Veterans benefit from practicing mindfulness


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Stop. Take a Breath. Be Mindful

Mindfulness is the state of moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.  It is human nature to sometimes live on autopilot.  We have tendencies to rehearse the future — what will I do next? Or rehash the past — I shouldn’t have done that. Being mindful is noticing what is happening right now; without judging or trying to fix it.  Being mindful and aware allows you to tune into signs and signals that your body and mind is sending.

“My husband sustained a severe TBI in Iraq and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.  A couple years ago when his symptoms were particularly severe, I was having a really hard time coping.  Luckily, since I’m also a Veteran, VA was there for me.  I started getting Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help me better manage my stress.  My psychologist encouraged me to try the VA Mindfulness Coach App between sessions, and it was incredibly useful.  If I started to feel overwhelmed, one of the guided practices would help me calm down and center myself.  My favorite guided meditation podcasts were Leaves on a Stream and Clouds in the Sky.  The app is a great way to begin a mindfulness practice, and is totally free!”

 Kayla Williams, Army Veteran

Benefits of practicing mindfulness include reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts to working memory, less emotional reactivity, increased cognitive flexibility, and relationship satisfaction.  When we are present, we can make conscious, proactive choices about every aspect of our health.

Practice mindfulness by maintaining the following activities

Woman practicing mindfulness by meditating

Make conscious, proactive choices about every aspect of our health

  • Find a time during the day to sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes, listen to your breath, and be in the moment. You may need to try meditating at different times of the day to see what works for you.  Maybe it’s during your lunch break or first thing when you wake up.
  • Repetition is very helpful in sticking to a mindfulness Try combining meditation with another existing habit.  For example, mediate right after brushing your teeth every morning.  Meditating in the same time and place each day will help create a habit.

VA is here to support your mindfulness practice


Author: VA Women’s Health Services

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Francis Paul Drohan    

    Great News for Everyone. Mindfulness and a SPIRITUAL AWARENESS sounds like Russian at first. Become Aware of Who YOU ARE and who You are BECOMING.
    A NamVet 65-66 usmc and Now 72 yrs old.
    Married for 59 yrs and Self employed for 40 yrs allows me to give all VETS some HOPE
    and STRENGTH to be MOTIVATED by Searching WITHIN and finding the NEW YOU and PROCLAIMING ONES RARITY and UNIQUENESS. ..Start Today because it’s never to Late. ” Today is your NEW BIRTHDAY” fpd.

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