We all face adversity in our lives. Tribulations take many shapes and tend to rear their ugly head when we least expect them. No community knows this better than uniformed service members. Both in their personal lives and in the discharge of their duties, they are taught to expect the unexpected, and that that “success” is not always measured by outcome, but rather by their strength and fortitude in the face of adversity. This ethos benefits not only our servicemembers but can and should be adopted by everyone to lead a life with less fear and anxiety. The ability to face difficulty; to adapt and overcome is resiliency, and by following the lessons our servicemembers have been taught, anyone may become more resilient.
There are countless resiliency theories such as the “7 C’s” or the “5 Factor Model” all of which gravitate toward the common principle that resiliency is strengthened by focusing on fundamental aspects of our personal health. In the United States Air Force, for instance, Airmen are taught that by reinforcing “Four Pillars,” we balance what we can control in our lives, thus making us more effective at dealing with pressure and emerging conditions under adversity and uncertainty. Below are those pillars:
The ability to effectively cope with mental stressors and challenges. Pay attention to your needs and feelings. Our thoughts control our energy.
The ability to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors. Work out regularly and continually monitor physical health. Recognize the connection between mind and body: strong bodies help build strong minds.
The ability to network. Build and value interpersonal relationships and social networks. Social connections with others widen perceptions and grow character. For me personally, at the beginning of every year, I choose 3-4 new hobbies to try. Whether signing up to get my HAM radio license, cooking classes focused on Asian cuisine, or planning an overland trip through Maine, I’ve found that pushing myself out of my comfort zone has built a connection with others I may have never even met had I just stayed home. Some of these people have become my closest friends. The experiences have taught me so much more than just how to operate a radio or cook bibimbap, they built confidence, strength, and social fulfillment.
The ability to adhere to beliefs, principles, or values needed to persevere and prevail in accomplishing missions.
Resiliency is about balance. As we strengthen the facets of our life we can control, we are more capable of tackling the unknown. When we are physically and mentally fit, socially, and spiritually connected, and in-tune with our values and principles, we have the confidence and strength to get up when we are knocked down. This, of course takes time to learn and build, but as our servicemembers know, there is no better time then the present to start.
By Chris M., CVN Communications Manager
(Vet) SSgt, U.S. Air Force