United States

Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country


Have you ever noticed a soldier’s ability to remain calm in a stressful situation? No matter how many times a leader of a unit is put in a stressful situation, they never seem to waver from their laser focus on how to complete a mission safely and the ability to change course at any moment.

Did you know that soldiers in the U.S. military are now being trained to practice mindfulness to enhance their performance and recovery from high stress situations? Yes, you read that right. Mindfulness helps soldiers regulate their stress and their reaction to stressful situations. This allows them to be at their very best when things are on the line. By integrating mindfulness techniques into military training, soldiers have increased their cognitive resilience resulting in reduced stress levels, greater reactivity and enhanced recovery.

The U.S. military bases its training on work done by mindfulness expert Jon Kabat Zinn, who defines mindfulness as, “the awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” This moment-to-moment awareness means purposefully paying attention to things we ordinarily put on autopilot.

To be in the moment requires us to pay attention to one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations like heart rate and rapid breathing. To help you stay in the moment, Doug Lennick of think2perform recommends trying the four R’s—recognize, reflect, reframe, respond. Recognize how you are physically and emotionally reacting to the circumstance; these factors are half of the battle you are facing. Reflect on the circumstance and how you are reacting to it. Are you emoting to an action or thinking clearly based on facts? Reframe your response to be fact based, then respond to the situation with an understanding of the circumstance.

As our minds continue to be pulled in a million different directions with concerns for our families’ wellbeing, work, the economy and much more, it is imperative that we learn to focus our thoughts. It is not possible for our minds to process all of this information at once.

On behalf of our VALOR employee network group and our 11,000+ people nationwide, I’d like to encourage you to join us in using moment-to-moment awareness to strengthen your cognitive resilience by practicing mindful meditation. Take a good seat, pay attention to your breath and when your attention wanders, return it to your breath. If you are a beginner, this guided meditation video can help you get started. As long as you’re becoming aware of your thoughts throughout the exercise and letting them pass without judgement, you’re doing it right.

And today, on Memorial Day, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember those military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice by protecting our freedom. A few ways you can honor them while social distancing include:

  • Displaying the U.S. flag and/or a stately striped wreath
  • Participating in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Buddy Poppy Program by purchasing or making paper flowers
  • Watching the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
  • Sending a card or care package to a military member

Today, we’re honoring those who gave it all for our country.  

Ed Stober
Director, Wealth Management and National VALOR Employee Network Group Leader




VALOR focuses on recruitment, community service, leadership development and business development of our military service members.