Part 1 of this article demonstrated the many ways in which soldiers benefit from practicing meditation, especially those who are affected by mental illnesses like PTSD as well as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This article actually teaches veterans how to meditate.

The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs finds that one in five combat veterans develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, either during or after combat. But PTSD is only one of a variety of mental illnesses that can be triggered by war. Many soldiers who unknowingly possess other psychological illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia discover that their condition worsens or is even triggered by war. And no wonder, since the battlefield is an incredibly volatile and lethal atmosphere that ravages even the strongest of minds. But these psychological wounds do not have to exist forever-- at least, not to their full intensity to the point where they become debilitating to a soldier’s daily living. That is why veterans are strongly encouraged to take up the practice of meditation.

Some of the most notable symptoms of anxiety disorders like PTSD are flashbacks and nightmares that cause an individual to re-live a specific traumatic event. But meditation completely counteracts these symptoms since meditation requires a practitioner to remain in the present moment throughout the session. By remaining in the present moment, a person can become physically and mentally relaxed and fully responsive to meditation’s healing effects.

But since remaining in the moment isn’t always the easiest thing to do, an informational article posted on shows readers the techniques and benefits of meditating for 20 minutes a day with tips on how to stay focused throughout their session.

The article, entitled “How to Get Started with Meditation,” starts from the beginning, describing how meditation came to be, and the reasons why people began to practice it. After the historical introduction, it then instructs the reader how to enter a meditative state.

First, it asks the reader to identify his or her own individual need to mediate. For soldiers, this need could be finding inner peace or reconnect with their former selves before they became soldiers. Or perhaps a veteran could meditate to find patience and acceptance with his or her new condition or disability acquired during combat. Identifying a reason to meditate also sets a goal for a practitioner so that they can stick with a continuous practice in order to achieve the results they desire and fulfill that reason.

Next, an individual can choose from three different techniques in order to actually enter a meditative state. The most common technique is to focus on the breath, since breathing is very rhythmic and causes one’s attention to turn inward. This allows people to grow more in-tune” with their body’s own specific needs, and can thus help speed along the healing process.

Another technique is choosing to focus on one particular object, either with your eyes open or closed. If your eyes are closed, focus on a mental picture that might hold same sacred meaning that will ultimately bring comfort and relaxation. For veterans, remembering an object that once held significance before he or she entered combat is a great visualization tool, since it helps them reconnect with their former selves prior to the war.

A mantra can also be useful for people having trouble staying focused on their breathing or mental pictures. A mantra is repeating certain words over and over again. Mantras tend to follow the psychology behind the power of suggestion, where a person eventually believes what is heard or said after hearing the phrase a great many times. The statement does not even have to be true, but if heard enough, a person still finds they are able to accept it after prolonged exposure. Develop an empowering mantra that would be beneficial to believing were true, such as a veteran’s willingness to not succumb to their newly-acquired injury or condition. But try to phrase mantras so that they are more positive statements in nature. Instead of, “I will not succumb to my injury,” say, “I am strong and defiant and can overcome anything”. Pretty soon, a person will end up believing what they repeat, especially during meditation, which can allow a person to access their subconscious. By letting these affirmative statements enter the subconscious mind, a person has pretty much accepted these statements to be true.

Meditation serves as one of the most holistic treatment methods for any illness or disability. Of course, it would also be a good idea to exercise other treatments as well inside the medical community. For instance, those who suffer from schizophrenia or extreme depression are encouraged to also seek medical guidance and observation for their safety and well-being. Plus, medication makes the symptoms of these illnesses more manageable, and meditation can be used as an added rehabilitation method.

But for those veterans suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders like PTSD, and even those afflicted with TBIs, a non-profit 501c3 organization exists that practices at least ten different holistic treatment methods in its “Veteran Intervention Program,” or “V.I.P.”. The organization was founded by Gold Star Mother Roxann Abrams, who founded the organization in 2012 in memory of her son SFC Randy Abrams who committed suicide after he suffered from flashbacks and nightmares due to undiagnosed PTSD. In his memory, Abrams developed a well-rounded treatment program to help veterans like her son. Among the ten different programs are services like hyperbolic oxygen therapy, “Vet-2-Vet” therapy, and service dogs. Feel free to check out the organization’s website for more information, and even donate to help support the organization’s programs!

Author's Bio: 

Abigail Fazelat is a contributing writer for Operation: I.V., a non-profit organization founded by Gold Star Mother Roxann Abrams who lost her son SFC Randy Abrams to PTSD. Randy took his own life after experiencing a wartime flashback- an experience not uncommon to any combat veteran. As a result, Abrams founded Operation: I.V. as an “intravenous of help” for other Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and contemplating suicide. Fazelat has worked for the organization since October 2013 under a pseudonym.