Brain and Memory Function
Our medical expert answers your questions on brain and memory function, outlining the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.
Q: I'm in my 50s now and my memory doesn't seem as good as it used to be. Will the Transcendental Meditation technique help?
Dr. Clark: Many research studies have shown that both short-term and long-term memory are improved with the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Regular practice of the TM technique allows the mind to become more fresh, alert and deeply rested. With a more restful physiology, it's natural that the mind functions more clearly and coherently—improving memory, concentration and cognitive processing.
When the mental fatigue from a day's work is dissolved during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program, the stress and strain that interferes with concentration is also reduced. Improved concentration allows for better memory. By learning the TM technique at the age of 50-something, you may find your memory becomes clearer and crisper and you're able to retain what you read better than you have in years.
Q: I'm so tired all the time that I have trouble focusing in my work. Could TM help?
Dr. Clark: Scientific research on people practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique reveals greater ability to focus, less distractibility and improved performance at work. Studies have shown that people can differentiate an object of attention from its background (better focus on the object) and can make decisions more rapidly and accurately. Each meditation session refreshes the mind, leaving it clearer, more settled and better able to process information. It's better than a nap or a coffee break.
The TM technique allows for deeper rest than even sleep, and surveys show that Americans are running a sleep deficit—sleeping on average one-and-half hours less than they did 100 years ago. The population has accumulated fatigue due to lack of sleep, which gives rise to mental fatigue during the day, lack of job efficiency and increased stress. Regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation program can reduce this backlog of fatigue and sleep deprivation—and also allow for deeper, more restful sleep at night. Most people focus better on their work when they are less fatigued.
Q: Sometimes I feel so stressed about work and raising my family that I can't think straight, and I make decisions I later regret. How can adding one more thing to my day help me?
Dr. Clark: Adding the Transcendental Meditation technique to the day is adding more coherence, more centeredness, more creativity and resourcefulness. Regular practice of TM brings resolution of stress and fatigue in the physiology. According to research, practice of the TM technique leads to more efficiency at work. Many people who start practicing Transcendental Meditation find that raising their family is more fluid, and that this is the solution that they were searching for.
Q: I'm a little dreamy and impractical—my friends call me spacey. Won't practicing Transcendental Meditation just increase this tendency to daydream and not focus on things at hand?
Dr. Clark: No. Research shows that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique enhances the ability to be both creative and focused.
Sometimes people have artistic, creative, broad vision, and those abilities may make them seem dreamy. Research shows that the Transcendental Meditation technique not only will enhance those creative abilities, but will also improve the focused, problem-solving aspects of the mind. The TM technique enlivens the whole brain, including the so-called executive centers of the brain, allowing one to become both more creative and practically productive.
Dr. Christopher Clark, leading Florida psychiatrist.
Christopher Clark, M.D. is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and a recipient of a child psychology fellowship from the University of Washington. He has practiced medicine for over 20 years and is currently a psychiatrist in Vero Beach, Florida.