The idea of mindfulness is often foreign to the military and today’s culture in general. The world screams at us to do more and tells us not stop until we drop, but that is the furthest thing from healthy. Mindfulness doesn’t mean to take it easy, but it is the practice of quieting one’s mind in order to function more effectively. Mindfulness is a good practice for all peoples, but it has particular benefits to those who have experienced some sort of trauma.
A sexual assault survivor may experience many different forms of PTSD; from flashbacks, panic attacks and hyper vigilance. Aside from the symptoms of trauma; a survivor may experience “cloudiness” in their thinking. Their whole world was turned upside down and suddenly the ability to function in the daily work routine is impaired. This is where mindfulness exercises come in handy. It’s not about coming to some magical place where everything is fine, but rather finding acceptance in the current moment.
Right now I want you to take a moment to think about your now. Are you safe? Are you comfortable? What does your now look like? In these moments it will be easy for your mind to wander to what is wrong, but I challenge you to refocus your thoughts. The past may scream hurt, pain, and an atrocity committed against you and the future may lead you to fear, but what is your present like? In this current moment I’m safe, I have a decent job and I know that I have people in my life who truly love and care for me. In my own life I have to focus on the now, because the past may hurt and the future might be scary, but I know I can find peace in the present moment.
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