“While I was extremely sceptical at first, yoga and meditation have been a game-changer for my life. My sleep is better, and I’m more focused and relaxed in my daily life. I truly believe that yoga and meditation can help so many veterans as they did for me.”
Stress is a universal occurrence brought on by our careers, health issues, our family life, and many other factors. It usually stems from things changing in these areas of our lives and us not necessarily knowing how to navigate the uncharted waters.
While uncomfortable, stress is a very normal part of life. For me, a great deal of my stress came as I transitioned from being a Navy fighter pilot into civilian life. Not only did I bring along stressors from being inactive duty but learning this new life I had not known before certainly came with its own challenges.
For many years there was an ebb and flow for how I managed the stressful moments in my life. Some days were certainly easier than others.
Like many veterans, it is not common to talk about and you just learn to deal with the ups and downs. That was until about two years ago when I was introduced to yoga and meditation. If you know me, you would never think that I am the ‘yogi’ type. I like my life and run my businesses just like my military career – on one speed and it was GO!
While I was extremely sceptical at first, yoga and meditation have been a game-changer for my life. My sleep is better, and I’m more focused and relaxed in my daily life. Yoga has been able to enhance my mood and overall sense of well-being. It has also had a positive effect on dealing with stress and anxiety. I truly believe that yoga and meditation can help so many veterans as they did for me.
Benefits of Yoga for Stress Relief
Yoga is beneficial in coping with stress as is it enables you to recharge. It decreases the stress response, and it increases the relaxation response. This can help calm and quiet the mind and body. There is also research that shows yoga may help with sleep.
Veterans are often stressed with finding a new career, housing, and a new life. It can be challenging when transitioning to civilian life, but yoga can help relieve some of the stress that goes along with it.
Yoga helps move your body. This helps release endorphins which can help boost your mood. Yoga helps improve flexibility, strength, and balance, and focusing on your body’s position and breathing, hence increasing your self-awareness. Research shows that yoga can help lower back pain with continual improvement if maintaining a long-term yoga practice.
Yoga is a great foundation in helping us build strong relationships. When we are calmer and more relaxed, we respond better to stressful moments in our lives, especially when dealing with our family and friends. A research study even showed how yoga could improve well-being at work. Having an inner calm can help you tackle many challenges. It keeps you level-headed and focused on a solution. As you find balance with yoga you will notice that the relationships around you become easier to manage.
We all have stress in our lives, especially the men and women who have served. As a veteran myself I can attest that my life truly changed the day I discovered yoga and meditation.
I have been able to let go of many difficult moments from active duty and move past the issues I faced during the transition into civilian life. I feel better from the inside out and finally have found my inner balance.
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E. Matthew ‘Whiz’ Buckley is a retired Navy fighter pilot turned CEO, published author, financial expert, and renowned speaker for fortune 500 companies. He applied his combat knowledge into his business, TOPGUN Options and grew it to a multi-million dollar options trading school. Prior to TOPGUN Options, he was a F/A-18 Hornet Instructor and flew 44 combat missions over Iraq, being awarded 2 Strike/Flight Air Medals by the President of the United States. He completed 2 deployments to the Persian Gulf onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS. Kitty Hawk. Whiz left active duty late in 2000 to fly the F-18 for the naval reserve out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth, TX, and was also hired to fly for American Airlines. His first day on the job was 9/11 and that morning he went from flying in an airliner, to maybe shooting one down… He combined his unprecedented experiences in the military and corporate America in the writing of From Sea Level to C Level: A Fighter Pilot’s Journey from the Front Lines to the Front Office. Whiz most recently launched the TOPGUN Fighter Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit that aims to help veterans with mental and emotional instabilities to recover and adapt to civilian life.