Nurses who practiced a form of meditation once championed by the Beatles slashed their stress and anxiety levels, according to new research.
Transcendental Meditation “significantly” reduced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety in frontline nurses by more than half over a three-month period during the COVID-19 pandemic, says scientists.
They showed “rapid and significant” improvements in PTSD, anxiety, and burnout during the study period compared to people who didn’t practice, according to the findings published in the Journal of Nursing Administration.
The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of Transcendental Meditation on nurses’ well-being, conceptualized as the presence of flourishing and the absence of PTSD, anxiety, and burnout.
Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.
It is easily learned and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It does not involve concentration, control of the mind, contemplation, or monitoring of thoughts or breathing.
Practitioners believe it allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of inner calm.
The research was funded by the David Lynch Foundation’s Heal the Healers Now campaign, set up by the American director of Twin Peaks and Wild At Heart and TM practitioner in 2005 to fund the teaching of TM in schools.
A total of 104 nurses in three hospitals in Florida in the US participated.
Clinical nurses assigned to the meditation group took the instruction with certified TM teachers, which included follow-up meetings over a three-month period.
The control group continued with “life as usual” and was offered the TM course at the conclusion of the study.
Based on the statistical analysis there was a 62 percent decrease in anxiety in the TM group compared to three percent in the controls, and a 54 percent decrease in the TM group after three months compared to 17 percent in the controls.
PTSD decreased 57 percent in the TM group over three months compared to a 17 percent decrease in the controls.
Burnout due to emotional exhaustion decreased by 24 percent in the TM group over the three-month study period compared to no change in controls.
In the TM group, flourishing improved by 16 percent in the TM group compared to a three percent increase in controls over the three-month study period.
Study lead author Dr. Jennifer Bonamer, of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, said: “It has never been more crucial that we support the health of our nurses and other clinical staff.
“This study is important because it demonstrated that TM was substantially helpful, even during COVID, in reducing PTSD, anxiety and burnout experienced by nurses.
“Furthermore, it helped to improve nurses’ experience of thriving beyond just surviving, even in the midst of today’s challenging healthcare environment.”
The research team concluded the study shows the effectiveness of nurses’ practice of the TM technique to improve flourishing and reduce PTSD, anxiety, and burnout.
Dr. Bonamer added: “TM provides nurses with a simple, effective, and evidence-based strategy for enhancing well-being, with the goal of retaining clinical nurses in practice.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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