November 11th is recognized as Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada and other countries, marking the anniversary of the end of World War I, a significant, historical event that shaped future international relations and national policies. On this day each year, we celebrate and honor all those who served and continue to serve honorably in the armed forces – during both wartime and peacetime. After all, all those who served, not just those who gave their lives, have made sacrifices protecting our national security. It is important to take time to reflect on these contributions and appreciate them.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, which can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic event, is common among veterans. PTSD symptoms include intense fear, anxiety and flashbacks even when the sufferer is not currently in danger. Meditation is one form of treatment designed to promote calm. Through breathing exercises and a focus on body awareness, meditators are able to strengthen the control they have over their actions and reduce anxiety.
Yoga nidra, a form of yoga that focuses the mind on the sensations and feelings the body is experiencing, requires no physical poses and is ideal for those with chronic pain. Research on the yoga nidra method at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland found evidence that the method improved sleep, decreased chronic pain and anxiety, and helped those with PTSD better manage emotions.
Transcendental meditation (TM), another form of mindfulness, is the repetition of a mantra specific to the individual. TM is practiced by sitting for twenty minutes, twice a day. Certified TM instructors can train veterans for a few hours using the method so that they are able to meditate on their own in the future if they choose to do so. TM has been found to improve sleep, memory, focus and immunity, and alleviates symptoms of PTSD.
Celebrate this day by passing on this helpful information and paying tribute to veterans for their selfless acts of duty. If you are a veteran, we thank you for your valiant service and hope that you can take a moment to yourself today to reflect, meditate and rejuvenate your sense of calm and purpose. If you are not a veteran, it is important to take a moment of reflection to honor our veterans and to experience the health benefits of meditation yourself.