psychological health

Psychological Fitness – Keeping Your Mind Fit

Fitness is a whole-of-body experience, not just about how much weight you can lift, or how many miles you can run, but it includes a number of other factors outside the realm of strength, agility and speed. Psychological fitness is one of those factors. Understanding what makes up psychological fitness and how to develop a healthier mental state can improve your readiness to confront the challenges of life – both in the military and in civilian life.

Breathing, Meditation, Relaxation Techniques

Staying fit requires more than physical strength – it requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on the mind, body and spirit working together. Whether you are preparing to deploy, are currently deployed or are reintegrating, it’s important to consider how mind and body practices like breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques can assist you in staying resilient or coping with invisible wounds. Mind and body skills are part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative health practices that focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body and behavior, in order to use the mind to strengthen physical functioning and promote health. CAM and integrative health are a diverse group of medical and non-medical health care practices that are not considered to be part of conventional medicine, or clinical care practiced by a health provider. Note, CAM and integrative health practices are not currently covered under TRICARE military health care plans. For more information on TRICARE coverage, visit TRICARE Covered Services online.

Coping with Survivor Guilt & Grief

Following the death or severe injury of a fellow service member, friend or loved one, you can sometimes feel shock, responsibility for the event or remorse for surviving. This is a common emotional reaction often called “survivor guilt.”

Veterans Affairs’ Caregiver Benefits & National Support Line

Service members returning from deployment may be coping with physical injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) or psychological health concerns such as combat stress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can affect the entire family – particularly primary caregivers. Taking care of your veteran requires real strength. Whether it’s handling the household chores, assisting with daily hygiene activities, taking your veteran to appointments or just being there in their time of need, caregiving takes endurance, commitment and patience. You are not alone. There are resources available to help you care for your loved one, as well as provide support and help you manage the stresses that can occur with being a caregiver.

Monitor Psychological Health with the T2 MoodTracker App

Whether you are deployed or transitioning, self-monitoring your psychological health is just one way you can gauge how stress may be affecting you (or a loved one). Self-monitoring with pen and paper has been used for decades to understand symptoms over time. As mobile phones have evolved to replace pen and paper, their applications (apps) have evolved to complement traditional health care too. The free T2 MoodTracker app can be your pen and paper – for your own awareness or for sharing with your health care provider. The app is currently available for Android phones and, in coming months, will be available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

The National Guard Psychological Health Program

The National Guard Psychological Health Program (NGPHP) advocates, promotes and guides National Guard members and their families by supporting psychological fitness for operational readiness.

Build Resilience to Maximize Mission Readiness

The ability to adapt to adversity and overcome barriers is critical to a warrior’s strength. This skill—resilience—can characterize both physical and psychological strength. But while every warrior is trained how to develop physical resilience, it’s also critical to learn how to develop psychological resilience.

Caring for Yourself While Helping Support Your Service Member

Military deployments are emotionally and physically demanding. The experiences of living in high-stress combat environments can continue to affect service members as they return home. They may have trouble adjusting to living in a comfortable, relaxed and loving environment. Additionally, you may notice your service member feeling and acting differently then they did before they left. These feelings may not be temporary and might not disappear the moment they return home. Your service member may need your support to help him or her adjust to living and feeling at home again.

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