This May be the Answer to Psychological Distress and Poor Brain Health
Node Smith, ND
Psychological Distress is an all too common experience for many individuals. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of 70 percent of all visits to primary care providers are related in some way to psychological stress. The most common forms of psychological stress, depression and anxiety, are becoming so ubiquitous that many people consider these states of being to be “normal.”
Are Depression and Anxiety the New Normal?
Psychological stability is a crucial component to physical and mental health. It is also a key factor in brain integration and mental acuity. Additionally, the psychological health of individuals is a prime determinant of an organization’s effectiveness.
Study looked at government employees to gauge efficacy
A recent study looked at a sector of the population that is particularly affected by psychological distress, government employees. It is well accepted that workers within government agencies and organizations have a high degree of dissatisfaction with their jobs, which, at times, can be visibly apparent to individuals who have to interact with them. In turn, this may be a factor in the overall inefficiency of many government offices.
Study utilized EEG brain integration, positive affect, and decreased psychological distress in government employees
The study tested whether a simple mind-body technique, the Transcendental meditation (TM) program could increase EEG brain integration and positive affect, and decrease psychological distress in government employees.
How the study was conducted
Ninety-six central office administrators and staff members at the San Francisco Unified School District were assigned to either immediately start a TM program or were assigned to a wait-list control group. At baseline and four-months after the program, participants completed an online version of the Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS). Also, participants had their EEG recorded at baseline and at four-months post-test in order to calculate Brain Integration Scale (BIS) score.
The results showed that individuals who participated in the TM program had significant decreases in anxiety, anger, depression, fatigue, and confusion, and significant increases in vigor. These participants also had significantly increased BIS scores, indicating higher mental functioning then at the beginning of the study. The compliance with meditation practice during the study was very high – 93%.
My conclusion of this study’s data
My conclusion of this study’s data is that if more research is needed to be done in this area, perhaps larger portions of the government could be enrolled in these studies.
- Travis F, Valosek L, Konrad A, et al. Effect of meditation on psychological distress and brain functioning: A randomized controlled study. Brain Cogn. 2018;125:100-105.
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and associate editor and continuing education director for NDNR. His mission is serving relationships that support the process of transformation, and that ultimately lead to healthier people, businesses and communities. His primary therapeutic tools include counselling, homeopathy, diet and the use of cold water combined with exercise. Node considers health to be a reflection of the relationships a person or a business has with themselves, with God and with those around them. In order to cure disease and to heal, these relationships must be specifically considered. Node has worked intimately with many groups and organizations within the naturopathic profession, and helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic Revitalization (ANR), which works to promote and facilitate experiential education in vitalism.
Node Smith graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in 2017, and is currently licensed as a naturopathic physician in Oregon and working towards becoming licensed in Saskatchewan, Canada as well.