Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program on
KENNETH G. WALTON
DEBRA K. LEVITSKY
Both chronic and acute stress can cause long-lasting abnormalities in the neuroendocrine systems mediating adaptation. These abnormalities, in turn, are thought to contribute to psychological disturbances such as anxiety, depression, and hostility, and to behaviors such as substance abuse, violent aggression, and criminal acts. This article reviews evidence for neuroendocrine abnormalities in aggression and crime, defines stress as it relates to adaptation and behaviors, discusses stress-induced abnormalities in neuroendocrine systems, and reviews evidence that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program may reduce aggression and crime in part by removing these stress-induced abnormalities. The TMprogram appears to reverse or remove both the physiological and psychological disturbances arising from stress, thus strengthening the individual’s coping abilities and restoring a sense of well-being. These normalizing effects of the Transcendental Meditation program are expected to enhance an individual’s resilience and to promote the ability to fulfill desires in socially responsible ways.
KEYWORDS Violence, aggression, stress, allostatic load, hostility, coping, meditation