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AU Study Suggests Transcendental Meditation As Rx For Stress

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By Rebecca Sheir

The American College Health Association reports 50 percent of college students feel overwhelming anxiety. A new study at American University suggests a certain kind of meditation might help.

Brittany Gada is only a freshman at AU, but she's no stranger to stress. "During midterms I ended up working five days and covering for someone else and I had two papers and three midterms in the same week," says Gada.

As AU psychology professor Dave Haaga explains, "It's an age group experiencing a lot of new stresses as far as how to manage their time, make choices when everything isn't as structured as much as it is in high school."

Haaga and a team from Iowa's Maharishi University of Management studied 300 AU students. Half learned transcendental meditation, focusing on a sound or mantra, twice a day. Half did not. After three months, the TM group showed less anxiety, even lower blood pressure.

Brittany Gada says she would try TM. The only catch? "I would definitely have to make time for it!" she says.

And for an international-relations major and French-and-Arabic minor juggling two part-time jobs, that's no small feat.

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