Daily life is hectic and stressful for anybody. However, veterans of the armed forces may have additional concerns or stresses to address that can further these daily challenges. From feelings of anxiety and depression to the continued battle overcoming substance use disorder (SUD) or the effects of trauma and PTSD, it can be difficult to find the time to step back, reflect, and relax. For many, meditation in veteran life may seem difficult to implement, while others may not recognize the potential benefits of the practice. However, embracing meditation can provide veterans with new strategies and a healthier mindset to both create change in their lives and sustain sober transformations. 

The Benefits of Meditation in Veteran Life

Whether veterans are overcoming the effects of drug or alcohol addiction or past traumas such as survivor’s guilt, moral injury, PTSD, or military sexual trauma (MST), or otherwise looking to navigate transition stress following their time in service, stress can be a constant. There is no one, single approach to therapy or treatment that will work for everybody. However, being open to a variety of different coping strategies and techniques in treatment can empower veterans to find a combination of strategies that works best for them, with meditation being a cornerstone of many recovery journeys. 

Having professionals guide veterans through meditation while learning about its benefits can help each veteran determine how effective meditation is for their unique circumstances, as well as experience its benefits in real-time in treatment. However, it is paramount to be open to the practice to best benefit from it, and knowing the intended benefits of meditation in veteran life can help deconstruct misunderstandings or other barriers around this otherwise effective and helpful practice. 

Some of the main goals of meditation in veteran life include:

  • Daily stress reduction
  • Improved mindfulness 
  • Increased resilience following stressful events
  • Healthier emotional regulation
  • Improved ability to address the symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Promotes self-care and enables other self-care strategies
  • Improved spiritual health 

Meditation is a powerful tool in overcoming many challenges. However, effectively using meditation in veteran life is a skill. Having the support of veteran peers and trained professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery’s rehab centers in Hawaii is necessary for a truly transformative and holistic approach to healing. 

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Incorporating Meditation in Veteran Life

Making time for meditation can be difficult, especially as veterans continue to tend to personal responsibilities, professional obligations, and more. Working with professionals and veteran peers can empower veterans to benefit from effective meditation while still tending to other aspects of daily veteran life. 

Starting Small

There may be many images that come to mind when a person thinks of meditation. A dedicated room of incense, nature sounds, and comfy pillows are all commonly associated with the practice. While these elements certainly can be a part of a person’s meditation if a veteran chooses, many veterans may instead choose to start small. Finding a quiet space can be as simple as turning off electronic devices in a room for five to 10 minutes, allowing oneself to detach from these outward stimuli. 

Guided Groups

It is normal to feel unconformable when first exploring meditation to address addiction, urges, cravings, trauma, PTSD, and much more. Engaging in guided meditation can be a great way to still feel supported while exploring this therapeutic option. For many, engaging in meditation at Hawaii Island Recovery can have these sessions informed by trained on-site professionals. However, meditation in veteran life can also be conducted in the comfort of a person’s own home, with apps on a person’s phone or online being available to guide veterans through meditative practices to improve their efficacy. 

Make It Routine

Meditation is most effective when it is regularly used as a therapeutic outlet while addressing trauma, addiction, and stress. It is normal that a veteran engaging in meditation just once may not necessarily reap its intended benefits. However, that does not mean that it is not still an effective practice, and incorporating meditation in veteran life is best done when meditation is routine. 

Dedicating a few minutes a day, either in the evenings to process and release the stresses of the day or in the morning to start the day off in the right head space and resilience to tackle the challenges ahead, can be instrumental. Treating these parts of a veteran’s day as equally important as other responsibilities can empower veterans to make the most of meditation in veteran life. 

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Make Changes

Meditation can mean different things to different people, and talking with peers and professionals about personal goals in recovery can be the best way to explore how meditation can benefit each person. Likewise, it is always possible to make changes to meditation routines and expectations, as well as the kind of meditation being used. For some, body-scan meditation can be the most effective, while others may engage in mindfulness meditation, or with the intention of spiritual healing. Working with others to set goals can further refine meditation to be most effective in daily veteran life. 

Meditation is a powerful recovery tool, whether veterans are overcoming the effects of drug or alcohol addiction, navigating trauma and mental health disorders, or addressing a combination of both. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we embrace meditation as an effective way to explore personal needs, spiritual goals, and foster a healthy approach to mindfulness for a holistic approach to healing. Trauma-informed professionals and a community of veteran peers are available to not only help you explore the benefits of meditation but to empower you to further refine and explore the skill for yourself for a sustainable approach to a healthy and fulfilling veteran life. For more information on our rehab centers in Hawaii, call to speak to us at (866) 390-5070.