Wired for Success—Can TM improve performance?

Psychology Today’s article titled, “How meditation can improve leaders’ performance,” highlights new research on the Transcendental Meditation technique and its effect on the brain.

The article discusses how leaders in organizations are in need of new ways of dealing with the challenge to maintain high levels of performance.

“Leaders need to be at the top of their game to be alert and productive at all times. Unfortunately, far too many leaders use adrenalin-type of strategies to do so, such as caffeine, long working hours and poor nutrition. Certainly the notion of slowing down and being in a peaceful state isn’t commonly seen as an effective leadership strategy. Yet recent brain research shows that meditation can actually improve performance.”

The stimulus for the article is new brain research conducted at American University in Washington, DC and published in a special issue of the journal Cognitive Processing—one dedicated to research on the “Neuroscience of Meditation and Consciousness.”


This study found that college students from American University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique could more highly activate the “default mode network,” a natural “ground state” of the brain.

The study found that the TM technique:

  • produced a unique state of “restful alertness,” as seen in the markedly higher alpha power in the frontal cortex and lower beta and gamma waves in the same area.
  • produced greater alpha wave coherence between the left and right hemispheres of  the brain, showing that the brain functioned in a more holistic way.
  • enhanced an individual’s sense of “self” by activating what neuroscientists call the “default node network” in the brain, the natural ground state of the brain that exists when you close your eyes, but is much more fully activated during Transcendental Meditation practice.

The Psychology Today article concluded by saying:

“So it seems that there is a cost-efficient, easy to learn strategy to enhance leaders’ (and employees’ in general), performance, that could make a significant difference.”

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