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Transcedental meditation helps in reducing collective stress, violence: Study

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New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) Traditional medicine practices such as transcendental meditation and advanced Transcedental-Sidhi programme can enhance social wellbeing and foster peace which in turn help lower collective stress and violence, according to a study.

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In the midst of global armed conflicts like the Israel-Hamas and Ukraine-Russia wars, there is an urgent need for innovative public health strategies in peace building, the study which was published in the Frontiers in Public Health journal recently said.

The devastating impact of wars, including mortality, injury, disease, and the diversion of healthcare resources, necessitates effective and durable interventions. This perspective aligns with the WHO recommendations and examines the role of evidence-based meditation from Ayurveda and yoga in public health to mitigate collective stress and prevent collective violence and war, the study said.

Dr Robert H Schneider, Dean of the College of Integrative Medicine at Maharishi International University in the US and one of the authors said, "Our review indicates that when a relatively small group participates in these meditation programs, there's a correlated drop in societal stress and violence indicators." This highlights a collective consciousness effect that can be scientifically measured. Recognising the profound effects of meditation on public health and peace represents a paradigm shift, Dr Schneider said.

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Dr Tony Nader, another author and a neuroscientist at Institute for Consciousness and its Applied Technologies, Maharishi International University said, "Population neuroscience provides a powerful framework".

"And this framework allows us to understand how the practice of collective meditation can not only stabilise societal stress on a large scale, but also potentially influence what we may call collective consciousness. By fostering a calmer and more connected collective mind, this practice has the potential to serve as a powerful preventative measure, averting outbreaks of collective violence and wars," she said.

The research, led by Maharishi International University, analyses data demonstrating a remarkable decrease in violence rates when a specific percentage of the population practices Transcedental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi together. The study highlighted the crucial role meditation can play in public health initiatives, particularly in conflict zones.

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Dr Gunvant Yeola, Principal, DY Patil College of Ayurveda, Pune, Maharashtra, and another author of the study emphasised the profound impact of group meditation on brain synchronisation and societal coherence.

The article, viewed through the lens of population neuroscience, suggests that group meditation can reduce stress-related behaviours by synchronising brain activity across individuals.

Dr Yeola said, "Ayurveda and Yoga have long recognised the interconnection between individual wellness and societal health. These findings provide a modern scientific validation of ancient wisdom, highlighting meditation's pivotal role in public health and peace-building." "The introduction of group meditation was associated with a noticeable decrease in violent incidents and improved quality of life metrics in conflict zones," the authors noted. PTI PLB DV DV

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