Compassion Meditation for Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that hundreds of thousands of service members who return home have post-traumatic stress disorder. People with PTSD find it hard to maintain healthy relationships. This may be because they find it daunting to connect with others on an empathic level.
Most marriages to war veterans fail as their spouses find it challenging to tolerate them. This is due to a lack of connection and behavior change from military service and PTSD.
Fortunately, compassion meditation (CM) has played an instrumental role in treating PTSD among veterans. This is because CM promotes pleasant feelings and social connectedness, which improves coping and resilience in the face of intense stress.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a series of practices designed to cultivate a heightened state of awareness and total concentration. Meditation can take various forms, but the two most common ones are mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. In essence, meditation is a practice that alters awareness that has been found to have numerous positive effects on psychological health.
Meditation is not limited to a specific location, position, or duration. Instead, it assists a person focus their mind on the present moment and cultivating overall physical and mental health. It also helps people to hone specialized talents such as concentration, compassion, and insight.
Benefits of Meditation for Veterans
Meditation has essential benefits for veterans. Some of them include:
- It equips veterans with the skills necessary to regulate their anger and depressive thoughts.
- It enhances their empathy and understanding.
- It prevents them from experiencing abrupt flashbacks or negatively reliving the past.
- It helps veterans create healthy relationships with others.
- It prevents relapses and alleviates significant debilitating mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
What is Compassion Meditation?
Compassion is a combination of genuine sympathy and the desire to alleviate suffering. Compassion meditation is a practice for dissolving egoism and isolation. This is done through compassion by recognizing that one is not alone in experiencing misery.
It is based on Buddhist philosophy profoundly and encourages veterans to think compassionately. It is a means for connecting with one’s pain and unleashing the underlying compassion one possesses.
The basis of this practice is that suffering is inevitable in life. Veterans should accept it and be sympathetic toward their feelings and those persons close to them. The exercise encourages them to recognize and exercise their humanity.
Elements of Self-Compassion Meditation
Self-compassion meditation has three fundamental components. They include:
- Self-kindness vs Self-judgment
Self-compassion is being warm and sympathetic toward oneself. And carrying these beliefs in the face of various circumstances and challenges. These may include hardship, failure, or feelings of inadequacy, as opposed to ignoring our misery or self-flogging.
- Humanity vs Isolation
The term “human” suggests a person is mortal, vulnerable, and defective. Therefore, self-compassion requires recognizing that suffering and personal insufficiency are part of the universal human experience. For this, one should not exclude themselves in times of tribulations.
- Mindfulness vs Over-identification
Self-compassion also requires an approach to negative emotions that are neither repressed nor magnified. This balanced perspective is the consequence of contrasting one’s suffering with that of others.
Benefits of Compassion Meditation for Veterans
The practice of compassion meditation:
- Improves mood
- Increases altruistic conduct
- Decreases aggression
- Reduces stress
- Reduces maladaptive mind wandering in veterans.
Compassion and loving-kindness meditation build a sense of benevolence and warmth towards other people. The more veterans care about others, the better they can begin to understand others’ emotions.
Compassion has the impact of calming the mind. This leads to a reduction of worries and uncertainties and bolsters veterans’ ability to face the challenges of daily life.
Compassion is an integral trait in psychotherapy. This led to the development of Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). CFT stresses the significance of practicing compassion to live a healthy and fulfilled life. The top advantages of compassion-based meditation are increased well-being, relief from disease, and enhanced emotional intelligence.
Tips for a More Effective Practice of Compassion Meditation
When one begins practicing compassion meditation, they should use themselves as the only focus of meditation. People learn to visualize people in their practice as they get more at ease with the images and loving sentiments.
Encouraging troubled individuals to exercise loving-kindness meditation is highly advisable. This final component of loving-kindness meditation increases sentiments of forgiveness. It also helps them let go of rumination, resulting in a great sense of inner peace.
Compassion Meditation for PTSD
Veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) intensively due to the traumatic events they are exposed to in war. Fortunately, meditation has proven to be a perfect fix to counter PTSD. Additionally, compassion has a good effect on positive feelings and social functioning. For this, combining compassion and meditation guarantees you optimal positive results.
Cognitively based compassion training is a compassion mediation program that entails a series of contemplative practices. These practices are intended to enhance the capacity to extend and sustain compassion toward oneself and others. It also involves present-moment procedures with reflective analytical methods, promoting cognitive evaluation and modifying habitual mental processes to increase empathy.
Treatment for Veterans
It is never too late to get treatment as a veteran. Whether a person has just returned from combat or has been back for 40 years. Counseling or therapy can assist in managing symptoms and preventing symptoms from worsening.
A therapist can assist a service member with PTSD in a variety of ways. A therapist can help in understanding and altering how their ideas and beliefs about the trauma appear. As well as how stress can perpetuate present symptoms of trauma.
Family and marital therapy are counseling procedures that involve the service members’ families. A therapist assists all parties in communicating, maintaining healthy relationships, and managing difficult emotions. PTSD can substantially influence relationships in some circumstances, making this treatment method particularly useful.
Treatment at Solara Mental Health
Many veterans know they need additional assistance with their condition but do not know where to begin. As a result, they delay seeking medical help, worsening their conditions. We are committed to providing veterans with a comprehensive array of mental health services at Solara Mental Health. Our team delivers quality service to ensure you are well after the process.
If you or a veteran you love is struggling with mental health, reach out to Solara Mental Health today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our veteran mental health services.