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Developing Resilience in the Squad

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    Resilience is a mental game; a test of a Soldier’s ability to cope with the stress of life. There will always be a rock in the road to block the way. Just think of it as a stepping stone to your future; a way of growing. In short, resilience is all about being tough. It is extremely important, especially as a Soldier, to be able to bounce back and recover when things get hard.

    This individual ability will, in turn, reflect the tenacity, or resilience of each Squad. No matter how much stress a Squad will go through, whether it be mental or physical, it should be conquered with an equal amount of mental endurance, self-confidence, and positivity. These things cannot be obtained except through training that utilizes teamwork, fitness, and optimism.

    Teamwork plays one of the most important roles in building Squad resilience. Teams are built off of dependence for one another, and a mutual experience under stress. According to ATP 6-22.6 CH 1, 1-4 “Teamwork is built on mutual trust and commitment to the team. ”

    Soldiers working together during hard times support each other and help to build that mental endurance. A team cannot possibly hope to thrive without working together to do so. Part of the work is in building strong foundations of trust and respect within the Squad. Starting Squads with something small like trust and respect goes a long way in providing group resilience.

    It is good to have that moral support from fellow Squad members. When you know each Solder in the Squad has your back, you will work harder. You will push yourself more. You will conquer obstacles. Of course, In order to support others, Soldiers need to build some resilience within themselves. The best way to build themselves up is through fitness.

    Fitness is, in my opinion, on the top of the list: it builds self-confidence, and physical endurance makes Soldiers more likely to “bounce back from adversity” (army.mil). It helps to be able to endure those hardships while also increasing your performance through these tough situations. Exercise in itself can reduce stress and train Soldiers to focus more on breathing. There is an article called “Building Resilience Part III” that states, “moderate and regular exercise decreases cortisol levels (a stress hormone)” (Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D.).

    When each individual in a Squad is in good physical condition, his job becomes easier: He is stealthier, less stressed, stronger. He is able to endure physical pressures. This physical tenacity of individuals only contributes to the whole, making our Squads readier and more resilient. An important part of fitness is being able to have a positive outlook. This can translate to many benefits when improving oneself. The best outcome is when Soldiers can find that silver lining and that is why optimism is so important.

    Optimism is looking for the bright side of things; the silver lining. It is about having hope. Helen Keller said “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ”

    Having hope helps Squad members to better cope with bad situations. When in a difficult situation or under a lot of stress, looking for a bright side or the best outcome will help to boost morale and move towards accomplishing the Mission. Instead of having a bad attitude and saying something can’t be done, we should instead see how it can be done. Looking for the good instead of the bad change’s life drastically.

    If each Soldier and each Squad focused on optimism, there would be endless options. We would always see opportunity in failures and stepping stones where others see a dead end. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. ” Overall, we can create better, more resilient Squads and increase the odds of successfully completing the Mission when we change our thinking and use optimism.

    In the Military, it is important to be strong. We have the responsibility to protect our nation. Resilience is essential in order to serve our country well. We need to be tough and we need to be able to recover quickly in times of hardship. Resilience requires us to work well together as a team. It requires us to train hard and be physically fit as individuals. It requires us to incorporate optimism into our routines in order to thrive. Using all of these components of resilience as a foundation can only lead to better, stronger, more ready and resilient Soldiers for our nation.

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