-tested.

The student were given a verbal fluency test, a psychological test in which participants have to say as many words as possible from a category in a given time (usually 60 seconds). This test measures the executive functions of the brain, including systematic retrieval of knowledge, initiation and simultaneous processing.

How well students were able to perform these tasks were dependent on certain basic cognitive abilities, including attention, spelling and vocabulary knowledge.

EEG (Electroencephalography, can be used to diagnose and accurately identify students with ADHD by measuring the varying relationship between theta brain waves and beta brain waves.

 Daydreaming, drowsiness, and unfocused mental states are usually associated with a theta EEG reading of around 4 to 5 Hz, while a theta EEG reading of around 6 to 8 Hz indicates focus on mental tasks, for example memory, identification, and association.

According to co-researcher William Stixrud, PhD, a prominent Silver Spring, Maryland, clinical neuropsychologist,  Prior research shows ADHD children have slower brain development and a reduced ability to cope with stress. Virtually everyone finds it difficult to pay attention, organize themselves and get things done when they’re under stress,” he explained. “Stress interferes with the ability to learn—it shuts down the brain. Functions such as attention, memory, organization, and integration are compromised.”

Transcendental Meditation was chosen for a variety of reasons, the first being that TM has been shown to increase brain function. TM has been shown to effectively reduce stress and because stress is a key component effecting the lives of students with ADHD, for this reason Dr. Stixrud believed that this meditation technique would be the most effective.

The number one reason that TM would be an affective type of meditation is because it’s easy to practice and easy to learn, TM is a mantra based meditation technique, which means that the students didn’t have to learn to concentrate or control their minds, at least not to the degree that some of the other techniques would require.  

Dr. Travis notes that TM, like all forms of mantra meditation or “automatic self-transcending meditation,” creates an experience known as restful alertness a state that’ associated with increased activity in the frontal and parietal portions of the brain, as opposed to the reduction in metabolic activity in the thalamus which is linked to hyperactivity.       

According to Dr. Travis, “the repeated experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique trains the brain to function in a style opposite to that of ADHD.”

In a student-parent survey:

“Students reported that the TM technique was enjoyable and easy to do. They felt calmer, less stressed, and better able to concentrate on their schoolwork. They also said they were happier since they started TM. This correlated with reports from the parents.

At the end of the research, the parents completed a questionnaire to assess their perceptions of changes in five ADHD-related symptoms in their children from the beginning to the end of the study. There were positive and statistically significant improvements in the five areas measured: a) Ability to focus on schoolwork, b) Organizational abilities, c) Ability to work independently, d) Happiness, and e) Quality of sleep.”

The conclusion of the report was that the results were very promising and as Dr. Stixrud observed, “Significant improvement in the theta/beta ratio without medication and without having to use any expensive equipment is a big deal, as is significant improvement in student happiness and student academic functioning reported by the parents.”

It would seem that there is real hope for improved brain functioning in ADHD students who practice Transcendental Meditation or any form of mantra meditation. While further research is needed, it is seems there is hope for parents looking for a way to reduce their child’s need for medication. Read the full article…

Is Meditation an Educational Tool?

Meditation can enhance the educational experience in much the same way that it promotes healing and relieves stress. In fact, stress reduction itself allows anyone, including students, to function more effectively.

Is Meditation an Educational Tool

Is Meditation an Educational Tool

The meditation benefits of positive life choices and mind-states such as feeling at peace, finding joy, love and well-being in the body and mind, all of which promote self-confidence, effectiveness and a personal sense of power. All qualities which are immensely valuable to students navigating into today’s culture and educational systems. ᅠ

Joe Wilner writes in, “Adventures in Positive Psychology,” and asks the question about meditation in schools, “Could it be a promising educational tool?” Here’s what he has to say… ᅠᅠ

Students today are more stressed, have more distractions, and often don’t have an effective outlet to cope with daily tension.

It’s all too easy for teenagers to turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, and the media as a way of escaping the pressure of being a young adult.

Meditation is a simple and effective practice to help reduce stress, and been shown to have many other positive psychological effects.

So, would it be valuable for school districts to integrate meditation programs in their schools?

There are many schools around the nation that have already done so, and it appears that meditation can provide a positive outlet for youth.

Here are a few ways meditation can have a positive impact.

Research has shown meditation improves academic performance and results in improvement in intelligence.

This may be in part due to enhancing attention and concentration, as well as providing a method to cope with stress and anxiety that can impact academic performance.

As well, certain types of mediation have been shown to alter brain activity to improve executive functions involved with attention, focus, planning, and alertness.

Particularly, Transcendental Meditation (TM) helps the brain function in a more orderly and coherent fashion leading to improved creativity, greater emotional maturity, and stress reduction.

The emotional and mental benefits of meditation not only improve academic performance but can lead to healthier interpersonal relationships. Mediation offers a way to train the mind toward optimal emotional states, such as compassion, loving-kindness, joy, and empathy.

With less stress and agitation schools will see a decline in aggressive behavior and a more positive school environment.

Overall, if these social and emotional improvements lead to greater school satisfaction for students this will have recurring benefits of its own.

Research has shown that the level of school-satisfaction is related to improved academic performance and decreases in behavior problems.

