Sunday, April 24, 2011

Soldier 360°

There is growing interest in meditation in the U.S. Armed Forces: From Army Times:

Soldier 360° teaches holistic healing

By John Ryan - Staff editor
Posted : Saturday Apr 23, 2011 8:20:12 EDT
An Army program has adopted some old Eastern practices to help allay modern post-combat stress. The Soldier 360° program in Germany is teaching soldiers and their spouses how to deal with trauma and rebuild relationships using holistic tactics, including yoga, acupuncture and meditation.

“This course has taught me that you do not have to know all the answers or be perfect — just be open-minded, forgiving, and respectful of each other’s individual differences,” Chief Warrant Officer Wendy King, who recently completed the course, said in an April 7 news release.


Learn more about Soldier 360°

Here’s what you need to know about Soldier 360°:

Like the Army-wide Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, a holistic plan to help improve the physical, social, spiritual, emotional and familial aspects of troops’ lives, Soldier 360° also offers soldiers tools to help regain physical health and “psychological readiness” before the onset of more serious post-deployment problems.

Through a series of seminars and activities led by instructors and experts, the program ushers noncommissioned officers and spouses through a six-phase, behavior-modifying process called “learn, do, practice, model, teach, and change,” according to the Combined Arms Training Center in Grafenwoehr, Germany, which offers the course.

The program strives to derail soldiers from well-traveled paths toward addiction and depression after surviving combat. It highlights methods to manage stress, anger, pain and booze, and relays techniques to relax, eat right and express oneself in journals and through humor. Soldiers are also encouraged to push pause during life to reduce stress and refocus.

Back at their units, graduates of the program are expected to pass on coping techniques to subordinates and peers struggling with stress or anxiety, or guide them to get help.

“Every community is unique and soldiers need to be familiar with the agencies available to provide them support,” said Col. Mary S. Lopez, director of strategic initiatives for a medical command in Germany.

The year-old program has been targeted at staff sergeants, the rank of most squad leaders, because its organizers believe they have the “greatest impact on the health and wellness of the unit.” But, according to the Combined Arms Training Center, the program can be expanded to other Army groups.

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