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Thoughtful reflection

Other real-life examples

Judith Green, an Orthodox Jew living in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood, says she doesn't have to wait for more studies to recognize the benefits that 30 years of private prayer have had on her own health. Every Friday at sundown, the start of the Jewish Sabbath, the 62-year-old South Africa native lights traditional Sabbath candles and spends up to 20 minutes praying for herself and her loved ones, asking for guidance and assistance from "a power outside ourselves that can make things possible."

For Green, who describes her health as very good, the practice serves as a weekly reality check. "It helps remind me that I can't control everything in my life," she says. "I just need to have the patience to let things come around on their own if that's what's supposed to happen."

Norma Jean Jahn, who lives in Southern California's sprawling San Fernando Valley, feels similarly. The 74-year-old former accountant for Warner Bros. Records calls her health excellent and attributes much of it to her twice-daily meditation sessions, one before noon and the other around 4 p.m. "It relieves stress, and stress is a killer," she says.

Jahn discovered TM eight years ago and said her introduction to it couldn't have come at a better time. "I think it saved my life," she says. "I was under a tremendous amount of stress, and I felt like I was ready for a stroke or a heart attack. The stress just drained all the energy out of me. It was just a struggle to get through the day."

Now, thanks in part to meditation, Jahn also goes to the gym three days a week. She controls stress, rather than vice versa.

"My life," she says, "has turned around completely."

Stephen Gregory has been a journalist for 10 years and has worked for such publications as The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and U.S. News and World Report.

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