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A culture of resiliency

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- A jerk may cut you off on the way home from work, a family member may suddenly pass away or a promotion may come your way - we all experience stress in life, both negative and positive, but how do you respond when it happens?

As a part of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, resiliency is critical to being able to respond after the bang as a stronger person, said Bill Guidera, Dyess-lead master resiliency trainer.

"It doesn't matter if you're an active-duty member or a dependent, stuff happens everywhere," Guidera said. "This isn't a program with a suspense date - we need to create a culture of resiliency with our Airmen and their families."

One of the reasons practicing resiliency works is because it's designed to not be reactionary.

"Our approach is to be preventive, not reacting after the event has already occurred," Guidera said. "We can provide real hands on tools one's self can embrace when faced with adversity."

According to Guidera, resiliency training was first created by the University of Pennsylvania and embraced by the Department of the Army, but now is quickly becoming part of Air Force culture. The 12 building blocks to developing resiliency are:

ATC - Identify your thoughts about an Activating event and the Consequences of those Thoughts.

Avoid Thinking Traps - Identify and correct counterproductive patterns in thinking through the use of critical questions.

Detect Icebergs - Identify deep beliefs and core values that fuel out-of-proportion emotion and evalutate the accuracy and usefulness of these beliefs.

Energy Management - Regulate emotion and energy levels to enable critical thinking and optimal performance.

Problem Solving - Accurately identify what caused the problem and identify solution strategies.

Put It in Perspective - Stop catastrophic thinking, reduce anxiety and improve problem solving by identifying the worst, best and most likely outcomes of a situation.

Real-time Resilience - Shut down counterproductive thinking to enable greater concentration and focus on the task at hand.

Identify Strengths in Self and Others - Identify strengths in yourself and in others to build on the best of yourself and the best of others.

Use Strengths in Challenges - Identify strengths in yourself and in others to improve teamwork and overcome challenges.

Assertive Communication - Communicate clearly and with respect, especially during a conflict or challenge. Use the IDEAL model to communicate in a confident, clear and controlled manner.

Active Constructive Responding and Praise - Respond to others with authentic, active and constructive interest to build strong relationships. Praise to build mastery and winning streaks.

Hunt the Good Stuff - Hunt the good stuff to counter the negativity bias, to create positive emotion and to notice and analyze what is good.

The intent in training these skills isn't necessarily to make an Airman a kinder, gentler person or have strong feelings about a situation.

"These skills don't mean you still won't get mad or have other feelings about an event," Guidera said. "This will not make you a softer person, but will make you stronger."
Understanding how to make thought out decisions is another key element in developing resiliency.

"Resiliency is an important program largely because it helps everyone make the right decisions, regardless of what they may be," said Master Sgt. Laura Bailleul, 7th Bomb Wing Resiliency Training Assistant. "Being able to understand your own limitations and how far you are able to be pushed is also key as some individuals may not be able to handle stress the way others do, so knowing the resiliency process will assist them in getting through the tough times, whether large or small."

Knowing personally that building resiliency actually works is a powerful message to bring to people when the person training resiliency can tell his own story.

"I have PTSD, nightmares and a fear of being in public places from my time in the service," Guidera said. "I am really passionate about this, because I have contemplated suicide before and I know everyone goes though stuff their own way.

"So when I see someone actually get it, I know there's now one more person who has a better chance to survive because of it," Guidera said.

Original content found here.
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