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Transcendental Meditation Reduces Burnout, Stress, Fatigue, and Depression

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Burnout, Stress, Fatigue, and Depression
  • Teachers who used transcendental meditation (TM) for four months had significant reductions in burnout, stress, fatigue, and depression, with increases in resilience.Ā 

  • TM is different from regular meditation in that it involves repeating a mantra and is typically practiced for 20 minutes, twice per day.Ā 

This article was posted on EurekAlert.org:

Teachers who participated in a meditation-based teacher development program utilizing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique for four months, had significant improvements in emotional exhaustion (the leading factor in burnout), resilience, perceived stress, fatigue, and depression according toĀ a new randomized controlled trial published today inĀ Frontiers in Education.

"Teachers are under high levels of stress as they are asked every day to support their students' learning amidst numerous challenges," said Laurent Valosek, lead author of the study and executive director of the Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education. "This study demonstrates the benefits of meditation for strengthening teachers' mental and physical health. There is a growing body of research on the harmful effects of burnout and the need for resilience. School districts are looking to give their teachers tools for reducing fatigue and emotional exhaustion to support a more effective, sustainable teaching experience and better student outcomes."


It is estimated that 70% of professionals are under constant stress, with over 20% experiencing burnout. Teachers, in particular, face significant daily demands, stress, and fatigue due to their classroom challenges and other professional activities. Burnout includes emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Signs of teacher burnout include absenteeism from work, impatience with students and colleagues, lack of commitment, poor job performance, and turnover.


A new randomized control study published inĀ Frontiers in EducationĀ involved 78 teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District. The study found that during a four-month period, those practicing the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique experienced significant improvements in measures of mental, physical, and emotional health.

These findings are consistent with past research on TM showing benefits related to stress reduction and emotional health. This was the first study to investigate the effects of a meditation-based teacher development program on burnout and resilience, two key factors associated with overall mental health.

The primary outcome in the study was emotional exhaustion (the main factor in burnout), as measured by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). In addition to observing improvements in burnout, the researchers also found improvements in resilience, perceived stress, fatigue, and depression.


Recent research has begun to show a direct link between teacher stress and the levels of stress in their students. Middle school students in British Columbia showed significant increases in blood cortisol levels linked to their teacher's level of burnout.

Teacher burnout is also associated with reduced student academic performance due to decreased commitment to students, less preparation, and absenteeism. Teacher absenteeism brings results in students learning from less qualified substitute teachers, and eventually results in higher teacher turnover. This research suggests a potential benefit from meditation-based teacher development programs designed to promote emotional wellness and health in teachers and build healthy emotional climates, which are associated with positive student learning.

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