5 Ways Veterans Can Improve Their Mental Health

Feb 17, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mental Health

by staff

Every time nations engage in war with one another, the ones to lose the most are the soldiers, who are the frontline defenders of their respective countries. US military veterans have proven their strength in battle numerous times in the recent past. It gets you thinking of what it must be like for these war heroes to live with those memories. There are those, who lost friends, saw horrific conditions, and others who must have had to make some very critical decisions. The display of such bravery and honor does not come without its own set of difficulties. One of these challenges is maintaining your mental health and moving out of the umbra of dark times that are history now. The piece provides a few tips for coping with the emotional trauma that these warriors might be experiencing.

Treat Health Issues
Veterans have to survive in exacting conditions when in service, and some of these conditions can have long-term effects on their bodies. Visualize dealing with earsplitting explosions, handling heavy machinery, sustaining severe injuries, or working with toxic substances. All these experiences are taxing for the body and can have continual effects that require care and treatment, the main culprit to have caused long-term health issues for most veterans was the use of asbestos to fireproof various military supplies and uniforms.

There has been a ban on various uses of asbestos since 1989. However, many soldiers exposed to the substance showed symptoms of its adverse effects much later in life, so to deal with this health adversity, many organizations stepped up to disperse their services to their champions like the mesothelioma veterans who provide asbestos-related consultations, diagnosis, and treatments along with legal assistance and compensations as a way to give back to their nation’s protectors for their invaluable services and contributions in building and protecting the country.

Acknowledge and Deal with (PTSD)
It is human nature to avoid what displeases you, although if you wish to walk out of the shadows of the past, you must own the experiences that you’ve had. Research published by the Beckman Institute states that whenever you feel disquieted after recalling unpleasant memories. It is a good practice to focus more on the context of those memories rather than the feelings they produce. The research claims that contextualizing the event can help you think more logically and shift your focus from the anxious feeling to other details of that memory.

You might be thinking, how is this helpful when my thoughts still linger around that scene? Here is how you break it down. Suppressing your memories or denying their occurrence can cause a subconscious emotional turmoil that can eventually surface in your conscience when you least expect it. It is like pressing down on a spring with full force only to have it shoot back with the same intensity.

With all that said, talking about such incidents with other people who share your past or have been in similar situations can help you face your fears and emotions. It will also provide comfort to realize that you are not alone in this challenge and that others are in the same boat as you. The practice of talking about your distressing recollections will gradually make it easier for you to regulate your emotions.

Spend More Time with Your Loved Ones
Paint an imaginary picture of a comfy living room full of people you love, good food, and giggling children running around. That made you smile? Today our lives are “so busy” that we don’t get to enjoy the presence of our friends and family as often as we would like. You must change that! Reach out to your siblings, children, or the little ones in the family.

Plan a fun day with them, and set out for a picnic or a nature stroll. Go to have brunch at a fancy restaurant with your folks. These activities will not just help you stay connected with your relations but also events like these produce the right amount of oxytocin or the feel-good chemical in your body that keeps your mood elevated for long periods and makes you feel lively. It is also known to boost your immune system.

Socializing this way will help create more beautiful memories. They will also motivate and inspire you to live life to the fullest. You might feel hesitant to take the first step forward, but you have to bear in mind that there is no harm in trying. You will be surprised to learn that others wish to connect with you just as much as you do.

Indulge In Arts
Professor Semir Zeki of the University of London made a study that proves the positive impacts of arts on a person’s mind. According to the study, the subjects who got shown paintings made by famous artists showed a 10% increase in the blood flow to the area of the brain concerned with pleasure. It amounts to the same as looking at a loved one. Amazing right?

Making art such as paintings, sculptures, or even pottery can help increase serotonin in the body, a social chemical that stimulates feelings of accomplishment, pride, and loyalty.

So grab that paintbrush, or dig into that clay and get in sync with the artistic vibes around you. You could also dedicate an area of your house to your newfound hobby. Give the room a relevant makeover and see how it will soon become your favorite place to lounge.

Keep a Journal
This clever habit has many advantages for your mental health. Each day you write down three things that made you grateful and three things you concluded in the day. It is good practice to keep yourself positive and focus on the good occurrences in your life.

You can also document the onset of anxious feelings and depressing thoughts to figure out what triggers them. It will allow you to work on those factors and improve your emotional health.

Take Away
Mental health is just as important as your physical health, even more so for people who spend their lives in services that are demanding by nature, where they come across obstacles and experiences that can leave them with haunting, unpleasant evocations. Anyone going through this painful experience must strive to make their way through it for a happier, healthier life.

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