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Better Grades from Meditating

Mary Ann Childers reports
Mar 10, 2004 11:54 pm US/Central

What if the answer to better math grades was as simple as meditation? New research shows that kids who practice transcendental meditation may get a big bonus when they hit the books.

There's a move underway around the country and here in Chicago by parents and educators to allow transcendental meditation in public schools. Today, new research presented at an education conference in New York adds fuel to their effort.

Kids seem to have a reserve of boundless energy. So, it might be hard to imagine that some youngsters actually enjoy sitting still, doing nothing at all, for 20 minutes every day.

"I can't feel anything. It feels numb. I can't even feel the couch I’m sitting on, and then when I’m done I feel like I woke from a nap," explains 13-year-old Charlie Magidovitch.

Charlie and his family began meditating four years ago. They do it every morning and afternoon, in their Highland Park home.

“It's relaxing and it reduces stress, and there's plenty of that in most everyone's life, certainly in our life," said Rabbi Jonathan Magidovitch.

The Magidovitch family is part of a growing movement of parents and teachers who would like to see meditation practiced in every classroom.

Three schools nationwide already offer the relaxation technique to students, including a private school in Iowa and a public charter school in Michigan.

Students at the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit are part of a University of Michigan study to see if meditation really makes a difference in their daily lives.

"We have found that children who practice T.M. for at least three months period duration have better self-esteem, show higher affect, positive affect, show decreased negative feelings about themselves and are more adaptable in how they think about problems and situations," said Dr. Rita Benn, Ph.D. the University of Michigan researcher .

Students who do it, like Charlie and his younger brother Evan, say homework doesn't stress them out so much any more. They can concentrate better.

"I've been focusing much better, more easily," said Evan.

And they get better grades.

“I got smarter, higher grades, focused more on my work and also helped me make good decisions,” Charlie said.

Another study coming out in a medical journal later this month will show the positive impact transcendental meditation can have on blood pressure.

(MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc., All Rights Reserved.)

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