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  • 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.

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  • 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.”

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

    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.

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  • Fact vs. Fiction: How Psychological Health Care Can Affect Your Security Clearance

    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.

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  • 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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  • Experts Answer Questions about ICD-10 Codes for TBI

    With the 10th version of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) in effect, a webinar hosted by Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) tackled provider questions about how to apply the new system to the care of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

    Webinar attendees had numerous clinical coding questions following the TBI coding presentation. Below are some of the answers by Judith Aurelio, a medical records administrative specialist at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Lynne Lowe, a fellow with the Army Office of the Surgeon General in Falls Church, Virginia:

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