McLean, VA – May 8, 2012 – Between 2004 and 2008, suicide rates among U.S. Army personnel increased by 80 percent, according to a study published in the medical journal Injury Prevention. Prior to committing suicide, many military members completed tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan and suffered from anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance-abuse disorders.
In response to this serious health problem, efforts have been made to shore up the delivery of mental health services to returning veterans. But is there anything that can be done prior to deployment to help “vaccinate” soldiers from the damaging effects of extreme or prolonged stress of combat? One exciting approach is being taken by the Mind-Fitness Training Institute (MFTI), a non-profit organization located in Alexandria, Virginia. MFTI trains soldiers and civilian emergency responders in mindfulness meditation, a practice which has been shown to increase one’s resiliency in the face of significant physical, mental and emotional challenges.
According to Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder and director of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, which specializes in treating people suffering from chronic pain, “A growing body of medical research proves that meditation not only modifies brain function, it can actually change the way we experience physical and emotional pain. We are seeing how mindfulness meditation can help people bounce back after highly stressful situations, thus decreasing the occurrence of PTSD.”
What is mindfulness meditation? It is an exercise in awareness which tunes into the flow of breath. Your attention focuses on present thoughts and feelings, without reacting to or judging it. One of the goals of mindfulness meditation is to allow you to accept experiences and memories you find difficult, rather than to continue struggling to get away from them.
There is much clinical evidence that meditating can help………..
- Army Warns Doctors Against Using Certain Drugs in Ptsd Treatment (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Meditation: Can It Help Reduce Your Pain? (veteranstoday.com)
- Mindfulness Meditation (thementalshovel.com)
- The London Meditation Project (sashadichter.wordpress.com)
- A New Component of US Military Combat Preparedness: Meditation (veteranstoday.com)
- Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Understanding Mindfulness Meditation (deretornoacasa.wordpress.com)
- Mindfulness Meditation May Help Doctors Provide Better Care, Study Suggests (psychologicalscience.org)
- Documents Uncovered by Judicial Watch Raise Concerns About Use of Drug for Military Personnel (homecomingvets.wordpress.com)
- Mindfulness and the Military: Does Self-Acceptance Help Veterans? (psychcentral.com)
- David Lynch Discusses Transcendental Meditation During D.C. Summit (huffingtonpost.com)