By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsMarch 8, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Everyone deals with stress at some point, whether it is the death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, serious illness or other traumatic event.
Being able to adapt to difficult situations requires resilience, the ability to "bounce back" or recover during or after difficult experiences.
For the first time, Army Community Service is offering free classroom resilience training to all members of the Aberdeen Proving Ground community. Master Resilience Trainer Dee Ford said the goal is to develop well-balanced, healthy, self-confident Soldiers, Family members and DA civilians.
Ford said developing coping skills is especially relevant for military Families living in this era of high operational tempo and back-to-back deployments. According to Harvard Business Review
statistics, the Army has witnessed steady increases in divorce, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide over the last 10 years.
In response, the Army has put more focus on combating the effects of these stressors. In 2009 the Army began Comprehensive Soldier Fitness training, a program based on 30-plus years of scientific study and results. CSF training builds resilience and enhances performance in the five crucial dimensions: physical, emotional, social, Family and spiritual. ACS's classroom resiliency training is offered Army-wide and falls under the CSF program.
CSF uses the World Health Organization's definition of health, "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being" and not merely the absence of disease.
"The Army has recognized the sacrifices our Family members make on a daily basis," Ford said. "The training modules are designed to provide them with the thinking and coping strategies
to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Our Army is strong, in part, because of the support our Soldiers receive from their Families."
She said the trainings are interactive, helping participants share their individual struggles and coping strategies. Ford said even though the ACS Resilience Training is primarily targeted to Family members, the sessions are open to the entire APG community because "the end state of CSF is a fit, resilient and ready Army comprised of individuals with "Strong minds and Strong Bodies."
Wendy LaRoche, APG Community Health Promotion Officer, finds the training helpful because learning to cope with life's daily pressures can improve an individual's physical health. She said headaches, backaches, insomnia and loss of productivity can be symptoms of stress.
"I like that this training takes a proactive rather than a reactive approach to stressful situations. Reactive people jump to conclusions and automatically think negative thoughts," LaRoche said.
"Proactive people think about how they can improve their situation. This training teaches you to 'hunt for the good stuff', which means focusing on what is positive in others and themselves.
"It also teaches you how to bounce back from adversity, how to speak up, how to not be so defensive when others talk to you," she said. "It gives you practical skills you can use in your everyday life."
The next Resilience Training will take place March 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at APG North's main post chapel, Bldg. 2485. Training is held on the last two Wednesdays of the month through
July 25. For information or to reserve a seat, call 410-278-2180/7572.