New trend helping veterans find peace after serving our country

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Our veterans fought for us overseas and now many are fighting a war here at home when it comes to their mental health.

A new trend is helping veterans across Southwest Florida find peace after the stress of serving their country.

It’s called transcendental meditation.

Sept. 11, 2001, is a day most every American will remember, including Laura Hartman who enlisted right after the tragedy.

Laura Hartman (WINK News)

For her, defending our freedom runs in the family.

“I’m proud, third-generation military,” she said.

She proudly served in the war against terror as she was deployed to Iraq. But after an abrupt medical discharge, coming home wasn’t easy.

Post Traumatic Stress, addiction to prescription medication and alcohol made that war at home a difficult battle.

“I tried 12 step programs. I tried Crossfit. I tried running,” said Hartman. And then, she connected with Home Base, a non-profit helping veterans transition to civilian life.

“I think there’s an extremely strong correlation between mental health and physical health,” said Armando Hernandez, the program director for Home Base Southwest Florida.

That’s why they offer yoga and meditation programs to veterans like Hartman.

“It’s the least vulnerable entry point into self-care,” said Hernandez.

Yoga instructor Salima Silverman teaches veterans how to focus on their breathing.

(WINK News)

“That brings awareness to the mind and the body,” she said.

That meditation helps clear the mind and negative thoughts associated with PTSD and addiction.

“When you’re feeling anxious, when you’re feeling panicked, you get a grip much faster,” said Silverman.

Hartman says it worked for her. “It brings me into the moment.”

Research at Fort Gordon Georgia found transcendental meditation even helped reduce the need for psychotropic drugs in participating veterans.

That helps men and women like Hartman win the war in their heads.

“It brings me out of my head into who I am,” said Hartman.

Home Base Southwest Florida offers mental and physical health to veterans and their families at no cost.

You can learn more about the organization by clicking here.

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