The Citizen-Soldier lifestyle can be hectic.
On top of work and family responsibilities, you have to plan your life around drill weekends. And when the call comes for mobilization or deployment, you must always be ready.
Meditation is a mental exercise that can help Army National Guard Soldiers and family members reduce stress, increase focus and improve energy. It has even been suggested to help with post-traumatic stress.
If you are looking for a way to manage the stress in your life, try meditation.
Exercise your brain
Think of meditation as pushups for your brain. But instead of paying attention to your muscles, pay attention to your mind. For just a few minutes a day, stop stressing about the past or the future and focus on the present.
What you’ll need: an open mind. You can meditate lying down, sitting in a chair, or sitting on the floor. Try to do it in a space where you won’t be disturbed or distracted, and consider using a clock or timer to focus. Learning to ditch your typical thoughts is a mental workout that will take discipline and practice.
How to meditate
- Close your eyes or look at a point in front of you.
- Tune into your breathing. Focus on your inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale …
- Begin to silently count your breaths. As you breathe in, count one. As you breathe out, count one. Breathe in, count two. Breathe out, count two. Count to 10. Then begin again at one.
- If you lose count because your mind has wandered, pause, and start your count back at one.
- Try meditating for five minutes. Even this much will make a difference. If you can, gradually increase your time “in the zone” to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or more.
Be patient. Experiment to find out what type of meditation works for you.
For example, a word may be easier for you to focus on rather than counting breaths. In that case, focus on a simple word that means something to you—perhaps “service”, “belief”, or simply “one”.
When you lose focus, bring your thoughts back to the word.
A calm and focused mind will serve all aspects of your Civilian-Soldier life.