Anxiety can be a persistent and prevalent challenge for many veterans. Learning to navigate anxiety is crucial for effectively developing an effective approach to veteran healing and treatment while also building a sustainable and healthy daily life. Still, anxiety can be especially difficult to overcome due to the unique experiences of veterans and the traumatic experiences they may have been exposed to either on base or active duty. Thus, creating a dedicated daily routine to address prevalent feelings of anxiety among veterans is necessary to facilitate a sustained approach to navigating anxiety in civilian life. 

The Importance of Navigating Anxiety Among Veterans

Feelings of anxiety can be ubiquitous among anyone, and there is no shortage of stresses and challenges that can affect each person throughout the day. However, veterans may have a number of additional stresses that demand professional treatment due to their unique life experiences and time in service.

Not only can financial and professional stresses continue to carry a hefty toll on veterans, but veterans may also be tasked with processing survivor’s guilt, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a number of other challenges. Others may experience transition stress as they adjust to entirely new cultures and communities in civilian life that can be difficult to fully connect with due to vastly different experiences, perspectives, and values. 

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Professional treatment and dedicated veteran healing communities like the ones available at Hawaii Island Recovery are paramount for processing anxiety in its various forms, from daily stresses to anxiety disorders and PTSD. However, it is also important to develop daily practices for veterans to process feelings of anxiety at home for a sustainable and healthy civilian life. Left unaddressed, anxiety can have many ramifications on veterans’ daily mental health, behaviors, mentalities, and even the use of addictive substances. Therefore, learning to navigate anxiety is crucial for veterans’ mental health, sobriety, and ability to tend to personal goals. 

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Daily Practices for Navigating Anxiety

Blending Hawaii Island Recovery’s dedicated veteran treatment with at-home practices for navigating anxiety can produce the needed combination of effective techniques for a healthy civilian life. While completely avoiding feelings of anxiety can be impossible and unrealistic, having dedicated strategies to navigate anxiety when it does manifest through personalized strategies can birth a healthy approach to managing veterans’ emotional health while avoiding the use of addictive substances. 

Identify Sources of Anxiety

Anxiety among veterans comes from a variety of sources, and even multiple sources at once. Finding a way to identify the areas of life that are most stressful is the first step in creating an effective plan for navigating anxiety. For some, financial and professional stresses can manifest as intense feelings of anxiety, while others may cope with traumatic memories and flashbacks, survivor’s guilt, self-doubt and guilt, and more. Using journals, talking to friends and family, or having a community to communicate with peers and professionals can all help veterans recognize any patterns in their feelings of anxiety and help develop practical approaches to navigating anxiety. 

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Pay Attention to Breathing Patterns

Anxiety can have many effects on veterans’ emotional states and their physical bodies. Increased heart rate and irregular breathing patterns are both common and often coupled with difficulty focusing on current tasks or thoughts. Practicing breathing strategies can empower veterans to regain a sense of focus while identifying the physical and emotional impact of anxiety on their thoughts and behaviors. 

Taking a step back before acting on anxious feelings or using the 3-3-3 technique —  which involves inhaling for three seconds, holding for three seconds, and exhaling for three seconds – can provide veterans with a greater sense of agency and mindfulness. Regularly practicing breathing strategies to address sources of anxiety while preventing anxiety from impacting decision-making or other self-destructive behaviors, like the use of alcohol or drugs, can be a powerful coping strategy.  

Get Moving

Getting the body moving can help address veterans’ physical health and provide an outlet to distract veterans’ minds and process otherwise difficult feelings of anxiety. Going for a jog, taking the dog on a walk, or even just stretching one’s legs and moving around the house can all help veterans navigating anxiety break through feelings of isolation or stagnation that may otherwise negatively affect them. 

While some may benefit from a daily exercise routine, others may simply benefit from simple practices like walking along the beach or engaging in yoga. Either way, ensuring that there is some kind of physical activity each day can create a consistent outlet for navigating anxiety, and our treatment centers in Hawaii can help scaffold the best ways to get moving to navigate anxiety. 

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Avoiding Unnecessary Additions of Anxiety

Anxiety is already a prevalent part of veteran life, and avoiding unnecessary exposures to anxiety-inducing elements can promote a healthier emotional state for veterans. Avoiding doom-scrolling or negative news outlets, disengaging with those who may not understand these challenges, and even focusing on diets that avoid caffeine can all have a positive effect on navigating anxiety by eliminating unnecessary stress. 

Navigating anxiety among veterans can be difficult, with a myriad of stresses and challenges continuing to impact veterans each and every day. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand that navigating the challenges that veterans face is never simple, and we are committed to a holistic approach to veteran healing. Our treatment centers in Hawaii include substance use treatment and an array of trauma-informed programs to help veterans address feelings of anxiety while tending to a myriad of other personal needs and goals in recovery. For more information on how we can personalize a program for you to engage in our veteran healing community, or to answer any questions, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.