Veterans Day

On this Veterans/Armistice Day we salute all veterans and active military personnel, with appreciation for their tremendous service to our country.

But not all Veterans have had such a welcoming homecoming experience.

The transition from civilian life to one of military is tough enough. But returning home after duty is a completely different kind of transition for many Veterans.

No more rigid environment. Nobody setting your schedule for you. No more camaraderie with the other troops. You’re in charge of your own life again. And if you saw combat, it can be much more emotionally devastating. It can be very difficult to make that psychological transition back home and back into civilian life again.

If you see a Veteran, not just on Veterans Day but any day; thank them for their Service but also sincerely ask them how they’re doing? Your question may spark a need for support. Below are some resources available:

In the Detroit area, Veterans support can be found at:

Detroit Regional Offices of Veterans Services

https://www.benefits.va.gov/Detroit/veterans-services-orgs.asp.

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, which connects Vets to Benefits and Resources

https://www.michiganveterans.com

The Michigan Veterans Foundation offers support in the form of:

  • Veteran Rescue Program
  • Transitional Housing
  • Vocational and Life Skill training
  • Health care services
  • PTSD Counseling
  • Transportation, meals and clothing
  • Substance Abuse Intervention
  • Legal Assistance and Housing Placement

http://www.michiganveteransfoundation.org.

The Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars provides assistance will filling out and submitting VA forms and processes, and also offers a Buddy to Buddy program that can pair up Veterans that can support each other to help handle the transition back to civilian life.

https://vfwmi.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=8899

Painting info:

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “The Homecoming,” 1945. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” May 26, 1945. Norman Rockwell Museum.

Scientists show how Gratitude literally alters the Human Heart and Molecular Structure

“A group of prestigious and internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.

Their work, among many others, has proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.”

Because the heart sends signals to the brain, feeling gratitude consistently can actually re-wire your brain; creating more receptors for such emotions and can be a great tool in overcoming depression and anxiety.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/02/14/scientists-show-how-gratitude-literally-alters-the-human-heart-molecular-structure-of-the-brain/?fbclid=IwAR0Uw0W2ly5bwewmy-vSx8WGR9SusAY_XlTAs8weUet6suoLUXMJUzt28Zc

Just use your Breath

Controlling your anxiety and nervousness can be helped by simply lengthening your exhale.

Hacking your Vagus Nerve simply by using your breath and a lengthened exhale can help against stress responses, and will improve your Heart Rate Variable.

During an inhale, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates a very brief acceleration of the heart rate. During an exhale, the Vagus Nerve secretes a transmitter substance which causes a deceleration of the heart rate via the parasympathetic nervous system.

For example, a yoga practice instructs us to focus on the breath; specifically on the exhale. Using just the breath alone, one can lower one’s heart rate, which will in turn help to bring down anxiety levels, and help with agitation and general stress. Pranayamic breath work has been in use successfully in many ways for thousands of years around the world for the exact same reason. Almost every couple of years, fresh research corroborates that each of us can trigger our “rest and relax” parasympathetic nervous system to bring about a relaxation response , simply by focusing on the inhalation-to-exhalation ratio of our breathing and consciously extending the length of each exhale while doing breathing exercises as we go about our day-to-day lives. This allows us to focus more clearly, pay closer attention to someone or something, and allows us to be much more “present” in our lives with others. Immensely helpful in any situation.

Using these respiration patterns frequently (slowed and with longer exhalations) can explain a significant part of the efficacy found within contemplative activity practice. Though contemplative activities are diverse, they have shown a similar pattern of beneficial effects on health, mental health, and cognition: mostly in stress-related conditions and performance. This pattern can be explained by these controlled breathing exercises.

An easy way to test this and integrate it into your daily life is to use the 4:8 breathing cycle.

Inhale deep and long for four seconds, then exhale deep and long for 8 seconds. This should come out to about 5 cycles per minute.

Any time you’re feeling stressed out or anxious, try 2 minutes of Vagus Nerve Breathing, or about 10 rounds of the 4:8 inhale/exhale cycles. Just see for yourself how you feel afterward.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201905/longer-exhalations-are-easy-way-hack-your-vagus-nerve?fbclid=IwAR12YBbf6fQ5wrYKi4R42MB1yK5uYSMPZiN764fAKMJ1rlczbiOrptkBugU

Benefits of a Daily Meditation Practice

While meditation can and will provide a sense of peace and tranquility, there are many other benefits to be had from a daily practice.

Lowered blood pressure, calming of the nervous system, and better management of Anxiety Disorders all can be had from a daily practice of meditation.

Sleep quality can be improved, meditation can be used as a part of chronic pain management therapy, and it will also boost your immune system.

Lastly, meditation will help you have happy relationships, because you will be more peaceful and calm. Less will irritate you, and you’ll be inclined to recognize happy and joyful moments throughout your day more.

Check out the below link on Healthgrades.com for more information:

How negative emotions physically affect your well-being

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Your body is a physical manifestation of what you tell yourself.

Contentment within the emotions produces the like in the body’s systems.  One’s immune system becomes strong, muscles can become strong and limber.  This helps our emotional outlook and general well-being.  We’re in a good mood when we feel good.  Nothing seems impossible.

But should those same emotions become negative, producing quiet voices within us that speak “I can’t”, “I’m not good enough”, I don’t deserve”, the body also manifests physical forms of these emotions.  Disease easily finds a hospitable breeding ground in consistent negative emotions.  Which in turn then makes us more uncomfortable, more sad or angry – because we don’t feel well.  The system becomes out of balance, and since emotions produce physical attributes in the body, the cycle that was once positive can turn negative, and the since the manifestations in the body support the emotional condition, we become sick more often.  Chronic pain can develop.  Headaches, body aches, fatigue.  Just like a viral disease, the body can do harm to itself as a result of a consistent, negative emotional environment.  Often, this is an old cycle; meaning that we learned this manner of walking in the world at a young age; so recognizing it can be tricky to do.

So what to do?

If you find yourself in a similar condition, talk with someone.  It can be very helpful to have a third party’s support in looking to see if we are managing our lives compulsively or consciously.  Get around some other people.  Exercise is a fantastic holistic remedy; and is quite necessary as we all age to keep our bodies as well as possible.  A Yoga class, bicycling, running, walking, a health club membership; all will change the body’s chemistry and produce positive results not only physically, but also emotionally from being around like-minded people and from accomplishing goals.

The first step can be difficult to take.  But it can also make a world of difference in your life and in the lives of those around us.