Sheila Heard on How Life After the Military Affects Mental Health

Shelia Heard Shares How Life After the Military Affects Mental and Emotional Health

Mental and emotional health is vital for success in every area of life despite the circumstances. Mental health deals with how well the mind processes and understands information and experiences. Emotional health deals with the ability to manage and express what one learns and experiences. Both are vital for happiness.

However, some soldiers do not prepare for life after service; for them, the golden years are compromised. Others may retire but fail to be of age and must find another means of support. Others retire before time because of the care loved ones need.

Everyone must deal appropriately with life’s challenges. When people develop a system that creates positive daily habits, they become better equipped to deal with:
• Emotional problems
• Stress and problems with family and work
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Grief or loss
• A major change in life

My own experience of life after the military is an example. I retired to come home and care for a daughter with a debilitating illness and a son diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Needless to say, finances plummeted quickly.

It is difficult finding a job in the civilian world with credentials and experience. I started my own business. When one retires, things become limited or not available at all. However, with determination (definitely mental and emotional health), survival is possible; but it comes with continuous struggle.

I am fortunate that I developed a positive mindset to shift when necessary, and move forward. Gracefully, the will to survive carried over to my children.

Military personnel are notorious for physical strength; however, mental and emotional health require the same vigorous attention. How does one become physically strong? The answer is practice, practice, practice. The same is true with mental and emotional health. You have to nurture your thoughts, actions, and attitude with proper work daily.

What will the nurturing do for you?

Focusing on mental and emotional health allows the ability to confront an issue, make an informed decision, and take appropriate action daily. You must develop a system that is conducive for you, write it and implement it daily. Over time, it will become effortless because it becomes part of your process.

What is the result?

The result is lifelong happiness. There are no adverse side effects if you follow the process that works for you. What works for you may not work for someone else. The process is unique for you. The catch is that only you can determine your process. Some proven techniques that help are meditation, affirmations, and adequate sleep.

The process is simple but complicated. On the other hand, this is much-needed awareness to help soldiers find the wholeness that benefits every area of life. Self-awareness enhances the experience with practical action. The problem should correct itself if one embraces the tool to self-direct and live the life one desires. And you do not have to do it alone.

Sheila Heard is a retired Army veteran and coach for CAL-Coaching And Life, LLC. She overcame a neurological illness, leaving her blind and with no use of her arms and legs, and she overcame other painful circumstances. She believes pain is unavoidable, but suffering is a choice. She chooses happiness and living life on her own terms.