For this discussion, I have chosen the following quotes:
- “Even when I am not stressed, I take a few minutes to be mindful of things I would not [normally] pay attention to in the past” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 485).
- “Yes (my symptoms did improve). If not the symptoms themselves, my reactions to them” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 486).
- “It made it easier for me to accept when I have a flashback. I can better accept it and move on” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 487).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by excessive stress originating from a past event that might be painful, disturbing, or fearful (Colgan et al., 2017). Several types of post-traumatic stress disorders can be identified in patients, including acute stress disorder, which affects patients who endured life-threatening events (Colgan et al., 2017). Signs of PTSD include mood swings, hyperarousal, numbing behaviors, and re-experiencing events. The study chosen examines previous research on post-traumatic stress disorder with a focus on deployment trauma among military veterans, outlining the most effective mindful intervention strategies and prominent themes observed in patients’ behavior. In this paper, three quotes from the investigation’s participants will be examined according to their contribution to the study’s topic, and the major themes and methods employed will be explored.
Mindfulness and Past Habits Reconsideration
“Even when I am not stressed, I take a few minutes to be mindful of things I would not [normally] pay attention to in the past” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 485).
The participant’s insight provides a better understanding of the topic of present moment awareness discussed in this research. According to the authors, present moment awareness is based on the individual’s choice to draw their mental awareness to the current psychological or physical condition (Colgan et al., 2017). The quote presented describes the process of attention focusing, stating that the person practices mindfulness in situations not related to stress. The participant specifies the need to deliberately draw their awareness to the ordinary circumstances that they would usually not notice in their everyday life, explaining that the present moment awareness technique changes the patient’s habits. Partaking in this strategy requires a particular amount of involvement from the individual, compelling them to reshape their everyday activities and positively impacting their perceptions of basic actions.
I felt highly inspired when reading this phrase, primarily due to alterations that this participant implemented in their life. It is common for many people not to pay attention to some events, fixating on the stress and haste of the modern lifestyle. Perhaps if individuals diverted their interests from stressful situations to being more mindful of typical scenarios, it would help them be more aware of their mental state. This excerpt made me think that I should be more invested in my activities, directing more attention to calm and joyous circumstances.
In my opinion, the quote presented perfectly aligns with the present moment awareness theme, as described in this study. Additionally, a theme regarding mindfulness practices is evident, suggesting that it is beneficial to focus on mental, emotional, behavioral, and physiological conditions of present moments. Other topics connected to this discussion are the distinction between past and current habits presented in PTSD patients and the necessity to form certain everyday patterns to overcome the disorder’s symptoms.
The qualitative method used in this study is the semistructured interviewing occurring after the intervention. The participants were asked to describe their experience in various situations, search as their work settings and stressful conditions. The major themes explored are the individuals’ psychological and behavioral processes regarding the implementation of present moment awareness methodology. Another essential concept discussed is the achievement of an enhanced mental awareness state and its influence on PTSD manifestations.
Reactions to PTSD Symptoms
“Yes [my symptoms did improve]. If not the symptoms themselves, my reactions to them” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 486).
This information from the veteran soldier reveals the importance of mental activity and creativity for overall well-being. It is evident that when battling PTSD symptoms, it might not be possible to overcome their occurrence fully, as some negative manifestations will reside even after consistent therapy (Colgan et al., 2017). The participant provides an understanding that it is necessary to transform the existent attitudes to the symptoms, thus improving the mental condition in the long-term. Even though some signs of inflicted trauma will always appear, working with the person’s reactions towards such indicators can prove to be advantageous to the overall quality of life.
When working with this material, I noticed feeling hopeful for the patients with PTSD and similar disorders. While it is likely that detrimental consequences of military encounters will linger throughout the individuals’ life, it is reassuring to discover that these symptoms can be efficiently coped with using existing therapy methods. I also felt optimistic to know that a person’s previous experiences do not define their future, as there is always a possibility for change.
Qualitative methods adopted in this study were direct observation of the patients’ activities, expressions, socialization, and case study design with veteran soldiers affected by PTSD. The prominent themes addressed include non-creativity and its connection to inactivity, introversion, and internal experiences transpiring during these processes. It appears that emotional responses play an important role in the veteran’s avoidance patterns. Furthermore, the authors explored the topics of mindfulness strategies, altering conditioned habits, and reflection upon events encountered.
Nonjudgemental Acceptance of the Past
“It made it easier for me to accept when I have a flashback. I can better accept it and move on” (Colgan et al., 2017, p. 487).
The interviewee clearly describes how soldiers struggle with accepting past situations. While discussing the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions, the participant explains that such practices greatly enhance their ability to acknowledge the flashback and move past that experience. The veteran’s knowledge dramatically contributes to the topic of acceptance, proposing that nonjudgemental acceptance vastly benefits the mental conditions of PTSD patients. Moreover, this practice presents them with an opportunity to address the feelings of distress and advance to a more stable psychological state.
Analysis of this quote compelled me to sense feelings of anger and grief for the veterans. It must be exceptionally challenging to battle the consequences of military experience on a day-to-day basis, especially when it becomes too demanding to accept past events. It is impossible for me to imagine how burdensome it must be to move forward after such circumstances, but I feel delighted and hopeful knowing that there are various options for improving the individuals’ well-being.
Direct observation of the patients is the primary type of qualitative analysis used for medical examinations of PTSD patients. The approach employed in this study includes observations and focused discussions with the participants and their families, as well as clinical interventions involving mindfulness practices. The investigation envelopes nonjudgmental acceptance, awareness of emotions, and internal experiences’ avoidance themes, further describing the methods of magnifying nonjudgmental acceptance. The leading point of this study states that the best way to treat PTSD is by establishing psychotherapy sessions with the affected individuals.
Colgan, D. D., Wahbeh, H., Pleet, M., Besler, K., & Christopher, M. (2017). A qualitative study of mindfulness among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder: Practices differentially affect symptoms, aspects of well-being, and potential action mechanisms. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(3), 482–493.