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Mastering Mindfulness for Veterans: A Short Guide to Inner Peace

Psychotherapist Gloria Segovia.

I’m Gloria Segovia, the founder of AERCS, and it’s with a deep sense of dedication that I speak to you today about an issue very close to my heart – trauma therapy and support, for our veterans. Seeking to help with PTSD, Trauma, and Anxiety after your service? I want you to know: you’re not alone. You’ve found a place of understanding and support.

TL;DR Key Takeaways.

  • Canadian veterans often face significant challenges with trauma and PTSD. Mindfulness for veterans can help when combined with other care.
  • Trauma-informed care at AERCS emphasizes empathy and understanding, offering specialized support for veterans.
  • Recovery involves personalized treatment plans and selecting the right therapist for trauma therapy.
  • AERCS provides tailored services to help veterans through their healing process, focusing on empowerment and resilience​ (AERCS Therapy)​.

For more detailed information, please visit the AERCS Trauma Therapy Ontario page.

Mindfulness for veterans is simple, yet deep, practice that people seem to be flocking to with good reason. Mindfulness at its core is being present within the moment: engaging with that moment fully, here and now, without judgment. This can really be what takes them out of this world who suffer from PTSD and anxiety.

Think of an instrument that helps you find your way in the stormy seas of your thoughts and feelings, something that would be like a guiding light to relative peace in the middle of what can be sensed as chaos. This is what mindfulness can give you. It is like having an anchor that holds you in place no matter how rough the waves around you get.

The period after service is often not easy for the veteran, and not all war wounds are physical. For them, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety can even make the returning transition more complicated. This is where mindfulness comes in, especially in aiding the veteran not to just find peace in the quiet moments but to uncover how to make a difference in resilience and clarity in everyday life.

Mindfulness for veterans gives you a way to approach your experiences with a fresh set of eyes, valuing the presence over the past traumas or future anxieties. It simply means learning to view thoughts and feelings without getting too caught up in them. “For many veterans, it’s been a lifeline, helping them find something that had eluded them for years: a sense of inner peace.

The following sections will give a keen interest in how mindfulness for veterans can actually be a practical tool in managing PTSD and anxiety. The practical exercise to initiate the practice of mindfulness will be explained, and, lastly, changes in life that veterans have gone through, who practiced mindfulness. So, if you’re ready to explore how mindfulness for veterans can help you find inner peace, let’s get started.

Let’s Define Mindfulness for Veterans.

So, what exactly is “mindfulness for veterans,” and why is it crucial for achieving inner peace?

Mindfulness for veterans is being present in the moment: to be fully alive and aware, not rapt away by runaway overthinking of past or future. That means the thoughts, feelings, and even bodily sensations may be noticed in a nonjudgmental way. This practice can help hugely, especially when you have served in the military and are dealing with PTSD or anxiety.

Why is this important for inner peace? Many of the veterans are filled with a plethora of mixed emotions and flashbacks that could be really overwhelming. Mindfulness allows you to set the space in which you are able to step back and just observe your thoughts without getting carried away by them. Like a mental breather, it gives you an opportunity to process your feelings and respond in a calmer, cooler way.

Think of it this way: if your mind is a sky, then thoughts and emotions are like clouds passing through.

The oft-given analogy of one’s thoughts being like clouds in the sky very much encapsulates the thought of mindfulness: just like the sky is unchanged by the passing of clouds, so is a person unaffected by the thoughts. This is a skill that will be so much more than merely useful; it really could change the veterans’ lives who might constantly feel like they are at war with their minds.

This brings in a different way to live life and relate to experiencing; hence, integrating mindfulness and eventually resulting in a change to feeling and acting. It doesn’t mean that you erase memories or emotions, but rather learn how to live with them more peacefully.

This can be the area of difference between being caught up in a vicious cycle of stress or finding a road to mental freedom for veterans.

Therefore, as you look through the mindfulness lens for veterans, remember that this journey is one that looks towards the inner peace that one discovers through presence and acceptance, one moment at a time. It is all about reclaiming your life from the clutches of PTSD and anxiety; it’s a journey worth undergoing.

