By Mrs. Courtney W Gilbert (ATEC)November 1, 2016
The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command's, or ATEC, Ready and Resilient, or R2, Campaign program taught a resiliency skill on energy management during a session at ATEC Oct 18.
The Army's R2 initiative is to develop physical, emotional, and mental resilience amongst Soldiers, Army Civilians, and their Families, and to increase their ability to manage all life circumstances. ATEC delivers training sessions to the workforce that teach coping skills and behaviors suitable for handling these life challenges.
The training objective focused on how to appropriately manage your energy level for the task-at-hand and how to optimize performance of the task.
According to Daniel Grifo, Master Resiliency Trainer and instructor for the session, energy management helps build self-regulation; impacts your ability to perform in your professional and personal life; and enables you to be in control of your physical, mental, and emotional state during stressful times.
Grifo went on to explain the concept of energy being activated either in the fight or flight state, or in the rest and digest state.
"Fight or flight is a physical state that occurs in response to any stressor, real or imagined, resulting in heightened physiological changes," said Grifo. "When your body gets ready for the fight or flight state, all the oxygen from your blood travels to the muscles giving you a boost of energy to deal with a stressor."
Grifo described the rest and digest state as the complementary response of fight or flight.
"Rest and digest is a physical state that occurs when the body is at rest and results in recovery and regeneration," said Grifo. "This state is designed to redirect our energy levels and put the body in a relaxed state. Unlike the fight or flight response, it doesn't need all that blood sent to the extremities."
According to Grifo, understanding the role of these two energy activation states helps you develop strategies to regulate them, and ultimately control your performance.
Grifo explained that Soldiers, Family members, and Civilians perform tasks in various ways professionally and personally. He presented scenarios of tasks that require high levels of energy and those that require low levels of energy.
"The less energy you have, the lower your performance level," said Grifo. "If you have too much energy, your performance is less, too. The idea is to reach an optimum energy level that will result in reaching your optimum performance level."
According to Grifo, once you've reached that level of optimum performance and optimum energy level, you have reached your individual zone of function, or IZOF. He explained how the deep breathing technique is one way to harness your energy to bring you to your IZOF.
Grifo stated that deliberate breathing causes the body to use energy more efficiently resulting in the body only using energy when it needs it. Grifo led the class through rhythmic deliberate breathing exercises.
The class concluded with a practical exercise activity where everyone listed their normal routine activities they do and the level of energy they put into those activities. Afterwards, participants noted whether or not they needed to increase or decrease their level of energy dedicated to their activities.
A Civilian employee provided her feedback on the content of the session.
"I thought the breathing techniques were good," said Maria Welsh, an ATEC budget analyst. "For me, the techniques help me to be calm when I'm upset."
A Soldier participant also shared his thoughts on how the content impacted him.
"As a high school football coach, I strive to teach my kids how to deal with adversity," said Captain Michael Lee, Company Commander, ATEC. "You have to be in the right frame of mind and try to project positive energy as you're dealing with that adversity."
The next resiliency session will be on character strengths and will be held at ATEC headquarters on Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.
For more information about ATEC's Ready and Resilient Campaign, visit http://www.atec.army.mil/r2c. To learn more about the Army's Ready and Resilient Campaign, visit https://www.army.mil/readyandresilient/.