Reprinted from Menopause Mondays – Transcendental Meditation – TM & ME!
My husband David and I met 39 years ago on a blind date. Yes, ladies go on those blind dates! You just never know, you might meet your soulmate!! David is my life partner. Over the many years we have been together, we try to encourage each other to lead healthy and rewarding lives. I came to the marriage with high cholesterol and David came with periodic migraines.
I take great care to eat healthy and exercise. David supports me in this by doing the same. Over the years, David has found a fabulous migraine specialist who has figured out the right protocol to take care of those migraines when they hit. This is all well and good, but now that we are in our 60’s, I wanted to figure out if there was something we could do to help prevent those migraines instead of managing them after they occur. So, with that in mind, David made an appointment for a consult at Scripps Integrative Medicine.
The doctor suggested that David try TM, (Transcendental Meditation). He explained the science behind it and added that he and many medical professionals, corporate executives, even celebrities mediate twice a day for 20 min. I was a bit skeptical, but willing to try anything that would help David. On the way home in the car, I called the TM center and made an appointment for us to have the training. I thought if I did it with him, it would help David do it.
When we arrived for the training, we were each taken to a different room with a different trainer. There was something very calm about this place. I couldn’t put my finger on it. As I sat with my trainer, I thought, this is so easy and is going to be so helpful to David.
After maybe a minute, I was quite sure that the 20 minutes was almost up. When was the last time I sat calmly for 20 min? I was perplexed by how relaxed I felt. I learned to let go and just “be”, something not very familiar to me, or for that matter, our culture as a whole.
That’s when it hit me—perhaps it wasn’t just David who needed to learn to meditate! OY!
TM where have you been all of our lives!!??
Being a bit Type A (understatement), I had to meditate perfectly. But what was I supposed to do with all those thoughts that kept gushing into my mind as soon as I closed my eyes …what is my next blog….what am I making for dinner….I have to get back to my computer ASAP and answer emails from menopausal women in stress….did I send out that birthday card -you name it the thoughts came flooding in. Yet I found that with this effortless technique the thoughts did not detract from my transcending experience. Every time I meditate this wonderful calmness and inner peace washes over me. I am energized, alert, and way more creative. After 20 min, I feel like I went through a de-stress car wash. My stress just washes away. I love the feeling!
Later, I began reading more about meditation and how it can affect overall health and well-being. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, October 2013: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found significantly greater effect of TM in reducing trait anxiety than treatment-as-usual and other alternative treatments, including mindfulness-based therapy (MBT) and other meditation and relaxation practices.
I reached out to Dr. Josh Trutt, a healthy aging specialist for his thoughts on meditation. He explained, “When we relax, our heart rate slows down, But when we meditate, the interval between each beat of our heart changes and becomes smoother. That interval between each beat is called Heart Rate Variability (or HRV), and smoothing it out is what lets those Yogi masters live longer—in fact in 2010 the American Journal of Cardiology reported that maintaining a healthy HRV as we age actually predicts longevity!”
We all know that heart disease is the number one killer of women. I was thrilled to find out that The National Institutes of Health has funded over $26 million in research on the Transcendental Meditation technique for prevention of heart disease.
Research on TM has shown:
- 50% reduction: heart attack, stroke, death
- Reduced cholesterol
- Reduced high blood pressure
- Reduced insulin resistance
- Alleviation of stress
There are days when David has to peel me from my desk chairs to go meditate. My Type A personality hasn’t changed but my stress level and quality of life has thanks to TM.
You don’t need to have candles and incense lit in order to meditate. You can meditate in your car between appointments, on the airplane, or in a quiet corner during your lunch hour. TM can become part of many happier, healthier, and stress-free days to come. Try it! Transcendental Meditation for Women is now a partner in my life, too. BTW, David’s ok with this!
About the Author
Ellen Dolgen, founder and president of Menopause Mondays and a principal of Dolgen Ventures, is a health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author and speaker. She co-created a FREE eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause, a comprehensive guide to all things menopause—symptoms, treatments, the long-range effects on health, guidance to menopause specialists, essential testing, alternative therapies and remedies. EllenDolgen.com, named first on the list of the “Best Menopause Blogs” by Healthline, has become “the place” on the web for informative and entertaining women’s menopause and wellness engagement.
Ellen produces health and wellness programs for businesses, healthcare institutions, and other organizations. She chaired a social media roundtable for Novo Nordisk in 2012 and in 2013 was a key spokesperson for GLAMTM (Great Life after Menopause), a non-branded campaign sponsored by Novo Nordisk. In 2015, Ellen partnered with Pfizer on a series of menopause videos: “Tune in to Menopause Campaign”. Ellen has appeared often in the media, including the “TODAY Show”, “TODAY Kathie Lee & Hoda”, “The Katie Show”, “NBC Nightly News”, “The Rachael Ray Show”, “The Doctors”, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR’s “Tell Me More”, and Doctor Radio.