A veteran sitting on a park bench, immersed in the surroundings of a serene Canadian park, symbolizing mindfulness for veterans with autumn leaves and Canadian cultural elements.

Why is mindfulness for veterans essential?

Benefits of Mindfulness in Managing PTSD and Anxiety.

In contrast, when looking at mindfulness in relation to veterans, much of it would focus on helping people who have been in combat zones find some small sense of calm.

It would be mostly directed toward assisting veterans with changing fundamentally how they relate to their thoughts and feelings, more so considering such issues emanate from PTSD and anxiety. But how? What contribution does mindfulness make to bringing about this change?

Mindfulness for veterans isn’t some buzzword—it’s an actual researched and validated approach to mental well-being. In fact, most meta-analyses of the effect of people subjected to a mindfulness-based intervention find that it actually does experience a significant decrease in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, compared to the control group.

What’s fascinating is that the longer the mindfulness practice, the greater the reduction in traumatic stress symptoms. Not that it makes one feel quite more at ease; it involves a real, quantifiable lessening of those symptoms—the symptoms that make life so hard for people with PTSD.

How does mindfulness for veterans do all this, anyway? Studies have shown that current patterns of brain activation—and more specifically, to the areas affected in PTSD patients—can change following mindfulness interventions.

What this translates to in plainer language is that mindfulness may just bring some relief in symptoms associated with PTSD by changing brain function or kind of rewiring the processes through which the brain responds to stress and trauma.

Imagine the mind is a superhighway with thoughts and feelings racing at top speeds. PTSD and anxiety often leave this superhighway very congested, with traffic jams and fender benders.

Mindfulness for veterans puts in traffic lights and even roundabouts, so one can juggle the flow without crashes. It provides a tool to veterans for observing their thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in the same, so that they will be more capable of processing and regulating the experience effectively.

The impact of mindfulness goes beyond just the individual. It can improve relationships, enhance decision-making, and lead to better overall quality of life.

Mindfulness nurtures a sense of presence and acceptance that allows the ability of veterans to thrive with changing relations to past experiences and opening pathways toward a more peaceful and fulfilling life.

Mindfulness for veterans is not so much a practice but a tool toward transformation; it goes way beyond temporary relief and establishes quite a lasting shift in how veterans are able to relate to their own minds and their experiences.

Supported by solid research and by the real-life success stories of many, it is a no-brainer that mindfulness is a powerful ally in healing and finding an inner equilibrium.

Simple Mindfulness Exercises.

Mindfulness might be an elegant word, but at its core, it is simply the attention to the present moment with friendliness and curiosity. Mindfulness is excellent for veterans, more so those in recovery from PTSD or struggling with anxiety. Let’s walk through some simple exercises that can help you get started.

Breathing Techniques.

In this vein, one of the core focused practices for mindfulness of veterans is the breath. This exercise is very simple:

  • Find a silent place where you can sit comfortably without any disruption.
  • Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, take a full, deep breath, and then gently exhale through your mouth.
  • Simply feel the movement of air into and out of your lungs, the chest or belly going up and down, and the feeling on breathing in and breathing out.

You may find this practice an anchor to bring you back to the present from your cluttered thoughts.

Sensory Grounding.

Sensory grounding exercises work as keeping you connected to the present by getting aware of your sensory experiences.

Take a look for a few moments to slowly notice:

  • Five things around you that you could see.
  • Four things around you that you can touch or feel.
  • Three things around you that you could hear.
  • Two things around you that you can smell.
  • And one thing around you that you can taste.

This could be particularly helpful where the level of stress is too high or flashbacks, as it helps guide refocusing of attention to the present moment.

Mindful Observation.

Take any object near you—a photo, a plant, or probably a cup of coffee. Look at this object for several minutes. Notice the colour, shape, texture, and other attributes.

If your mind starts to stray, just gently bring it back to the object.

Such exercise helps the mind get used to staying focused in the present and reduces the ability to get carried by a chain of negative thoughts or worries.

Mindful Movement.

You can also try different physical activities like mindful walking and stretching.