Meditation and mindfulness training programs are growing in several school districts around the nation, and students generally like participating in meditation.

However, many parents feel that mediation is connected to religion and view it as an ancient, mystical practice having no place in public schools. Proponents would claim that it is unrelated to religion and is simply a practice that offers physiological benefits, just the same as yoga or cardiovascular exercise.

Regardless of your view, if students are being pushed to work harder and expected to compete in the ever increasing globalized world we live in, it would helpful to provide them with a tool to manage enhance emotional and mental faculties.

In his conclusion Joe believes that, given the expectations placed on students today, that providing them with every available tool, not just to enhance their learning but to help them cope with the pressures of the educational system, isn’t simply a good idea, it’s becoming a survival tool.

And meditation is the tool that will teach them how to cultivate qualities and skills they need; to name a few, increased concentration and focus, how to be in the moment and free from expectations, developing a longer attention span, enhanced mental clarity and, frankly, all the other meditation benefits that come with a regular practice.

 

Regular practice is the key to being able to successfully benefit from this tool, and by teaching it in the schools a regular practice is more likely to occur. In a formal educational environment students can be exposed to other beneficial forms of meditation such as guided imagery. Personally, I do believe that meditation can be a promising educational tool. What do you think? Click here to visit the original source of this post

Top Research Psychiatrist Promotes Meditation Benefits

This post is, essentially, an interview with Norman Rosenthal, M.D. professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, who is best known for his study and treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Dr. Rosenthal as just published a book, “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation,” which features case studies and interviews with meditators, including such celebrities as Paul McCartney, Russell Brand and many others.

At the end of the article there is a video presentation with Dr. Rosenthal and in it he starts off qualifying himself by saying, “…I’m not a TM insider” and noting that he came to the practice later in life. However, Dr. Rosenthal, quickly makes it known that he’s did his research and in the process discovered a large volume scientifically measurable data.

A world-renowned psychiatrist is speaking out about a powerful antidote, he believes, for many of our modern woes, a way to help overcome stress-related disorders while opening a new window to the potentialities of the human brain.

There have been a number of posts this week about Dr. Rosenthal speaking about Transcendental Meditation and his new book; this one by Jeanne Ball is by far the best. Dr.  Rosenthal is another scientific voice adding to the validity of the benefits of meditation.

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Could a Meditation Benefit be helping Vets Suffering with PTSD?

In this study, conducted by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, and will appear in the June 1st issue of “Military Medicine,” a great deal of promise in treating the symptoms of PTSD using Transcendental Meditation.

Meditation is known to lower blood pressure, reduce the heart rate in other words reduce the stress response. It’s the ‘fight-or-flight’ response that is hyper-active in those suffering with PTSD.ᅠ

If even a small percentage of people with PTSD were to obtain the kind of benefits Joe reports, then teaching our wounded warriors to meditate promises an abundant return on our investment. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at

Being able to even provide treatment programs for all those suffering from PTSD, based on the standard of treatment, has been sorely lacking, because the facilities that can provide aversive deconditioning are limited.

If, as the preliminary studies suggest, meditation can help control or alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, then a very accessible and inexpensive treatment will be available to all those who suffer from the syndrome, including earthquake, tornado or any other victims of devastating natural disasters.

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Transcendental meditation the Meditation Benefits of a Daily Practice

Best known for describing seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Dr. Norman Rosenthal, believes that we would all benefit from a daily meditation practice. Just as a musicians tune their instruments, we can and need to tune our brains. Meditation is the means to do the tuning and Rosenthal recommends transcendental meditation, though any mantra based, inner awareness meditation will have the same affect.ᅠ

But the benefits of meditation are not limited to anger management and lower cholesterol. At the seminar psychiatrists, therapists, mental health workers and spiritual teachers had come together to explore how the spiritual dimension of meditation  
The Guardian

A mantra is a word without meaning that “anchors” the mind, which allows us to still our thoughts and eventually leads us to self-realization. This self-realization is the gradual releasing of attachment or the process of enlightenment.

In the end, the benefits of meditation can be experienced in the same way that the benefits of exercise can be, through a daily practice.

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Helping American student compete – a meditation benefit?

It’s no secret that American student are not at the top of the academic achievement ladder when compared to their peers, in fact they are 25th out 34 in math competences.

Published in the March 2011 edition of the journal Education, a study found that student that practiced meditation showed academic improvement when compared to controls.

The studies are showing that meditation affects the brain in different ways and that different meditation techniques also have different affects.

That’s why meditating students can focus and get their class work done more easily.” Researchers have long known that various meditation practices affect the brain–and different techniques change the brain in different ways. 2 Says William Stixrud,

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The author is making the case for addition of meditation to the classroom. For those of us who have made meditation a part of our lives, it would seem to be a no brainer. The problem is that there are those who, because they lack (in my opinion) a real understanding of the practice, fear that a ‘no brainer’ is what will happen to the students; or even worse, they will be brain washed.

This lack of understanding is causing some resistance in places where meditation has been introduced in to the classroom, and I’m glad to see that there are those who will continue to champion this cause because its benefits, to the student and ultimately to all of us, are significant.