Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post provided courtesy of the Real Warriors Campaign. More information and tools are available at www.realwarriors.net.
Experiences such as traumatic events during your military career can lead to questioning your values and trying to make sense of what happened. Spirituality can help you cope by connecting you to something bigger than yourself. For some, it may be a relationship with your unit, family or nature. For others, it may be a relationship with a Higher Power and religious practices. However you express it, spirituality can create values and beliefs to give life meaning.
Benefits of Spirituality
Spirituality can help you cope with stress in all stages of military life. For example, through meditation or prayer, you may feel at peace and find more purpose in life. It can:
- Increase happiness
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Strengthen the bond of your unit
- Promote a positive outlook
- Mend feelings of moral injury
- Strengthen personal relationships
- Maintain healthy lifestyle choices
Spiritual Fitness Tips
Spirituality can play a key role in your well-being. Try these tips to boost your daily routine:
- Share thoughts and questions with others who have similar beliefs
- Take part in creative arts, such as painting, music or writing
- Embrace the outdoors. Go for walks, hikes, swims or runs to connect with the world around you
- Read about spiritual teachings
- Find a regular religious service or practice that works for you
- Think positively
- Practice mindfulness or yoga
What Line Leaders Can Do
With good leadership, spirituality can lead to unity. As a line leader, you can:
- Have your unit members take a Spiritual Fitness Assessment [PDF 267KB]. Follow up with a post-assessment review that your service provides.
- Provide equal support for service members with different spiritual practices. For example, allow time to practice Tai Chi or attend religious service.
- Work with chaplains to help unit members cope with psychological health concerns.
- Give service members chances to share their spirituality with peers.
About 700 military chaplains across all military branches are ready and available to help service members become or stay spiritually fit. Call Military OneSource at 800-362-9647 to find the chaplain nearest you.
- AfterDeployment: Spirituality
- “In Times of Doubt, Find Healing in Pastoral Care”
- Finding a New Connection through Spirituality
- Local Community Resource Finder
- The Unit Chaplain: Roles and Responsibilities