By Martha Batorski, EdD
Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is one of the most widely researched meditation practices in the world with over 600 published studies, several of which have received funding from the National Institutes of Health in excess of $32 million dollars. The TM technique improves the efficiency and orderliness of a woman’s brain, keeping us more alert, vibrant and astute at any age. Although women are often stereotyped as emotional creatures, neuroscience tells us that a woman’s brain is physically different from a man’s brain: we are actually hardwired to be planners, organizers, decision makers, and creative visionaries.
Yet women often feel that due to exhaustion and stress they are not as clear, present or creative as they would like to be. In addition, brain function can be inhibited by certain lifestyle factors, such as drug and alcohol use, poor sleep and diet, or crisis during childhood—in some cases contributing to disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression and chronic anxiety.
Brainwaves and Meditation
Neuroscientists have found that during Transcendental Meditation practice, the brain produces high-power alpha waves. This distinct brain pattern corresponds to the state of the related inner wakefulness—serenity, expansion and bliss.
But that’s not all. The alpha waves become synchronous, rising and falling together. This coherence often spreads throughout the brain and is strongest in the pre-frontal cortex— the seat of your brain’s executive judgment.
A Healthier Brain
We all need orderly brain function—for everything from running a business to remembering our grocery list to organizing our kid’s play dates. When the brain is more coherent and integrated, all the different parts communicate better; working together better as a whole. This is the basis of improved mental performance—better memory, increased creativity, broader comprehension and sharper focus. Over time, this coherent brain functioning found during Transcendental Meditation practice becomes stabilized even outside of meditation.
No other meditation technique has been found to consistently produce alpha coherence throughout the brain. Researchers have found that the experience of “transcending” resets the brain’s natural ground state—restoring neurological balance, inner silence, and clarity of mind. (Cognitive Processing, 11:1, 2010 Focused attention, open monitoring, and automatic self-transcending: Categories of meditations.)
With benefits like these it’s no wonder that dynamic women like Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Candy Crowley and Soledad O’Brian all practice TM.
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