Teaching Veterans Virtually

Using an animated character in a 3D virtual website known as Second Life may provide mindfulness and stress reduction for veterans returning from recent conflicts. 

A conference held at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society on March 31, 2011, presented a project called “Of Avatars and Virtual Yoga: MBSR for Veterans in Second Life, A Pilot Project”. 

The program intends to knock down barriers of distance, disability, anxiety and culture between veterans worldwide. Second Life is part of a larger project known as Coming Home. This research project teaches American veterans in a private and safe atmosphere on the World Wide Web. It provides a network that helps connect veterans, allowing them to practice mindfulness together and meet people with similar experiences to their own. The personal nature of virtual worlds helps reach people who may not have had previous access to mindful practices.

According to the site, Coming Home creates “a place of camaraderie and healing for returning United States military veterans—a virtual space that can help them deal with problems related to their time of service and also assist in their reintegration into society.”

Mindfulness-Based-Stress-Reduction practices are becoming common training tactics within militaries around the world.