Be Present with Mindfulness Practice - PTSD Monthly Update, October 2021

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PTSD Monthly Update - News Relevant to the Issues of Trauma and PTSD

October 2021


Man sitting and looking at a river - Mindfulness Coach Mobile App

Be Present with Mindfulness Practice

Have you ever taken a drive and not remembered getting from one place to the next, or taken a walk in the park and realized you didn’t notice nature? Sometimes this happens because we are caught up in our minds, thinking about the past or the future. In other words, we get carried away by thinking and lose contact with what is happening in the here and now.

Thinking about the past and future can be useful, but it’s also important to connect to what is happening in the moment. You can do this by paying attention to the present. This is called mindfulness.

Mindfulness – or using your five senses to pay attention to what you experience in the here and now – can help you become aware of the present moment. Practicing mindfulness has many psychological, emotional and physical health benefits.

If you have PTSD, mindfulness can also help with symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.

How can mindfulness help with trauma?

Mindfulness can help you cope with difficult emotions, especially after experiencing trauma. When you’re focused on the present moment, you can observe your thoughts and feelings for what they are – thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness will help you experience these thoughts and feelings without attachment, to simply let them go without judging them.

Some of the most effective PTSD treatments, like Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure, involve writing or talking about your trauma. Mindfulness can help you handle your feelings during these treatments and cope in healthy ways.

How to practice mindfulness

Practice mindfulness daily even if it’s for only a short period. You can start by focusing on your breathing, by simply noticing the rise and fall of your breath. If you have PTSD, you might start by focusing on sensations other than your breath. For instance, you can practice by focusing on your hearing or tasting, turning your attention to sound or the experience of eating.

Starting with a focus on these senses can be helpful. This will allow you to practice noticing without judging. Then, when you are ready to practice observing and watching your emotions and thoughts, you will have a foundation for not reacting to them.

Using the Mindfulness Coach Mobile App

Mindfulness Coach can help you learn more about the practice of mindfulness.  The mobile app includes:

  • Mindfulness exercises to practice on your own or with guidance
  • Strategies to help overcome challenges to mindfulness practice
  • Log of mindfulness exercises to track your progress
  • Reminders to support your mindfulness practice

Get the Mindfulness Coach AppA free mobile app available on iOS and Android.

Find out more about mindfulness... 

For Providers


PTSD Consultation Program

Treating Veterans with PTSD? We can help.

Any healthcare provider treating Veterans can ask our expert clinicians a question.  Meet our consultants and get started.

PTSD Monthly Lecture Series

November 17, 2021 at 2pm ET - PTSD and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Stephanie Sacks, PhD

  • Mark your calendar for the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 2pm ET
  • Subscribe to monthly emails to find out how to join live lectures.
  • Registration is required to receive free continuing education credit for attending the live lecture.

Resources of the Month

Download our educational flyers, handouts, brochures and other print materials to help educate patients and family members about PTSD. 

Options include pocket cards for outreach, in depth booklets for clients and family members, handouts to use during treatment, and posters for your office or waiting area.  Many of these resources are also available in Spanish.  

Print copies of most of our resources can be ordered at no charge from the US Government Printing Office.  You can order in bulk for your practice or encourage patients and family members to order single copies for themselves.

Research at the Center

A Phase-II Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Self-Guided Exposure App for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: The Role of Coaching Support

Delivering PTSD interventions via mobile health applications is an innovative way to increase the reach, but engagement with and completion of such programs is notoriously low. Renew is a newly developed mobile app that encourages users to select a support person(s) to promote engagement.

PTSD in the News

Study finds some veterans experience distress related to past trauma exposure as they near end of life

Anica Pless Kaiser, PhD, clinical research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System talks with Boston University School of Medicine about her study published in Progress in Palliative Care.   Read More*

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Thank you,

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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