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Julia Shepherd Tang has been teaching health and wellness practices for over 15 years to college students, at-risk youth, recovering addicts, the general public and now veterans. In 2016, she joined Project Welcome Home Troops to help improve the quality of life for returning veterans and their families.

Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S.

When soldiers return home from war, they can face a disequilibrium upon entering day to day life. They can miss the sense of purpose and camaraderie from their mission, and have a difficult time turning off the hyper-vigilance that was necessary for combat situations. While hyper-vigilance can save a life on the battlefield, the same continued adrenal gland activity can put damaging chronic stress on the system.  Soldiers are trained for months how to behave once deployed, but they are not given the same education on how to reintegrate back into daily life- how to turn off their hyper-alertness, how to feel calm in a crowd, how to turn off their anxiety.

Veterans may suffer terribly from moral injuries, different from post traumatic syndrome. Moral injuries are unseen psychological wounds which can arise from participating in acts of war. Serious inner conflict can arise when military personnel commits or see acts of combat that go against their moral beliefs. Veterans can return home and experience a profound sense of shame, guilt, and remorse that can leave them in continued mental anguish, depressed, or suicidal.

The cornerstone of Project Welcome Home Troops course is the SKY Practice, a set of empirically validated breathing techniques that bring deep mental and physical relaxation which research suggests can reduce symptoms of anxiety, anger, insomnia and depression.  Medically, the breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and lowers cortisol and increases serotonin.  Socially, participants regain a sense of belonging, mission and purpose. Workshops are free for veterans and their families.

Travis Leanna a Marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom said, “This workshop has done more than I ever could have imagined…I have opened the door to my emotions. I am happy to say that I can feel happiness as well as sadness, and both are great. I have been given a new life, and I feel empowered to share my new self with everyone.Thank you for giving me a life worth living.”

Julia also teaches the SKY technique at Stanford University and to the general public.  She lives in Burlingame with her husband, two girls and a well-fed beagle named Suki.

If you know a veteran or active service member who would like participate in Project Welcome Home Troops, email jtang73@gmail.com  or go to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org. Julia Shepherd Tang and Project Welcome Home Troops ~ You INSPIRE Us!

Julia Shepherd Tang, Using Meditation to Help Veterans

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