  • Notice all the different sensations when moving your body.
  • Notice feelings of your feet against the ground and the rhythmic movement of arms and limbs along with breathing.

This may result in a state of active awareness together with physical relaxation.

Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine is a good way to start. Adding these as very simple exercises may take little time and use your willingness to stop and listen.

All these practices in veterans can be very helpful for controlling PTSD and anxiety symptoms, yet at the same time, can help build a way toward a calmer and focused mind.

Improving Concentration and Emotional Regulation.

Mindfulness for a veteran is not just about seeking tranquility; it’s about tapping into the power of focused attention and emotion management.

Enhancing Focus through Mindfulness.

Mindfulness for veterans improves concentration by encouraging a focus on the present moment. Regular mindfulness practice helps train your brain to shift attention from distracting thoughts to the current task, akin to strengthening a muscle that grows with use.

A practical method to enhance focus is through mindfulness meditation:

Spend a few minutes daily sitting quietly, concentrating on your breath or a chosen object. When your mind wanders, gently guide it back. This routine can sharpen your focus during meditation and in daily activities.

Managing Emotions with Mindfulness for Veterans.

Managing emotions with mindfulness is also crucial, especially for veterans facing intense and unpredictable emotions.

Mindfulness for veterans enables observing feelings without judgment, fostering recognition and acceptance without being overwhelmed.

The RAIN technique, standing for Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Non-Identification, is an effective strategy for this.

Acknowledge your emotions, allow them to exist without resistance, investigate their triggers and physical sensations, and remember that you are not your emotions—they are transient experiences.

Practicing RAIN leads to healthier emotional engagement, enhancing emotional stability and resilience.

It’s about comprehending emotions in a way that they don’t govern your reactions. In essence, mindfulness for veterans significantly aids in enhancing focus and regulating emotions.

By cultivating present-moment awareness and non-judgmental observation, you gain better control over your mental and emotional responses, leading to improved mental clarity and emotional well-being.

The RAIN Technique.

Recognize: Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Is it anger, sadness, frustration, or something else?

Allow: Let the emotion be there without trying to push it away or ignore it.

Investigate: Explore the emotion with curiosity. What triggered it? How does it feel in your body?

Non-Identification: Remind yourself that you are not your emotions. They are passing experiences, not permanent states.

Success Stories of Veterans Practicing Mindfulness.

Meet “Joe” (real name not revealed for privacy), a military veteran who fought on the battleground and for years to come, was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. His journey from battleground to battling his own mind is a testimony to how changing mindfulness can be, especially under the support and therapy of AERCS.

His life after service was haunted by recurrent flashbacks, nights without sleep, and feeling the a nervousness that pervaded many parts of his life.

All the best efforts aside, this chaos of experience was dogging him in civilian life, and that was affecting his relations and personal well-being. It is during this very trying period that Joe got in touch with AERCS.

AERCS exposed Joe to various PTSD therapy models, where mindfulness was one of the keys.

Initially, Joe was very skeptical, but he went on to see the great results which can result from mindfulness.

He learned that the ability to ground himself in the present through mindfulness exercises really made it easier to deal with flashbacks and anxiety.

Joe was no longer helpless before these feelings towards his traumas; on the contrary, he began to watch his thoughts and feelings detachedly so that the frequency and intensity were considerably reduced.

What Joe discovered is that “mindfulness for veterans” is more than sitting quietly; it includes how to practice mindfulness in every activity.

AERCS provided means and ways through which Joe would weave mindfulness into his daily routines: from how to practice eating mindfully to how to walk mindfully, making the mundane moments full of chances for presence and peace.

Combining mindfulness with other therapeutic interventions from AERCS truly changed life for Joe.

It improved the quality of sleep dramatically, made his relationships much stronger, and, most importantly, helped him move towards the peace from within that he couldn’t experience since his days of service.

Joe’s story is hardly unique, yet it illustrates in powerful terms how mindfulness, especially when led by additional tailored therapy, can be a lifeline for many veterans struggling with PTSD.

