New research proves regular meditation helped improve the wellbeing of military members (active and those who previously served).
Based on spirituality, meditation affects a person’s wellness in a specific way. But, there are other health benefits attached to it as well.
Some research says regular meditation increases the quality of life for someone suffering from chronic pain and manages stress to help cancer patients cope with their illness.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation trains the mind to focus on the present. There are multiple meditative techniques that can be used to achieve this. It also helps with pain management.
The Globe and Mail reported: “According to a RAND Corporation analysis, more than 18 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression at a VA health care center. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is just as common.”
Research also says that veterans may have chronic memory disturbances, avoid things related to the traumatic event, hyper-arousal and negative emotions.
If untreated, people will have other psychological conditions that will affect their daily life.
Meditation Increases Recovery Time
In a 2011 study, conducted by UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Naval Health Research Centre, marine units completed operational challenges in close-quarters combat situations. Half of the participants received mindfulness training for 8 weeks. They demonstrated a more potent response to stress followed by a quicker recovery compared to those who didn’t.
Increases the Quality of Life
In a 2013 study conducted by Carolyn McManus of the VA Puget Sound and the Swedish Cancer Institute with veterans to see if her loving kindness program helps improve people’s perception of themselves. The program makes someone picture themselves sending positive thoughts of themselves and others.
Her study lasted 12 weeks with 42 participants and consisted of multiple questionnaires. It found that there was a dramatic decrease in depression and stress, along with an increase in self-compassion and mindfulness.
A follow-up study shows veterans who meditate had high levels of pleasant emotions and self-acceptance, which resulted in an increase in their quality of life.
Carolyn McManus has been teaching mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation at VA Puget Sound and the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle for over a decade. In loving-kindness, “you picture yourself sending thoughts of positive intention to yourself, your loved ones, strangers, and even those who may have done harm,” says McManus. “You forgive and wish others well.”
At ARC, we treat military personnel, veterans, and people who suffer from PTSD. We use a variety of different therapies, including meditation to help people cope with their mental and health issues.