By Lindsey Monger
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland – The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command’s Master Resiliency Trainers discussed two new skills during their monthly resiliency training, May 28, at the Aberdeen Proving Ground North Recreation Center.
The Army defines Resiliency training as one of the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program (CSF2) efforts designed to build resilience and enhance performance of the Army Family. The training provides self-development tools to help cope with adversity, perform better in stressful situations, and to thrive in life.
ATEC’s Command Chaplain Assistant, Sgt. 1st Class Edward Neroes, led the first half of training and introduced the resiliency skill ‘Put it in Perspective.’
According to CSF2, this skill concentrates on ending catastrophic thinking, reducing anxiety, and improving problem-solving by identifying the worst, best, and most likely outcomes of a situation.
“The goal of putting things in perspective is to help lower anxiety so that we can accurately assess the situation and then deal with it,” Neroes said. “In some situations, we seem to catastrophize, which is something we need to avoid because it prevents us from taking purposeful action.”
Neroes pointed out some triggers of catastrophic thinking such as being faced with ambiguous situations; when something valued is at stake; doing something for the first time; fearing a situation; and being run down or depleted.
Neroes explained five steps one should take when dealing with catastrophic thoughts:
- Step 1: Describe the activating event
- Step 2: Capture worst case thoughts
- Step 3: Generate best case thoughts
- Step 4: Identify most likely outcomes
- Step 5: Develop a plan for dealing with most likely outcomes
The class members partnered to develop a plan for dealing with the most likely outcomes when there was a time the individuals were having catastrophic thoughts.
Staff Sgt. Cornelius Tharrington, S-1 non-commissioned officer in charge at ATEC, followed Neroes’ session and introduced the skillset ‘Mental Games.’ The CSF2 program describes the skill as the way to change the focus from counterproductive thinking to enable greater concentration and focus on the task at hand.
Tharrington explained how engaging your attention in fun and challenging games or techniques will help distract you from counterproductive thinking.
“Games such as math, alphabet and categories games, Army alphabet, lyrics and positive imagery are all great examples of how to divert your attention from counterproductive thinking,” Tharrington said.
“This is a temporary fix, when your thoughts are distracting you from an immediate goal or task,” Tharrington added.
ATEC hosts resiliency training every month, each focused on a different topic and skill set. Master Sgt. Linwood Parker, ATEC operations NCO, will lead next month’s training focused on ‘Real Time Resilience’ scheduled for 9 a.m., June 11, at the APG North (Aberdeen) Recreation Center.
Although resiliency training is mandatory for military personnel, civilians are highly encouraged to attend, said Diana Reeves, civilian lead for ATEC’s Ready and Resilient program.
“I made this decision to become a resiliency trainer to not only learn ways to help overcome change and setbacks for myself, but for others too,” said Reeves who has been attending the training since its inception at ATEC. “I want to teach others around me how to rise above tough times and still keep going [move forward].”