Mantram maven-Dr. Jill Bormann teaches the Mantram Repetition Program at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. (Photo by Kevin Walsh)

Mantram maven-Dr. Jill Bormann teaches the Mantram Repetition Program at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. (Photo by Kevin Walsh)

A simple “portable” meditative technique boosted spiritual well-being and self-efficacy among Vietnam-era Veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder, reported researchers at the Society of Behavioral Medicine annual meeting in March. The technique has been previously shown to also lessen PTSD symptoms and increase quality-of-life ratings.
Jill Bormann, PhD, RN, reported that her team’s six-week Mantram Repetition Program resulted in improvements in “existential spiritual well-being” among the 146 Veterans who completed the program, conducted at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. The program also significantly improved Veterans’ scores on a measure of self-efficacy—how confident they felt in their ability to manage their PTSD symptoms.
A mantram, says Bormann, is a word or phrase that is spiritually meaningful to a person. The Veterans in the study were first taught to silently repeat a mantram during non-stressful times throughout the day and before falling asleep. They then learned how to use the mantram when facing stressful situations, such as traffic jams, flashbacks, arguments, or physical pain. The study also taught two related techniques: mentally slowing down, and doing only one thing at a time. Bormann said all three techniques work together to promote a sense of inner calm and wellness.
Bormann points out there are distinctions between “mantram” and the more familiar “mantra,” which is often used as an affirmation or motto. The mantram method is based on the work of Indian-born spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, and Bormann has adapted it over the past decade or so for Veterans and other groups…

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