This story lies at the very essence of what mindfulness can be for the veteran: a journey in the reclamation of power and mastery of the mind and life, back to a way of living that is more peaceful and fulfilling.

Joe’s experience with AERCS demonstrates that it is possible to move from just surviving to actually thriving with the right support and tools.

Integrating Mindfulness into Daily Life.

How to implement mindfulness in your life? It doesn’t have to be some big and overwhelming undertaking. It is simply introducing small moments of mindfulness into your day.

An important tool that should be incorporated into the managing of PTSD and anxiety symptoms is mindfulness, providing the sense of control in your life and peace on a day-to-day basis. Let’s explore some ways to weave mindfulness into your daily activities and how AERCS can support you in this journey.

Mindfulness Checklist for Veterans.

  1. Morning Mindfulness: Start your day with a moment of stillness.Before jumping out of bed, take a few deep breaths and set an intention for the day.
  2. Mindful Eating: Pay attention to the flavours, textures, and sensations of your food. Eating slowly can help you enjoy the meal and digest better.
  3. Mindful Walking: Whether you’re walking to your car or taking a stroll in the park, focus on the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your steps, and the sounds around you.
  4. Mindful Listening: When conversing with others, practice active listening. Focus on their words, tone, and expressions without planning your response.
  5. Breathing Breaks: Throughout the day, take short breaks to focus on your breath. A few deep breaths can help reset your mind and reduce stress.
  6. Evening Reflection: End your day with gratitude. Reflect on three things you’re grateful for, which can help shift focus from negative to positive experiences.

How AERCS Can Help.

While the checklist is a good start, professional help will go much farther in the journey of mindfulness, especially when suffering from PTSD.

AERCS offers specialized programs that utilize mindfulness with other therapeutic tools to meet the special challenges that may be posed to veterans. At AERCS, we see mindfulness as a small part of an overall approach to dealing with PTSD. Our services include individual counseling, anxiety therapy, and individual mindfulness training plans, all in the light to help our veterans grow stronger on the way to recovery.

The Role of Professional Support.

At AERCS we can offer exercises and strategies specifically tailored to you, the individual, that can help you better fit into daily life, which makes mindfulness more accessible and useful.

Integrating mindfulness into daily life is a journey of small steps that lead to significant changes.

With a simple checklist and by reaching to Gloria at AERCS out for support, veterans can avail the fullness of mindfulness to further betterment of their quality of life.

Remember: it is progress, not perfection. Every mindful moment is a step towards a more peaceful and centered life.

AERCS Therapy: Supporting Veterans in Mindfulness and Trauma Therapy

AERCS Therapy cares: we have a well-thought-out healing procedure for the veteran who has borne the aftermath of the traumatizing events. Our trauma-informed therapy helps you appreciate the impacts caused and the development of resiliency and coping mechanisms to the victims.

An experienced certified clinician at AERCS (a psychotherapist and social worker) can understand the difference between trauma and PTSD. They take care of symptoms and flashbacks, hypervigilance, and changes in mood which are the main factors for personal growth and healing.

Mindfulness for veterans is integrated within these and other evidence-based therapeutic approaches. AERCS provides veterans with more resources in their search for mental well-being and offers a bridge back into a kind of regained safety and control over one’s life.


As a veteran looking to find balance and peace through mindfulness, know that you’re not alone in this journey. We’re here to help you through your unique experiences, together on your path toward mental wellness. We also specialize in mindfulness for veterans and trauma therapy, providing a compassionate and understanding environment.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and take the first step toward reclaiming your life. For more information or to book an appointment, visit AERCS Therapy at Trauma-Informed Therapy and Book an Appointment.

Choosing the Right Therapist.

Finding the right therapist is crucial because therapy is a highly personal process.

Therapists differ in their specializations, approaches, and personalities. A good fit can significantly enhance comfort, trust, and effectiveness of therapy, especially for trauma where understanding and relatability are key.

The right therapist can adapt techniques to suit an individual’s specific needs, ensuring a more successful healing journey.

