Practices such as meditation and yoga may not seem like they fit in with the rigorous training of the Marine Corps, but some officials are working to include the techniques to make soldiers more mindful of their surroundings. The initiative is making its way through pilot studies and could soon be part of training for all Marines, according to The Associated Press.
The push to include mindfulness training – a concept focused around active attention and staying in the moment – comes from the belief that brain calming techniques could improve the performance of soldiers. Officials also hope the practice could reduce the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental strains on troops who have spent time in combat zones.
“Some people might say these are Eastern-based religious practices but this goes way beyond that,” Jeffery Bearor, the executive deputy of the Marine Corps training and education command, told the news provider. “This is not tied to any religious practice. This is about mental preparation to better handle stress.”
The focus on the mental component of military service comes as the number of suicides has been on the rise. In 2012, the number of military suicides rose to a record 349.