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Managing Post Traumatic Stress thanks to Connected Warriors

sgraye

 

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It's impossible to prepare for a traumatic event, they can be big or small  and they creep up and happen when we are least prepared - and they create powerful memories.  Our  work with Veterans and their families proves over and over again that when we learn to recognize when our body is reactiving - we can learn to control those reactions.

First some quick introductions, my name is Jeffrey Weaver and I am an Aruba employee and an Air Force Veteran who enjoys tremendous support from my friends and colleagues across Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).  I am writing this post because today Is National PTSD Day and I have some unique experience.

Connected Warriors (CW) is a non-profit organization that was founded by my wife, Judy Weaver.  This volunteer organization delivers free weekly trauma-conscious yoga classes to Veterans, military service-members and their families in donated spaces and communities across the world.


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CW had had the opportunity wo work with a large number of Veterans and their family members over a very short time, so the Connected Warriors trauma conscious teaching protocols evolved rapidly based on some extreme inputs and are state-of-the-art.  Forget for a minute that our guests are from military and family backgrounds - we all have stress and there is no formula for how to react and manage that stress after the fact, but it is possible to take control.

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For many people, the ability to manage unwanted reactions, is as simple as learning to recognize when they are happening and to take a pause.  It only takes a small fraction of a second to create enough space (time) to intercept your brain from sending a riot of signals all over your body - but it takes a little practice.

A weekly class where we feel safe to let our guard down is important - as humans we like that predictability.  When I ask my wife what she is doing in a trauma-conscious class, she says that she is teaching how to tune-up our nervous system without accidentally triggering PTS.  It makes sense - we exercise our hearts and lungs, we brush our teeth, and now we tune-up our nervous system using our breath.

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It's very hard to quantify what is going on with each of us, but with a little focus we can learn to identify the subtle ways our mind will try to hijack our bodies.  Once we find those very small moments between our thoughts and reactions - we get to make a decision about how to react.  We get better and better at this as we practice it.

While it may sound cliche', the focus on breathing is a type of internal medication where our mind becomes more aware of our body's autonomic functions.  The fact is, we all feel a little better when we consciously think about how we are breathing for a few minutes - and there actually is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to breathe (just ask my wife)....


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I have had the benefit of meeting and speaker with many Connected Warriors.  I have observed that once an individual begins to find that pause in their brain, they come back over and over to learn "what-to-do-now" skills.  As we each become a little more tuned in to the signs that our body is getting hijacked by traumatic memories, we start to break up that cycle and take control using simple techniques.

As I speak with my Veteran colleagues about what we are learning, I am not surprised that we all jump to problem solving now that we have learned how to intercept those unwanted automatic reactions.  We were fully prepared for the chaos of battle - we noted our heart rates going up and it was good; we kept our breath in control; we managing our trembling bodies with our brains, but now we need to learn how to be just as prepared in peace.

From a Connected Warrior:

My name is Randy Hamlin.  I served in the Marine Corps MARSOC , Combat wounded with tours in Viet Nam.  After years of isolation, distrust, anger and depression, I was introduced to Yoga through the Connected Warriors Yoga and Meditation programs.  This was life changing for me.  The practice of yoga brought me back to community and learning to connect the breath with the movements changed my mind body connections.  I'm able to relax, feel more calmness, sleep better and have clear focus. In 2013, I became a certified yoga teacher, teaching Veterans and sharing my experiences...

Randy Hamlin:

Remember that PTSD is frequently hidden - no one shares symptoms.  While our miltary Veterans may have experienced extreme trauma, the impact of a deployment on a family and friends can be equally devastating.  We all experience post traumatic stress and we have some ability to take control over the impact it has on our lives.

If you would like to learn more or participate in Connected Warriors, visit www.connectedwarriors.org.

 

About the Author:

large (2).pngJeffrey Weaver is the Practice Leader for Large Public Venues at ArubaJeffrey Weaver is the Practice Leader for Large Public Venues at Aruba.

He leads a cross-functional team of engineers that develop high density WiFi engineering best practices for large public venues like stadiums and arenas. The team provides sales and deployment expertise to field system engineers and selected partners in support of customers designing complex wireless networks that include wired and wireless networking and data center solutions. They also work with colleagues from around the world, designing and implementing high density solutions for whole building networks in arenas, stadiums, theme parks.

Jeff is an avid outdoorsman – master diver, spear fisherman, sport fisherman and hunter.

Stay connected to Jeff via LinkedIn and if interested in exploring careers at Aruba, and HPE company click here

 

Susan Graye
About the Author

sgraye

Talent Acquisition and Attraction

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