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The Most Stressful Job in America – Being in the Military

combat stress

By Debbie Gregory.

Stress. It’s a big part of our daily lives, and much of it derives from the kind of work we do. Some jobs, naturally, involve more stress than others for obvious reasons, including the potential for physical harm.

As recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, performing on the battlefield is grueling work that can lead to life-altering injuries and often times, death. So it’s little wonder that being a member of one of the armed services is one of the most stressful jobs there is.

Soldiers are trained to fight. Basic training is a process designed to develop skills which will keep a combatant alive and fighting long after he or she might have given up under more normal circumstances.

But when military service ends, there is no basic “untraining.”

From meeting the physical demands of working in special operations and infantry to armor and field artillery, many troops face psychological problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A further complication for military personnel is the difficulty many face in transitioning back to civilian life. Besides transferring their skills to the civilian job market once their service is completed, servicemembers often lose the focus of the mission, the camaraderie, the support and the structure provided by the military.

While PTSD has become a much-discussed affliction, transition stress, a seemingly more prevalent problem, is going largely overlooked.

Firefighters, airline pilots and police officers, ranked second, third and fourth respectively, also face a lot of stress in their occupations, but they are also much better compensated than those who serve.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Exercise Benefits for Those With PTSD

exercise benefits

By Debbie Gregory.

We’ve all heard about the many benefits that are derived from physical exercise; controlling weight, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of some cancers, reducing the risk for high blood pressure, and strengthening your bones and muscles.

But now, new research has revealed that exercise can help patients with anxiety disorders reduce their symptoms.

Experiencing a traumatic event often results in an acute stress response, and the lingering memory may lead to mental and physical changes. This is often diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Studies have shown that stress (such as PTSD) can cause changes in chemical factors in the brain that affect health. Low-to-moderate intensity exercise can elevate mood, reduce anxiety, and act as an overall stress-buffer. Exercise, particularly mind-body and low-intensity aerobic exercise, has been shown to have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression and PTSD.

But just telling someone with PTSD to exercise, and feel better is not the answer. Since poor motivation and fatigue can be common symptoms of depression and/or PTSD, asking people who are experiencing PTSD to exercise can be challenging. Additionally, their symptoms can vary from day to day and may be triggered by seemingly innocuous situations, such as loud noises or crowds.

If you have PTSD, it may be a good idea to talk with a doctor about starting an exercise program. If you are currently working with a mental health provider, it may also be important to let them know that you are interested in starting an exercise program. Exercise can be an excellent form of behavioral activation, and your exercise goals may be able to be incorporated into the work that you are already doing with your therapist.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.