Education Lab, Crime Lab Quiet Time

For too many Chicago youth, the pressures of school pale in comparison to neighborhood safety concerns and pressures they may face at home. These youth are constantly bombarded by stress and do not have an opportunity to reset their brains and bodies after traumatic and challenging experiences.

This constant or “toxic” stress can cause permanent damage to brain structure and function.

The Crime Lab and Education Lab are partnering with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time program to test whether providing youth with training and time to practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) can help youth reduce their toxic stress, succeed in school, and stay safe.

Quiet Time provides students with an opportunity to meditate for 15 minutes twice during each school day. Transcendental Meditation has been shown to counteract the body’s physiological response to stress, creating a period of calm for students and helping youth build life-long skills.

The Crime Lab and Education Lab are testing Quiet Time with a randomized controlled trial in CPS high schools, to generate evidence about whether TM can improve outcomes for Chicago’s most vulnerable youth.