Have you developed a meditation practice for yourself?
I have meditated now for almost 20 years and it is one of the best things I have done for myself. Like many HSPs, stress has always been a problem for me. Meditation is one of the few things I have found that provides serious help.
Traumatic Stress Required Healing
Many HSPs not only suffer from serious debilitating stress but also the traumatic stress caused by abuse. All the the violence including verbal and emotional violence in our world causes a tremendous amount of suffering especially for highly sensitive people because it can take a lot of time for us to recover from a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, in some situations, people do not recover, the traumatic damage is too great.
Many Forms Of Traumatic Stress
Any form of trauma can create serious and long-lasting traumatic stress. All forms of childhood abuse, assault and any other form of violence, and bullying can create deep long lasting emotional and mental pain.
The worst, of course, is war where violence is a constant for a long period of time, which is why a new study is so valuable for all trauma sufferers.
Meditation Helps PTSD
It is very useful to understand what treatments benefit those who have suffered the worst forms of abuse, since they can often help those whose injuries are milder.
According to a recent 2008 study of five Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who has served up to two years and experienced moderate to moderately heavy fighting, meditation was able to relieve their PTSD symptoms. According to the release by the Behavioral Medicine Report, the study was conducted by Norman Rosenthal, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and director of research at Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland.
Dr. Rosenthal is a well-known researcher who has pioneered seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and light therapy. In the veterans study, the former soldiers were taught Transcendental Meditation, and the results were monitored using Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), which is the premier tool used to assess post traumatic stress disorder patients. After eight weeks of meditation, the veterans had a 50% reduction in their symptoms.
Apparently meditation helps PTSD sufferers significantly. This is not the first time that researchers discovered that meditation helps PTSD symptoms in veterans. In 1985, the University of Colorado also experienced positive results during their three month study.
The Behavioral Medicine Report makes this observation:
Rosenthal hypothesizes that Transcendental Meditation helps people with post traumatic stress disorder because regular practice produces long-term changes in sympathetic nervous system activity, as evidenced by decreased blood pressure, and lower reactivity to stress. Transcendental Meditation quiets down the nervous system, and slows down the ‘fight-or-flight’ response,” he said. People with post traumatic stress disorders show overactive fight-or-flight responses, making them excellent candidates for Transcendental Meditation.
PTSD has a long history. PTSD has been called a number of other different names, including:
- battle fatigue or gross stress reaction for soldiers who came down with PTSD after World War II
- combat fatigue or shell shock for soldiers who experienced PTSD symptoms after World War I
- soldier’s heart for soldiers who developed the symptoms of PTSD after the Civil War.
- more recently it has been found to be inheritable and can be caused by abuse.
Meditation For Traumatic Stress Sufferers
Meditation has also been around for centuries and we now are starting to have the scientific proof of its benefits. The military sees Transcendental Meditation being used in the future to assist veterans suffering from PTSD which sounds like a great idea.
However, since it is so useful for military PTSD sufferers, we should use it wherever it can make a difference. Many people suffer from emotional and mental stress caused by various forms of abuse.
Highly sensitive people suffer more than most and have a particularly acute need to get help with stress disorders. Transcendental Meditation has been helpful for me. It has the important benefit of quieting and healing the nervous system which is precisely what highly sensitive people need.
Many HSPs like myself use it and it is worth considering as a healing method.