Today, May 17, 2014, is National Armed Forces Day in the USA. If you live in the US, you may want to take a moment today to thank someone who served, or is serving, in any of our five military branches – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Regardless of what you think of war, these dedicated men and women give up their freedom on a daily basis to defend freedom for others everywhere.
As you know, freedom is one of the basic human needs of Choice Theory psychology. At least in the US, most people do not have to spend a lot of time thinking of how to get their need for freedom met. Most US citizens have an abundance of freedom granted under the Constitution and defended and protected by the US Armed Forces. We owe much to these men and women.
Going to war can be a lifestyle that threatens one’s mental health and happiness. There has been much attention given to suicide rates and PTSD in military members in recent years. Serving one’s country can often expose military members to experiences not easily forgotten. I work hard to call this PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). I leave off the D for disorder. Given the experiences I have heard military members speak of, it is no wonder post traumatic stress could be the result. When experiencing traumatic situations, stress is a normal response to an extraordinary event — not a disorder but an adaptive response under the circumstances. We need to recognize this and help normalize the experience while helping our military members regain any mental health and happiness that was compromised based on their selfless service.
And if you are a friend or family member of an active duty military member, especially those who serving in combat zones, we need to appreciate you as well. I often speak to military audiences and say, “The only thing harder than being a military member is loving one.” Sending someone you love into a combat zone is something else that can impact one’s mental health and happiness.
Signing up for and practicing Your Daily Challenge from this website can help you too, while your loved one is away and when they return. These challenges are no substitute for therapy but practicing them can help you regain your center from having your life uprooted, while you move toward increased mental health and happiness.
Hug an armed forces member or member of their family today or thank them for their service. Doing so, expressing your gratitude, can lift your mood too!