“Half of all Americans will suffer from mental health woes” –CDC Report

by Gary Kaplan on October 19, 2011

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As important as our physical health is, our mental health is even more important. It colors our perception of our health and our environment.

It has been said: “The world is as we are,” and if we are caught in the depths of depression or overwhelmed by anxiety, it is as if our entire world is viewed through distorted lenses.

Unfortunately, depression and anxiety are increasingly common in our modern society, and bring with them an increased risk of other physical ailments, and in particular, heart disease.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that nearly half of all Americans will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. Anxiety disorders with or without true panic attacks and drug and alcohol abuse are pervasive problems. Many with psychiatric problems that are not incapacitating refuse to seek treatment, because they feel that admission of this type of problem is a sign of weakness or personal failing.

There is some evidence that lifestyle changes may be useful in the prevention and treatment of a variety of mental illnesses, and emphasis has been placed recently on the importance of good sleep habits and regular exercise. Often these lifestyle prescriptions, though useful, are not sufficient, and both counseling and psychotropic medication are required. Yet, in many cases of both minor and more major mental illnesses, employing lifestyle changes, counseling and medication when appropriate, still does not result in meaningful improvement.

If we had to design an ideal preventive therapy, or an adjunctive therapy once mental health issues arise, it would be a therapy free of side effects, easy to learn and perform, available without a prescription, and one which provides cumulative positive results with continued practice. The Transcendental Meditation technique fulfills all these criteria.

As Dr. Norman Rosenthal writes so eloquently in his new bestseller, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation, TM has been such a valuable adjunct in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar illness, as well as a great help to those who suffer with anxiety.

It is no wonder that a technique that allows the mind to effortlessly settle down to enjoy its own blissful nature, is a boon for all of us who practice it, and especially those with a propensity for anxiety or depression. If you culture stability, adaptability and bliss on the level of the mind, you have given yourself a fundamental building block of health.

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Gary-Kaplan

Dr. Gary Kaplan

Dr. Gary Kaplan is a neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaplan received the Albert H. Douglas Award from the Medical Society of the State of New York for outstanding achievements as a clinical teacher interested in promoting and improving the medical education of physicians. He is also a nationally recognized expert on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress-related illnesses, and he appears regularly on CNN, NBC and CNBC and other national television programs speaking about the latest research on Transcendental Meditation and its effects on health.

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