Of Course My Glass Is Half Full...Look! By Dr Mike Colson
Here is a news flash that the clinical community just received – People who work in combat zones and other arduous environments are resilient. So, when the operator tells the doctor, family member, corporate executive, or whoever else will listen; “Hey, I am all right here”; they are more or less spot on.
For the past half a decade contractors, soldiers, career international workers and the host of other short and term overseas workers have had to run the “clinical care gauntlet” upon return to their homes after a deployment or extended work contract. The prodding is ever so soft but there nonetheless. Most react negatively. Which is probably the right reaction given two factors. The first is that resilient individuals “bounce back” from the type of challenges and experiences that would floor most people. Returnees learn this fact themselves when they tell the first “you wouldn't believe this” story around the dinner table and are surprised to see mouths agape in dead silence. What most of us encounter on a regular basis is far and away more than most can imagine. But for the resilient...all in a days work.
The second factor resides under the banner of stigma. The commentary might go something like this. “You think I'm crazy don't you?”, says the contractor to the doctor. “No, do you think you're crazy”, he responds. “No, but then again I am used to having doubts”, he offers. “But you have been in such difficult places. Shouldn't you be concerned about that?, asks the doctor who has lived in the same neighborhood for thirty five years. To which the contractor responds, “Doc, if I got a problem I can show you a lot of people I know who are worse.”
Stigma is what you get when you others try and tell you what it is like to be you.
Stigma is best examined in reverse. The issue is not strictly that you, me, or any operative overseas has the potential for some negative physical or emotional trauma...we know that. What we have a problem with is others telling us there is a problem after we have worked so hard to stay focused and competent in our work. It ignores our hard fought battle to achieve and produce at all costs.
So, let's explore the natural resiliency that produces those results. In most research resiliency is measured in seven key areas: health, emotion, finances, relationships, life choices, spirituality, and neurological (if someone previously sustained serious injury). Over the years baselines have been established for international contractors soldiers, and aid workers that take into account their natural ability to rise above challenges. A “ Resiliency Review” is a self-report that provides insight directly to the respondent on these seven key resiliency factors. Knowledge is power. Once an individual rates themselves in these seven areas, finding ways and means of protecting or enhancing his or her natural resiliency profile is a given.
The example I like to use is being resilient financially. Most of us work in combat zones because the money is good. So, if money is a prime motivator, am I meeting my own financial benchmarks while I gut it out, often alone, in far flung places worldwide? Resilient people bounce back but finances can get still cause a ton of heartache. A not uncommon issue that comes with significant wealth in contractor communities are major life decisions that can reduce that wealth dramatically. Sometimes it is a relationship decision, followed by a real estate deal, then some emotional changes, or possible a wholesale shift in how we want to live life. Are these related? Good question. Is it me making these changes or is this part of the a “resiliency surge” that is inexorably moving me along?
The key for resilient people is to have control over their own lives. That's where a self-generated and completely confidential resiliency review can be useful. It puts the contractor in the drivers seat with respect to personal hopes and goals on health, emotional health, finances, personal and professional relationships, and choices made and to make. It also can explore 'spirituality' in light of some of the banal and unflattering things witnessed overseas...providing a guide to a larger peace of mind. In a nutshell, it is a personal blueprint that helps the resilient individual march on. No one else reads it. No one else cares. But, the resilient person is able to use it as a means of structuring (controlling) the complicated factors that drive us to be who we are in the world.
The person who says life is simple ignores the complications of demanding and productive living. Simple living is by and large the path of least resistance. When was the last time you went down that path?
Resiliency is a given for those of you who work in arduous, challenging, and often dangerous environments. That you are specially able through your resilient nature to succeed is a fact. That we can all benefit from learning how to “stay ahead” of things before we have to “bounce back” from them is something we know already.
In an effort to provide a platform for resilient individuals to be able to identify and interpret their own resiliency, MCA Services will be launching “The Combat Zone Resiliency Review” for its client group. Login or send for an invitation at vettrauma.org.
Read More: www.articlesbase.com/.../bouncing-back-8-tips-for-becoming-more-resilient-1069862.html