On The Mat With


Military Veterans: Reduce the Negative Effects of Hypervigilance

hypervigilance meditation mental health mindfulness post traumatic growth ptsd yoga Apr 28, 2023
Military Veterans reduce the negative effects of hypervigilance

What is Hypervigilance

Hypervigilance refers to a state of being constantly alert, looking out for potential threats, and being on edge. It is an all-consuming state that is commonly experienced by people who have gone through traumatic experiences, including military veterans. While it is often seen as a protective response to danger, hypervigilance can have numerous negative effects on the body and mind. Fortunately, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have proven to be effective tools for combatting the effects of hypervigilance. 

Impact on Body

One of the most notable effects of hypervigilance is the way it impacts the body. The constant state of heightened alertness can be extremely draining on the autonomic nervous system, leading to chronic fatigue, digestive issues, and a weakened immune system. Furthermore, hypervigilance can cause physical tension in muscles, increase heart rate, and lead to other cardiovascular concerns. It can also lead to an exaggerated startle response and insomnia. These physical symptoms can make hypervigilance incredibly debilitating, affecting every aspect of a veteran's life.

Impact on Mental Health

The impact of hypervigilance is not just limited to the physical body, however. It can also have a significant impact on mental health. Hypervigilance can cause anxiety, irritability, and depression, and may even lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The heightened stress response can also lead to difficulties with focus, memory, and decision-making. Left unaddressed, hypervigilance can have a significant impact on a veteran's overall well-being, making it harder to reintegrate with civilian life.

Effective Tools

Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have proven to be effective tools for combatting the negative effects of hypervigilance on both body and mind. These practices can help veterans regulate their nervous system activity, which reduces symptoms of hypervigilance. Mindfulness is the practice of staying present and aware of the current moment without judgment, therefore reducing the amount of time spent ruminating on past traumas, while meditation and yoga both help with relaxation and managing stress. Yoga, specifically, can target physical tension and may contribute to improved sleep and digestion. Practicing these techniques can reduce symptoms, and with regular use, can begin helping to rewire the mind and body towards a more peaceful state.

Approach is key

As with any activity, finding the right approach is key. Some veterans may find that guided meditations and breathing exercises will help them focus and relax, while others may be more responsive to a more mindful practice. Still, others who choose to practice yoga find specific benefits from different styles or types of postures. There is no one perfect approach when it comes to mindfulness, meditation or yoga, so experimentation and recreational groups are highly encouraged. With the right tools, however, many veterans report a significant improvement in their overall mental and physical well-being.

Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga proven to help

For military veterans who struggle with hypervigilance after experiencing traumatic events, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can be incredibly helpful practices to incorporate in their wellness routine. These practices can have a significant and positive impact on both body and mind, leading to a more peaceful, relaxed state of being. By reducing symptoms of hypervigilance through meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices, veterans can find relief from the physical and emotional effects of trauma and be empowered in their reintegration to civilian life.

Join our waitlist for our next 14-day NO COST Online Yoga challenge. Coming soon!