Bucknell University junior, Dana Farley, started practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique in tenth grade. While attending a David Lynch Foundation event in New York City in 2009, Dana, who had a developed a passion for film making, got the idea to make a documentary on her experience with the TM program—and its potential to help the millions of teenagers who are trying to deal with an American culture that sends confusing and conflicting messages to young girls.
Dana was aware of some of the signs of the dangerously high stress levels among teens:
- More than 25% of 13–18 year olds will have a lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
- About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students and the 3rd leading cause of death among all youth 15–24 years old.
- The prevalence of obesity has tripled among persons aged 6–19 years during the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control reported that during.
- Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents.
- About 28 percent of high school students report using some kind of tobacco. Each day 6,000 children under the age of 18 start smoking. Of those, 2,000 will keep smoking. That is 800,000 new teen smokers every year.
- 18% of high school students now carry a knife, razor, firearm, or other weapon on a regular basis, and 9% of them take a weapon to school, according to a recent CDC survey,
Like a growing number of her meditating peers, Dana feels that the TM technique can help make a huge difference in teens lives.
You can watch the trailer of Dana’s documentary, “Beyond the Noise,” by clicking on the video link below.
From a recent interview with Dana:
“I had been dealing with typical teenage stuff—the usual anxieties and depressions that so many teens are trying to deal with. I also grew up with a learning disability that created its own intense stress. By creating this documentary I wanted to bring awareness to the negative things that teens are experiencing, and show how effective TM can be in helping people overcome stress and become more natural.
“There are a million things going through people’s heads. I wanted to help them look through the superficial things that so many young people get caught-up in thinking about and doing—things that are blocking them from being themselves and from expressing their real feelings.
“Teens are turning to drugs and meaningless sex, excessive online games and videos, and chatting and other things trying to find something—trying to find something that’s satisfying their thirst for being happy.
“Instead of running away from or avoiding the problems and hassles you have by taking drugs or fooling around in other ways, TM helps brings a sense of inner freedom, of being ‘high’ in a completely natural way. It gives you a lift in your spirits—a freedom from the stress you are feeling and the sense of burden you are feeling, while at the same time giving you the clarity of thought and the creativity to deal with people and situations in productive ways.
“TM is important because it helps bring you back to earth. TM helps you enjoy being with yourself. It not only feels good when you meditate, but it also makes you feel good after you meditate—it helps you feel more comfortable in your own skin.
“During TM you settle down and experience the quiet, peaceful, contented part of your inner self, and when you come out—back to your activity, some of that peacefulness and contentedness remains. This is an experience we all need to have.”
According to Washington, DC neuropsychologist, Dr. William Stixrud,
“Research has found that at puberty, girls are twice as likely as boys to experience anxiety disorders and depression. They’re also much more likely to develop an eating disorder or to engage in self-injury. Because we know that teenage girls are sculpting their adult brain by how they use it in their teen years, it’s especially important that they take advantage of tools like TM to help reduce their level of stress and anxiety.”
Dana Farley is a student at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.