What do you see when you close your eyes? Do you picture yourself sitting near a babbling brook, perhaps fishing or reading a novel? Can you picture yourself soaking up sun on a sandy beach or counting the stars in a dark, clear sky? Maybe you’re starting to breathe a little more deeply and slowly as you envision this serene, picturesque setting. Maybe your muscles are beginning to relax, and any tension you’ve experienced throughout the day is starting to dissipate.
Last time we asked you to picture serenity, we shared six ways meditation will improve your life. These include:
- Stress Relief
- Making Money
- Improved Immune System
- Improved Sleep
- Problem Solving
Today, we’re going to dig deeper. What happens when the images behind your closed eyelids look like a nightmare instead of a daydream? What if the “tension” you’ve experienced throughout the day is a war zone or a natural disaster or a violent personal attack? What if the trauma you’ve had to endure has left you with emotional scars? Thankfully, there is help available. Did you know that daily meditation can reduce traumatic stress, including PTSD? Today, we’d like to show you how.
What Is PTSD?
The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as “a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.”
Symptoms of this often debilitating condition may include flashbacks, intrusive negative thoughts, distorted beliefs about oneself and others, anger and irritability, sleep disturbances and difficulty concentrating. “For people with PTSD the symptoms cause significant distress or problems functioning,” the American Psychiatric Association’s website says. “PTSD often occurs with other related conditions, such as depression, substance use, memory problems and other physical and mental health problems.”
“It’s a feeling of being out of control,” explains TSgt. Alan Warren, a US Air Force Veteran and MP USA student who served an active duty tour in Iraq. “You come back from your service and you’re supposed to be ‘normal,’ but you’ve been trained to respond to so many dangerous things that there’s never a relaxing moment. You’ve become conditioned to evaluate every situation as a bad situation…even when you’re safe.”
How Can Meditation Help?
As a student at MP USA, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in amazing wellness programs such as the ancient Indonesian martial art of Merpati Putih, our Wealth of Health program and our Vibravision classes. Wealth of Health is a form of active meditation that helps us quiet our racing minds through movement. “It gives you a sense of clarity,” explains TSgt. Warren. “No matter where you’ve been in the past, it snaps you into the present, and you feel energized after just one session.”
These benefits of MP USA’s programming can help alleviate military combat stress for service men and women after they complete their tours of duty. Wealth of Health can also be beneficial for reintegration after a traumatic event. “When I came back, I felt really restless,” said Warren. “As I kept analyzing every situation, I developed restless leg syndrome, and I couldn’t sleep at night because all the bad stuff happens at night. Three years of practicing MP helped me feel recharged and kept me in the now. It gave me a sense of peace and being in the moment. For me, meditation is kind of like getting a massage for the mind.”
There are many ways to enjoy the type of mental massage TSgt. Warren describes. In our Vibravision blog, we’ve discussed five meditation types and their benefits in detail, and our observations about the advantages of meditation are backed by research from the Mayo Clinic and Oxford Academic.
How Can I Get Started?
If you’d like to learn more about how daily meditation can reduce traumatic stress, including PTSD, the good news is you can get started right away.
“Experiment, and you’ll likely find out what types of meditation work best for you and what you enjoy doing,” the Mayo Clinic suggests. “Adapt meditation to your needs at the moment. Remember, there’s no right way or wrong way to meditate. What matters is that meditation helps you reduce your stress and feel better overall.”
Also, if you’re a trauma survivor who experiences flashbacks, Oxford Academic’s 2017 study determined that practicing transcendental meditation (TM) can “reduce PTSD symptoms without re-experiencing trauma.” Additionally, participants in the Oxford study we referenced above experienced such significant psychological and physiological health benefits that a recommendation was made that they “continue regular TM practice indefinitely.”
If you’d like to experience these benefits personally through MP USA’s Wealth of Health and Vibravision classes, don’t wait. We invite you to call (385) 955-0650 today!