Themes often define a year. In 2015, that was definitely the case: our audience clicked and commented most often when we shared tips, resources and practices related to mindfulness. Other topics our readers found of particular interest were moral injury, resources for military kids and caring for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Listed below in order of popularity are the top 10 blog posts of 2015 on the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) website.
Top 10 DCoE Blogs of 2015 What You Need to Know about Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation swiftly gained popularity as a self-care strategy for improving psychological health symptoms and overall resilience. Clinical evidence shows that this strategy works. DCoE wrote a series of mindfulness blogs to help you understand what mindfulness meditation is, how it can help, what studies and data support it, and how individuals can integrate it into their daily lives. Below is a quick rundown on the entire series, including what you need to know about mindfulness meditation and how to get started.
What is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation comes from a Buddhist tradition. It increases awareness of the present by focusing on your breathing, body and thoughts. With continual practice, this technique trains the brain to stay in the present moment and can help you accept things for what they are, without judgment.
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
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.
Providers: Stay Present, Reduce Burnout with Mindfulness
We know mindfulness practices can help service members and veterans cope with their physical and psychological injuries. This practice is also a great tool for providers to build their own resilience while they treat wounded warriors.
Treating members of the military can be a highly-rewarding experience, but it can also bring high levels of stress. Providers who treat service members, veterans and their families are at risk of experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout or secondary traumatic stress. Bearing witness to suffering and feeling powerless over other people’s pain can contribute to stress and fatigue, as do long hours, lack of social support and lack of downtime. Additionally, when providers are stressed and feel burned out, they may find it difficult to fully focus on their patients.