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Chant mantra, chase out stress from life

The next time you feel stressed just hold on a minute and start chanting a mantra, and Voila you will instantly feel relaxed. Repeating mantras can help control the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, have a calming effect in traffic and even ease

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 19:19 IST

The next time you feel stressed just hold on a minute and start chanting a mantra, and Voila you will instantly feel relaxed.Repeating mantras can help control the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, have a calming effect in traffic and even ease the boredom of exercise, according to a study in the latest issue of Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Around 83 per cent of veterans and hospital staff surveyed after a five-week mantram course told researchers from the US Department of Veterans Affairs that they found the technique - which involves silently and continuously repeating calming words or phrases throughout the day - useful on a number of occasions.

Just under a quarter of these occasions (24 per cent) related to traffic and work-related stress, 13 per cent to insomnia and 12 per cent to unwanted thoughts. More than half (51 per cent) related to emotional situations.

"Repeating the mantra seemed to stop post-traumatic stress disorder-type dreams that had occurred for 10 to 11 years" said a former veteran and one of the 66 people taking part in the survey.

"The people taking part in the study found that silently repeating a specific word or phrase helped them to handle a number of difficult situations" explains lead researcher Jill E Bormann, Research Nurse Scientist at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in California.

Dr Bormann and her fellow researchers - from the Universities of California and North Carolina - deliberately chose two highly stressed groups to take part in the study.

"Veterans are well known to have many chronic physical and mental health symptoms that interfere with their quality of life and their ability to live normal everyday lives. Similarly, hospital employees have high levels of job stress, leading to decreased job satisfaction and subsequent increases in healthcare costs" she explains.

"Mantram repetition may be useful in diverse modern populations for managing a variety of internal emotional states that sometimes appear endemic to technological society, such as anger, frustration and impatience" says Dr Bormann.

She has also been working on a project to see if mantram repetition decreases anger and increases spiritual faith in adults with HIV.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 19:19 IST