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If Stressed, Try Meditating: Psychiatrist

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    If you’re stressed, meditate, says a world-renowned psychiatrist.

    “Your nervous system is constantly being assaulted all day long -- stresses from within, from other people, obstacles occur. When you meditate regularly, you don’t get bent out of shape so easily,” says  Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical.

    "Often times when we snap at people, we’re under stress,” he says.

    This can be especially true for those living in large cities like New York City.

    “Getting to work, getting to the bus, the deadlines that you have to make, and the hours that you have to work – these are constant stresses stressing us and if we don’t have a quiet place to go and a special technique that enables us to settle down our bodies and our minds, then we don’t have protection against the frequent batterings to our nervous system – that have consequences,” Rosenthal says.

    The technique that the former 20-year National Institute of Mental Health senior researcher recommends is transcendental meditation, which uses a mantra taught in a specific, effortless way.

    But "any meditation is better than none," he says.

    Clinical data shows that meditation reduces stress and stress-related disorders like hypertension, high cholesterol and stroke. Scientific research shows that meditating helps decrease stress hormones including adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol by reducing the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

    Studies also show that transcendental meditation has physical and psychological effects, including lowering blood pressure, reducing response to pain and increasing longevity.

    In his new book “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation,”  Rosenthal describes the benefits of transcendental meditation.

    Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced transcendental meditation to the West 50 years ago, personally teaching the technique to celebrities including Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

    Experts say transcendental meditation should be practiced twice a day for 20 minutes.

    “That morning meditation sets you up for the day,” says Rosenthal.

    And the afternoon shakes loose the burdens of the day, he adds.

    Transcendental meditation is not associated with a particular religion or belief system.

    Today, more than five million people, including Russell Simmons and Russel Brand, practice transcendental meditation.