Social Fitness – Building Healthy Social Ties

“Social fitness” involves building and maintaining healthy connections with others. It plays an important role in supporting optimal performance and resilience. A warrior who is socially fit grows trusted and valued relationships with family, friends and fellow service members. Having a clear understanding of service values, the mission and its meaning is key in supporting healthy social networks. A socially fit warrior is able to engage in effective and respectful communication with others.

Building Resilience as an Individual Augmentee

Deploying with a unit or component that is not your own — known as serving as an individual augmentee (IA) — offers exciting opportunities to gain new experiences and work with different teams. While IAs bring unique expertise and knowledge that greatly supports the overall unit, their deployment also presents unique challenges. This article outlines tips for IAs to build resilience before, during and after deployment.

Boosting Family Resilience

Just as service members can build resilience, families can also take steps to boost their resilience or “family fitness.” Family fitness is every military family’s ability to use physical, psychological, social and spiritual resources to prepare for, adapt to and grow from military lifestyle demands. By helping family members feel more secure and connected in daily life, families can build resilience to cope with common military stressors like deployment, permanent change of station, combat injury and operational stress. This resilience also helps protect the psychological health of children who may struggle with change, fears or missing a parent. What’s more, the more fit military families are, the better able they are to support their service member.

Building Resilience to Cope With Difficult Situations

Coming home from a deployment is an exciting time for you and your family. You probably looked forward to reuniting with loved ones, seeing long-lost friends and getting back into the swing of things at home while you were gone. But as you are settling back into your routine, you may find that certain situations are more challenging to cope with than others. You can put yourself in a better position to manage these situations by understanding the ways post-deployment stress affects your ability to respond to everyday life. By learning about the symptoms of post-deployment stress and taking steps to alleviate them, you can put yourself in a better position to experience the joys and manage the stresses of life back home.

Strong Leadership Aids Warrior Resilience

The power of leaders to influence the motivation and performance of their warriors is a proven and accepted part of military culture. In fact, research conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research stresses the importance of leadership in influencing the resilience and performance of the warriors in their units.

How Veterans Can Aid Resilience by Writing

Reintegrating into civilian life after serving in the military can be challenging for many veterans. Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do on your own to support the reintegration process, one of which is writing in a journal. Putting your frustrations, worries and concerns down on paper can help you relieve stress you may be dealing with as a result of difficult situations or your transition into civilian life.

Building Resilience for Military Health Professionals

Many of our warriors depend on behavioral health professionals to help them cope with stressors that occur during their military service. Treating and supporting these brave men and women can be extremely satisfying, and most individuals who choose this line of work find it to be very rewarding.

Build Resilience to Maximize Mission Readiness

The ability to adapt to adversity and overcome barriers is critical to a warrior’s strength. This skill—resilience—can characterize both physical and psychological strength. But while every warrior is trained how to develop physical resilience, it’s also critical to learn how to develop psychological resilience.

Caring for Yourself While Helping Support Your Service Member

Military deployments are emotionally and physically demanding. The experiences of living in high-stress combat environments can continue to affect service members as they return home. They may have trouble adjusting to living in a comfortable, relaxed and loving environment. Additionally, you may notice your service member feeling and acting differently then they did before they left. These feelings may not be temporary and might not disappear the moment they return home. Your service member may need your support to help him or her adjust to living and feeling at home again.


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