ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Do you feel like you could use a mental break? Have counterproductive thoughts ever gotten in the way of you focusing on the current task at hand?

The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, or ATEC, Ready and Resilient, or R2, Campaign program offered a unique way to help steer your mind away from those negative thoughts by playing mental games during a resiliency training session on building mental resilience with brain games at ATEC Apr. 19.

Throughout each year, ATEC delivers resiliency training sessions to the workforce that teach coping skills and behaviors appropriate for taking on life challenges. Typically, sessions have been taught in a classroom environment by way of PowerPoint lectures.

To break up the monotony of delivering the same lectures, ATEC recently began changing this delivery style by bringing the sessions outside the classroom environment to make them more interactive.

"We are increasing resilience skills by building more on the five dimensions of strength; emotional, social, spiritual, family and physical," said ATEC's Ready and Resilient Program Manager Diana Reeves. "We are using techniques of active learning (games, role playing, and more) and taking the monthly resilience training outside of the confines of the classroom into the open atrium of the ATEC building. Our goal is to create a more exciting and fun training while ensuring that we are aligned with the objectives and goals of the Comprehensive Soldier & Family Fitness program."

Capt. Bryan Rogomentick, one of the training participants, shared his thoughts on ATEC's new direction with the resiliency training.

"It's refreshing," Rogomentick said. "It's good to see that the instructors are trying to reach out, be creative, innovative and try something different."

During the session on building mental resilience, the facilitators set up five stations; each having a different mental game. Participants were separated into two groups that would rotate between stations.

The mental games included the following:
• Alphabet Game -- work your way through the alphabet naming famous people by using your last name.
• Military Phonetic Alphabet -- repeat the military phonetic alphabet backwards within a specific time limit.
• Warrior Ethos -- unscramble the Warrior Ethos by filling in the blank and placing each sentence in the correct order.
• Math Game -- count backwards from 1,000 by sevens.
• Categories Game -- name all the regular Army bases in the U.S.

In between each rotation, participants practiced an energy management technique by doing deliberate breathing exercises led by one of the facilitators. Energy management is designed to regulate a person's energy levels.

"Energy management regulates your physical state, thinking, and emotions so you can perform tasks at an optimal level", said Reeves. "With deliberate breathing, you're using energy more efficiently and you're able to control your mind, emotions and your body."

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 http://readyandresilient.army.mil/index.html.