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  • How to Tell Family Members about Mental Health Concerns

    Were you recently diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, substance use disorder or another mental health concern? Talking to loved ones about your mental health may seem difficult. However, we’ve found that family members can be your best support!

    Military members are trained to work with others to thrive and accomplish the mission. This concept works for service members off duty too. Outside the military, family members and friends are your support system, and you are part of theirs. Speaking to them about your psychological health challenges and needs may alleviate frustrations and manage expectations.

    One way to approach the subject with them is to think about mental health as you would think about physical health and disclose any challenges in a similar way.

  • Practicing Mindfulness Meditation to Cope with Stress

    As described in previous blog posts, mindfulness meditation has swiftly gained popularity as a self-care strategy for improving psychological health. It’s not only a hot media topic, but also an exploding area of new research. This post on mindfulness meditation from the Real Warriors Campaign gives information on the practice and explains how to get started.

    Mindfulness meditation is a popular form of meditation that can help you cope with psychological concerns. It can be combined with clinical care and aid in keeping a healthy lifestyle and staying mentally fit. Meditation can help you learn to better control your emotions and even memories of traumatic events. It can also help you become more aware and accepting of negative thoughts. You learn not to be judgmental about your thoughts and instead think of those thoughts and feelings as momentary impulses that will pass.

  • You Can Manage Holiday Stress, These Apps will Help

    The holidays don’t always go as well as I’d like. Based on the story below from a Washington Post annual online sharing of holiday horror stories, that’s true for a lot of people:

    “We were doing a southwest theme so I was making a tequila lime turkey. I'm used to using wine for cooking and will often just dump more in if the sauce needs it. I checked on the turkey, realized the sauce needed a little more tequila, poured it over the turkey, mixed the sauce in the roasting pan, and put it back in the oven. About five minutes later I was standing by the sink. The oven door went flying open, there was a very loud WHOOOSH noise, and a giant fireball came shooting out the oven door.”

  • Don’t Let Current Events, News Take Control of Your Feelings

    Read the full story: Don’t Let Current Events, News Take Control of Your Feelings
    U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Stephen Schester

    A week ago tragedy struck Paris when it was attacked by terrorists. A disrupted city, dear to so many, created a ripple of despair worldwide. It seemed that the world was in mourning.

    At the same time, controversy grew, particularly on social media. Was it fair to only recognize Paris? What about the other attacks and violence around the world? Would the United States accept refugees from Syria and other countries with terrorist ties? Almost immediately, social media feeds and news outlets were baited into controversy and debate.

    We don’t have the answers to these questions. But, what we do know is that for our warriors, terrorism and violence are not new topics. Strong opinions and images of violence can be emotional triggers for those who have fought in conflicts or for family members who have lost loved ones in similar attacks.

  • Worried about Security Question 21? These Tips Can Help

    If you’re in the military, you already know that many military and government jobs require a security clearance. To get or maintain a clearance, you must complete Standard Form 86, “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” Section 21 of the form, “Psychological and Emotional Health,” asks if the applicant has consulted with a health care professional about an emotional or mental health condition in the previous seven years. This question may raise concerns for those who received care in the past or those who hold an active clearance and are considering seeking care. Below are key questions and answers related to Question 21.

  • How I Quit Smoking, Stay Quit

    If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably tried to quit a few times. I did too, before it took. In fact, if smoking had been my go-to pastime when I was bored, quitting smoking was a close second. Then I figured out what worked for me.

    I started smoking at 19, giving up on what until then had been a lifelong disdain for it, because I saw a girl at a party and bumming a cigarette seemed a great way to start a conversation. Three hours and half a pack of cigarettes later, I had an odd airy feeling in my head, a first date lined up and a new habit. A year later, the girl broke up with me. Over the next fourteen years, though, smoking was a constant companion.

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