The Real Side Effects Of Transcendental Meditation

Famous figures who are known to have practiced transcendental meditation are as varied as Jennifer Aniston, Kendall Jenner, Oprah Winfrey, and Jerry Seinfeld — and with so many celebs giving it a go (per Maharishi School), it must be doing something good, right?

Transcendental meditation, or TM, is meant to help you learn to relax and concentrate, while at the same time avoiding distracting thoughts. According to WebMD, this style of meditation was brought to the U.S. in the 1960s by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who derived it from the traditional Vedic lifestyle and religion of India. In simple terms, TM involves sitting comfortably with your eyes closed and silently repeating a secret mantra in your head.

Studies have indicated that TM can have a number of health benefits, but is it worth trying? What are the side effects of transcendental meditation, and should you be worried if you decide to begin? 

Transcendental meditation may have some negative effects

Before getting started on your transcendental meditation journey, you need to complete a seven-step course with a certified instructor, and the process involves lectures, interviews, and ceremonies. However, you might decide that it's worth it, as the reported benefits include stress management, lowered anxiety, and decreased blood pressure, per Verywell Mind.

While meditation can be good for you, it's not all positive. As reported by Insider, a study from 2017 suggested that meditation (including TM) can have negative side effects — including some you might not have considered. Meditation can prompt negative thinking, make you lose some of your motivation (just as depression can), and even alter your sensory perception. It can also bring up negative emotions and memories, causing you to relive them, or make you more antisocial. Even physical side effects can arise from meditation, from headaches and dizziness to fatigue and weakness, so it's worth bearing this in mind.

However, not everybody who practices TM will experience these side effects, and more research is still needed to find out how prevalent they are. Meditation has benefits for a lot of people, and you may well find that it does for you too.