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From Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, and Oprah, to Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Brand, and Dr. Oz, everyone these days is practicing transcendental meditation (TM). Prized for its health and stress-relieving benefits, TM continues to become more mainstream and has a transforming effect on those who practice it. Even the American Heart Association and a number of health professionals have given TM their stamp of approval.

Developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, transcendental meditation is derived from the Vedic traditions of India and was first introduced to the U.S. in the 1960s. Since then, it has been practiced by over six million people.

According to TM.org, it’s a simple, natural technique that anyone can do. For 20 minutes, twice a day, sit comfortably with your eyes closed, while repeating a mantra (word or sound) in your head. Doing this will allow you to enter a quieter level of thought and transcend into a state of pure consciousness and relaxation. While it may seem like other types of meditation, TM differs in that it requires a certified instructor.

If you’re skeptical about giving it a try, consider this— over 380 peer-reviewed research studies have been published on the practice, which detail its wide range of health benefits. Here’s five reasons to start mediating:

Beat Your Daily Stress

One of the biggest benefits of transcendental meditation is stress relief. Stress affects all areas of the body, from your muscles, to your hormones, to your heart.  Fortunately, one of the main results of TM practice is that it helps re-balance your nervous system and hormonal levels, specifically reducing cortisol levels in the body. This essentially breaks up stress stored in your body which can also increase your brain coherence so that your body doesn’t overreact in stressful situations.

Get More From Your Workouts

If you want to take your workouts to the next level, TM can help.  Along with increasing your energy and focus, one study found TM can improve your pain tolerance, allowing you to push through that extra mile or set of reps.

Listen to Your Body & Control Your Weight

As mentioned, meditation controls your cortisol levels which not only impacts stress releif. An additional benefit of this is that it makes you more in tune with your body, meaning you’ll have a better understanding of what your body needs and this is helpful for your diet – you will be less inclined to overeat. You’ll be able to identify if you’re actually hungry, instead of bored or anxious.

Strengthen Your Relationships

TM can help you strengthen your relationships with your family, friends, co-workers and significant other. Research shows those who practice TM have a greater appreciation for others.

Feel Better & Look Younger

Aging is a concern for every woman, but fortunately, transcendental meditation can help with that too. A study looked at people around 50 years of age and found those who had been practicing TM for over 5 years looked about 12 years younger.

To learn more about transcendental meditation and get started, visit TM.org.

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