Posts Tagged ‘army’

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender

December 3, 2012

Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD

By Bryan Bender | Globe Staff | December 02, 2012

Norwich Rooks Meditate after classes

Lance Ostby, Rob Wetmore, Matt Miller, Aaron McDuffie, and Jeremy Ward practiced meditation following afternoon classes. Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe

NORTHFIELD, Vt. — It is part of a highly regimented daily routine at Norwich University, the nation’s oldest private military academy and a cultivator of battlefield leaders for nearly two centuries.

Dressed in combat fatigues and boots, a platoon of first-year cadets — “Rooks” — are up early in their barracks. On the orders of their instructor, the young men and women take their places. At 0800 sharp, they sit on wooden chairs in a circle and begin — to meditate.

The first-of-its-kind training is part of a long-term study to determine whether regular brief periods of silent, peaceful consciousness can improve troops’ performance. Ultimately, researchers hope the transcendental meditation training might be made available across all branches of the military to help inoculate troops against acute post-traumatic stress disorder, which has reached epidemic proportions and is blamed for a record number of suicides in the ranks.

For an institution that demands that incoming cadets exhibit physical and mental toughness, meditation training is a radical approach. The broader military culture had long associated meditation with a leftist, antiwar philosophy. Known by its shorthand, TM was widely introduced to the West by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Hindu leader who once served as the spiritual guru to the Beatles.

“I was very skeptical at first,” said Norwich president Richard W. Schneider, a retired Coast Guard admiral who is among several university officials who have also been trained in the technique. “I’m not a touchy-feely guy.”

But the preliminary results of the study, now in its second year, surprised even its lead researchers. They have been methodically tracking the dozens of participants and several control groups of non-meditating cadets through detailed questionnaires as well as brain wave and eye scans to measure levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

“All those things decreased significantly,” said Dr. Carole Bandy, a Norwich psychology professor overseeing the project. “In fact, they decreased very significantly.”

Positive traits such as critical thinking and mental resilience improved, according to preliminary findings shared with the Globe that Bandy and her team plan to publish next year.

The project has garnered high-level attention from the Army.

“Becoming more psychologically fit is just like becoming physically fit. It is better to do it before you are injured,” said retired Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, a surgeon who until recently ran the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and visited Norwich three times to be briefed on the work. “There seems to be no question that meditation is, frankly, good for you. I am very encouraged by the Norwich University study.”

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Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness

July 10, 2012

Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, an open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation, in Fairfield, Iowa.

Veterans are overcoming PTSD through meditation and reclaiming their lives. Meditation Saves A Veteran From Suicide is a video of Iowa veteran Luke Jensen describing his experiences in Afghanistan, how he tried to deal with his PTSD, and what finally worked for him.

After reading about Luke’s situation in a Des Moines Register article: Former undercover cop, MP battles PTSD: How Afghanistan service affected one soldier, Jerry Yellin, co-director for Operation Warrior Wellness, reached out to Luke and offered him a scholarship from the David Lynch Foundation to learn Transcendental Meditation.

As a result of learning to meditate, and the relief it brought him and his wife, Abi, Luke wanted to join Jerry in making this program available to other Iowa veterans and their families suffering from PTSD. They are organizing a special open forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, to take place Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2 pm in the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.

Iowa veterans can find relief from combat-induced stress and escape the self-destructive cycle of drugs, alcohol, and depression. To learn more, or to register, visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/iowa.

Uploaded by on Jul 10, 2012

Some excerpts from the video:

“The first week I was there three soldiers got killed there….I was certain I wasn’t going to make it back home and I started thinking about suicide. I felt I was going to die anyway, so why be miserable day after day when it’s going to happen? I was just certain it was going to happen….I tried five or six different kinds of depression medicine, two or three different kinds of anxiety medicines. When I continued to try and try and try and things weren’t helping, hopelessness really was taking over and I still continued to think almost daily that suicide was going to be the option.”

In 2011, Luke Jensen learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique – a stress reducing practice, proven to combat the effects of PTSD.

“For the first time in I don’t know how long I felt hope….I don’t take anxiety medicine at all anymore….It’s made me a better father, a better husband. I’d consistently thought about suicide before I learned TM. It was the first thing to kind of get that away and get that off my mind. It changed everything.”

To support the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness program: http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org/how-to-help

Operation Warrior Wellness has been championed since 2010 by a coalition of meditating veterans spanning four wars. Their mission is to deliver rapid and profound relief to veterans and active-duty military suffering from PTSD, promote resiliency among military personnel and cadets, and provide much needed support to military families serving the rewarding but often taxing job of caring for their loved ones.

See this KTVO News report: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD.

A few related articles: POLITICO: Coping with PTSD  |  Post Traumatic Stress and How Transcendental Meditation Can Help [Infographic] Transcendental Meditation Drastically Turns Life Around For Veteran With PTSD  |  Star Tribune: Meditation brings peace to war vets  |  Ruben Rosario: Recovered veteran’s latest mission: helping those like him

Here is a wonderful  interview with Jerry Yellin and Lisa Cypers Kamen of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio July 18th. You can listen online to Jerry Yellin, Operation Warrior Wellness and Debbie Gregory, Military Connection or download the the podcast.


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