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Mindfulness in the military: Improving mental fitness in the UK Armed Forces using next generation team mindfulness training

Carter, A. and Tobias Mortlock, J. M. (2019). Mindfulness in the military: Improving mental fitness in the UK Armed Forces using next generation team mindfulness training. Brighton, UK: Institute of Employment Studies.

Abstract

Individual mindfulness meditation is only one of several means to enhance mindfulness throughout the Armed Forces. Due to its self-help connotations, meditation by itself may be perceived as less universally appealing in the military, where dedication, service, and self-sacrifice are important values. Therefore, we recommend that the military should consider mindfulness as a ‘team activity’, training teams to systematically anticipate and respond unitedly to stressful situations by learning to be ‘mindful as a team’. This means fostering a team culture in which every team member is encouraged to consistently notice the needs and reactions of others especially in the face of stress, and creating collaborative solutions to all aspects of demanding challenges, intellectual as well as emotional. This helps teams to become collectively responsible for consistent performance under pressure, leave no individual alone in their battle with their own thoughts and feelings when stressed, and thus benefit from every team members’ full capacity to face complex threats collectively. In addition, we recommend that only formally trained psychotherapeutic counsellors should deliver individual-focused mindfulness meditation initiatives. Prolonged periods of quiet contemplation (eg. sitting in silence for 20 minutes or longer), common in ‘traditional’, individual-focused mindfulness meditation programmes such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) may unearth latent trauma in unexpected ways, and military populations could be particularly vulnerable in this regard.

Publication Type: Report
Publisher Keywords: Mindfulness; Resilience; Military
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
U Military Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22198
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