Leaning into Resilience

As a Soldier in the U.S Army, I was called upon to deploy to combat areas to defend freedom and our way of life. There was always a chance that I would not return home alive. The hardship of being away from my family and the fear or being injured or worse required me to use resilience skills to maintain my emotional and physical wellbeing. Without resilience skills I could have fallen into unhealthy or maladaptive behaviors to cope with the obstacles in my life at that time. With limited options for leisure and recreation I had to find what worked best for me.

Resilience is a skill that is needed to overcome obstacles or hardships in your life. What’s important to know about resilience is that it is not something you're born with but rather something that you develop over time. People who intentionally use resilience skills can cope and manage their emotions and behavior better than those who don’t have a plan. Resilience is one of the key components to overcome trauma and sources of stress. Resilience is the mental strength needed to bounce back from anything that happens in your life.

People might think that their resilience skills are nonexistent but the truth is that they are just out of practice. Everyone has the capacity to look at situations in a different way but must know how to apply the most applicable resilience skill to that situation. Having and using resilience skills can help with becoming overwhelmed by situations that would normally require minimal emotional attention.

To ensure that I was mentally and physically tough while in a combat zone I had to practice self-care everyday. Having a wide range self-care menu allowed me to take care of all my needs. Physically I would go to the gym, run or walk to and from work. Mentally I would call home, read or practice breathing techniques. The energy I put out or allowed to affect me had to be both positive and productive. Last, I was aware that my safety and social needs were met. The use of these resilience skills got me through multiple hazardous deployments.

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