Choosing the right therapist for trauma therapy involves several key steps:

  1. Look for Specialization: Ensure the therapist has experience and training in Trauma Therapy and PTSD.
  2. Verify Credentials: Check their licensing and professional background in mental health care.
  3. Consider Therapeutic Approach: Different therapists use various methods. Find one that aligns with your comfort and needs.
  4. Assess Compatibility: It’s important that you feel comfortable and understood by your therapist.
  5. Inquire About Their Experience with Veterans: If you’re a veteran, a therapist familiar with military culture and veteran issues can be beneficial.
  6. Evaluate Accessibility: Consider location, appointment availability, and whether they offer remote sessions.
  7. Ask About Their Approach to Trauma Therapy: Understanding their methodology can help you gauge if it suits your healing process.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

At AERCS, we’re more than happy to guide you through the process, answer any concerns, and ensure you feel supported in finding trauma therapy that meet your needs.

Reach Out to AERCS.

Embark on your healing journey by connecting with AERCS for trauma therapy services.

Our team is ready to support you with specialized care.

Scheduling a consultation is straightforward, offering you the first step towards recovery.

Learn more and reach out on our Trauma Therapy page: AERCS Trauma-Informed Therapy.

FAQ Mindfulness for Veterans.

What is mindfulness for veterans?

Mindfulness for veterans involves practices and techniques designed to help those who have served in the military to focus on the present moment, manage stress, and cope with symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.

How can mindfulness for veterans improve mental health?

Mindfulness helps veterans by reducing stress, improving emotional regulation, decreasing symptoms of PTSD and anxiety, and enhancing overall well-being and quality of life.

Are there specific mindfulness exercises tailored for veterans?

Yes, there are mindfulness exercises specifically tailored for veterans, focusing on addressing trauma, managing stress, and building resilience through techniques like breathing exercises, guided meditation, and sensory grounding.

Can mindfulness for veterans help with PTSD?

Yes, mindfulness for veterans can significantly help in managing and reducing the symptoms of PTSD by teaching coping mechanisms that increase awareness of the present moment and reduce negative thought patterns.

Where can veterans learn mindfulness practices?

Veterans can learn mindfulness practices through specialized programs offered by organizations like AERCS Therapy, which provide trauma-informed care and mindfulness training geared towards veterans’ needs.

Is Trauma Therapy Right for You?

Discover how AERCS can assist in just 5 minutes!

Do you often feel numb or detached from people, activities, or your surroundings?
Have you lost interest in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed?
Do you experience intense or unpredictable emotional reactions to reminders of past traumatic events?
Do you find yourself using substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with your emotions or memories?
Do you often feel irritable or have angry outbursts?

Steps to Begin Your Trauma Therapy Journey with AERCS

Easy Guidance: How to Get Started

Beginning your journey with AERCS for Trauma Therapy is straightforward. Here are the simple steps to get you on a positive path :

  1. Phone AERCS: Call us at 1-800-679-5536 to speak directly with our team.
  2. Online Contact Form: Fill out our contact form at AERCS Contact for a quick response.
  3. Book Using Jane App: Conveniently schedule an appointment at AERCS Jane App.
  4. Complimentary 20 Minute Consultation: Request a complimentary call to understand your needs and match you with the right therapist.

Taking the First Step

Taking the first step might feel daunting, but it’s a powerful move towards helping enriching your life.

Every journey starts with a single step. By choosing to explore trauma therapy in the Toronto, Mississauga, or Orangeville areas, with AERCS, you’re making a positive commitment to your own journey. We’re here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Gloria Segovia

Gloria Segovia

MSW, RSW, SFBT, CRPO, GOTTMAN CERT (In motion) EFT (In motion)

Gloria Segovia, a seasoned Registered Psychotherapist and Clinical Social Worker, brings over 15 years of expertise in psychotherapy, catering to individuals, couples, and families. Specializing in addiction, relapse prevention, and couples counseling, Gloria’s eclectic approach combines best practices in trauma and recovery counseling. With a commitment to lifelong learning, she’s trained in Solution Focus Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the Gottman marital approach. Gloria’s compassionate and empathic nature ensures a safe, inclusive environment, emphasizing strengths-based therapy and collaborative partnerships with clients.

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