CSF program builds strength
October 21, 2011
"Think strong. Live strong," Comprehensive Soldier Fitness-Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program specialists hoped participants walked away from their workshop with this mentality after their training session Monday.
CSF-PREP is designed to help enhance a person's mental and emotional skills to optimize strength and resilience.
"Every performance begins with the way you think," said Melissa Schreibstein, CSF-PREP performance enhancement specialist.
Belvoir's program aids the Warriors in Transition Battalion as well as staff and caregivers around post.
CSF-PREP trains members of WTB every other Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The staff and caregiver course is every quarter. Program specialists also accept one-one-one counseling.
The room was filled with people with jobs such as a chaplain, physical therapist and psychiatrist, during Monday's workshop designed for staffers and caregivers.
CSF-PREP Specialists Evan Sanderson, Holly Roselle and Schreibstein led participants through six discussion-based lessons teaching techniques to effectively control the mind and emotions.
Sanderson told attendees that stress is actually necessary for people to reach their peak performance level.
The butterflies, increased heart rate, sweating and loss of appetite people feel before a task all help by making them more alert, focused and intent on accomplishing an objective.
"Your body is just prepping yourself for the task," said Sanderson adding that the body takes precautions to make sure it's not wasting energy during performance.
Too much or too little stress will hurt performance. The key is finding a balance between calmness and anxiety.
Handling stress properly is also important with injuries. In a healing situation, reducing stress can help speed up recovery.
Roselle used sport figures Lou Holtz and Michael Jordan as examples of the importance of establishing goals and performing the daily work to accomplish them.
Roselle told participants that goals are very important because they can be used as motivation to work harder.
"We're helping others but we also have to help ourselves," said Chaplain (Navy Lt. Cmdr.) Robert Mercado, Department of Pastoral Care staff chaplain.
Mercado also said programs such as CSF-PREP allows Families and Soldiers to calmly decrease any negative energy left in the mind after combat.
As a chaplain, Mercado constantly works with people who are in need of mental and emotional support. Strengthening his mind allows him to better serve those people and himself.
"Its healing in such a way that we ... can reintegrate into our environment," said Mercado. "This reinforced everything I've done over the last several years."
The workshop was the first CSF-PREP first offered to staff and caregivers at Belvoir. Roselle said the program was transferred during the summer from the Walter Reed Medical Center as part of BRAC.
The program, which is used throughout the Army, is designed to supplement Soldiers' physical training.
Belvoir's program works specifically to help Warriors in Transition heal faster and prepare for continued service or civilian life.
The specialists offer the quarterly program to teach staffers and caregivers, who may potentially work with Soldiers, how to strengthen themselves and those whom they assist.
Schreibstein showed the attendees research indicating the average person says more than 50,000 words to themselves per day. She said these thoughts can be controlled to help maximize performance.
The instructors said the key is constant training.
Tactical breathing is one of the training exercises the specialists discussed. Through 20 minutes of practicing calm and deliberate breathing per day, people can enhance their mental and physical well being.
The controlled breathing tells the body it needs to be in a state of calm.
This helps improve skills such as precision, memory and poise. It can also help in healing because the calmness reduces stress.
Another exercise the specialists discussed was the use of mental imagery as a preparation tool.
Imagining how a task should happen before you do it helps improve effectiveness during the actual performance.
"We're constantly day dreaming, so why not put some purpose behind it?" Sanderson asked the participants.
"It's definitely a course that can be used not only based wide, but also nation wide,' said Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Johnathan Youmans, Department of Pastoral Care, religious program specialist.
He said the imagery was an important section for him as he regularly uses the skill. The counseling he received during workshop will help strengthen his abilities.