by TM Magazine, issue 4, Interview with William Stixrud, Ph.D. by Linda Egenes
20 Feb 2012
William Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and director of William Stixrud & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, a group practice specializing in learning, attention, and emotional disorders. Dr. Stixrud is an adjunct faculty member at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He answered the following question when interviewed by Linda Egnes:
How can we prevent stress in children and adults?
Dr Strixud: Sleep deprivation is a form of chronic stress. It does things to the brain and body that other stressors do. And Americans are chronically sleep deprived, sleeping 20% to 25% less than they did 100 years ago, before the advent of electricity.
You can prevent and alleviate stress by getting enough rest. This means sleeping until you wake up without an alarm clock—that’s how you know you’re getting enough sleep. Evidence also shows that daily physical exercise, such as walking, helps alleviate stress in the body and brain.
The role of the Transcendental Meditation technique is to provide deep rest to the nervous system, deeper than sleep. It provides this deep rest while making the mind more alert. It’s this combination that creates more resilience under stress.
The TM technique is really good for the developing brain. Teenagers can do it really easily. They have a center, a core of peacefulness and happiness inside themselves that they can access. The more they do it, the more they find they are less reactive to stress. And if they do get stressed, it goes away faster. They generally sleep better, find it easier to eat normally, and are better able to successfully handle the hassles of life. These kids simply need antidotes to the stressors in life, which may include drugs and alcohol and sleep deprivation.
The TM program also significantly reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes. By de-stressing kids, I think we also significantly reduce the risk for heart-related and obesity-related problems. There is good evidence that the TM technique, by providing a tool for systematically de-stressing, allows the heart to work better, and if the heart works better, the brain works better. It makes kids less at risk for all manner of physical and stress-related problems.
For more information, see the following articles where Dr. William Stixrud answers more questions about stress:
Four things to know about stress: What it is, what it does, how to deal with it, how to prevent it
What is stress? An expert discusses effects on the brain
How can we keep stress from having an adverse effect on us?
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