Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands. It’s a skill that can be learned and sharpened with practice. Building flexible strength is a hallmark of resilience and necessary for recovering peak performance after stressful events.
Service members face unique stressors, which, without the flexibility to recover and adjust, may challenge their fitness for duty and ability to manage home and family life post-deployment. Here are 10 tips experts at Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury shared that if practiced may help service members better adapt and manage stressful situations:
- Communicate regularly and effectively. Express what you think, feel or believe in a way that will help you solve problems and receive the outcome you desire.
- Maintain positive and personal connections. When you’re challenged or stressed, sometimes it’s easier to respond successfully with the support of family and friends.
- Avoid seeing a crisis as unconquerable. Even if you can’t change a stressful situation, you can change your reaction to it.
- Be accepting of change. Accepting the things you cannot change allows you to focus on the things you do have control over.
- Move toward your goals. Focus on goals you can achieve in the near future instead of focusing solely on distant goals.
- Take positive, decisive actions. Don’t view problems as permanent. Explore actions you can take that will give you more control over a situation.
- Look for opportunities for self-discovery. We can often learn valuable life lessons as a result of a traumatic event.
- Nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop confidence in your ability to solve problems and learn to trust your instincts.
- Keep things in perspective. Focus on the broader context and keep a long-term outlook.
- Look to a hopeful future. Visualize what you want your life to be, rather than fearful of what it could be.
Becoming resilient doesn’t happen overnight. But with practice, these tips can help you take positive steps toward improving your ability to handle and overcome life’s challenges.
If you’re curious to find out how well you currently use resilience skills to cope with stress, take this self-assessment from AfterDeployment and get additional feedback on how you can strengthen your resilience.