By Amy Guckeen Tolson, USAG Redstone June 9, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Team Redstone wants you to be Army strong.
Soldiers and civilians alike gathered for In-Processing Resilience Training May 28-29 at the Community Welcome Center. The 16-hour course was the first of what is to become a regular offering on post, held the last Wednesday and Thursday of each month, to build the resilience of the workforce and their families.
"Resilience is on the forefront of the Army's agenda right now," said Tiz Arnold, a master resilience trainer from Fort Knox, Kentucky, who conducted the training. "The word is out there everywhere, it's a big focus, and the reason really comes back to the more resilient our Soldiers are, the more effective they're going to be at their jobs. The more resilient our family members are, the more effective our Soldiers are going to be at their jobs. If we can build Army resilience, we're going to have more effective Soldiers, civilians and spouses. We're all going to be able to function better, to cope better, to do our jobs better. It all comes back to that."
While the training was designed with green suiters in mind -- Soldiers are required to complete 16 hours of resiliency training when transitioning to a new duty station -- the lessons to be learned through the training can apply to anyone's life, civilian or military, which is why civilians and military alike are invited to attend in the coming months. Over the course of the two days, participants learn about how to build their resiliency through videos, lectures, group exercises and their own personal reflections.
"A lot of people have this misconception that you're born with resilience or you're not born with resilience, when in fact we can all develop our resilience and we can work at it every single day," Arnold said.
Competencies that build resilience covered in the training include: self-awareness, self-regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection. Within the competencies, participants are taught skills to build those competencies, such as "hunt the good stuff," which helps build optimism. Human nature tends to lead individuals to focus on the bad things that happen in life; hunting the good stuff turns that thinking around.
"To build optimism we have to deliberately go out and hunt for what is good, to counteract that negativity bias," Arnold said. "There's good stuff out there every day, we have to spot it, name it and think about it in order to counteract that negativity bias."
Arnold cited optimism as the "cornerstone of resilience" -- without it, even with the other competencies, it's hard for an individual to be resilient. With optimism, studies have shown individuals on average live nine years longer, are healthier, better leaders and better performers, Arnold said.
"Now optimism sometimes gets a bad rap. Sometimes people think, 'Oh optimism -- rainbows, unicorns, flowers,'" Arnold said. "That's not quite what we mean. We mean optimism wed to reality. We have to remain realistic. We have to see problems otherwise we're not going to be accurate in how we're seeing the world, but at the same time we have to know there's hope. We have to stay focused on what we can control in situations, what we can actually do to change our circumstances."
Anyone can register for the training. To do so, visit www.garrison.redstone.army.mil and click on Support and Services, One Stop, Resiliency Readiness Training. Registration is available on a first come, first serve basis, with Soldiers receiving top priority.
After attending the training herself, Terri Stover, with Garrison Public Affairs, recommended everyone make an effort to attend.
"This was one of the best training courses I've taken in a long time," Stover said. "I learned some new skills that will help me in my work life and family life, like assertive communication. This was the first half of the training, the first seven of 14 skills. I really hope Redstone will bring us the second half in the coming months. Almost every skill kept coming back to relationships, making them stronger and more supportive; this is something we all need at work and home. I would love to see this as a mandatory class, with refresher courses for all government employees."