Commentary

June 21, 2013

Combating stress

Lt. Col. Paul Tombarge
Peterson AFB, Colo.

Stress. The Oxford dictionary defines stress as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
We’ve all experienced it; some more than others. With the continuing budget shortfalls, uncertainty of sequestration furloughs, a pending compliance inspection and the upcoming summer move cycle, many of us are feeling much more stress than usual. The key is how we deal with that stress.

Bev Klug, director of Mindfulness-Based Programs at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, notes that there are two distinct types of stress – chronic and acute. Acute stress is temporary and can often be motivating, such as nearing a deadline. Chronic stress continues to build and can lead to long-term problems. We all have different thresholds for stress, but there are a few tools we can all use to help prevent chronic stress from taking effect.

First, realize that whatever you might be going through is probably temporary and you are probably not the only one experiencing it. Although it may not seem like it at the time, whatever challenge you are facing will eventually pass and if you share what you’re going through with a friend or co-worker, you’ll likely find you’re not alone.

Second, strive to have a positive attitude. Don’t dwell on a problem or event that happened in the past. Instead, try to learn from the event and move on in a positive direction. The Air Force’s Comprehensive Airmen Fitness program identifies “The 5 Cs of positive behavior” – care, commit, connect, communicate and celebrate. The 5 Cs essentially take the idea of a positive attitude and apply it to our daily lives. Care for our wingmen by showing respect and support, commit to excellence in all we do, connect with others, communicate in a positive way, and celebrate positive results and accomplishments. A good attitude really is contagious.

Third, if your objective seems out of reach, set smaller, more attainable, interim goals that will lead you to that overall objective. Doing so will make the path less overwhelming and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Several years ago, I completed an Ironman distance triathlon: a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. A 140.6 mile physical challenge can seem overwhelming to anyone, but if you focus on one challenge at a time and strive to reach the next checkpoint along the way, the path seems more achievable and you will eventually reach the finish line, as did I.

Fourth, focus on maintaining balance across your pillars of resiliency. The Air Force’s CAF philosophy identifies these as physical, social, mental and spiritual but I prefer to think of them as work, family, mind, body and spirit. Being mentally and physically fit will help you combat stress. Just as importantly, you need to balance work and family. However you define your individual pillars of resiliency, if they fall out of balance, stress will build up over time. Unless you refocus your priorities, the building will collapse.

Periods of mental or emotional strain are inevitable. Use the tools at your disposal to prevent chronic stress. Prepare yourself by being mentally and physically fit, maintain a positive attitude, realize the current situation is only temporary, and focus on achievable goals. If you do, you will reach the finish line and be stronger for doing so.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Chris Higgins

412th Test Wing 1st Quarter Award Winners

Air Force photograph by Chris Higgins Brig. Gen. Carl E. Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, watches Jeanette White, 412th Civil Engineering Group, absolutely smash a foam baseball into the audience after accepting her 30-year...
 
 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

North Gate safety alert SAFETY ALERT! Due to mechanical issues with the North Gate, there have been large metal plates installed over gaps in the roadway while repair operations are being scheduled. Drivers should exercise caution and reduce speeds in these areas. In inclement weather and blowing dust, the plates may become slippery and vehicles,...
 
 
MG-appointments

Don’t be a no show

The 412th Medical Group is dedicated to meeting the health care needs of you and your family by providing access to its services and the best possible medical care. No shows are a costly problem for the 412th MDG and the patie...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Brad White

Team Edwards hosts Military Retiree Appreciation Day

Air Force photograph by Brad White Approximately 400 military retirees, their families and surviving spouses were in attendance during the 2015 Military Retiree Appreciation Day event held at the Oasis Community Center and 27 i...
 
 

Education Center Open House May 27

The Edwards AFB Education Center will be hosting an Open House†that will be open to all military and their family members, and civilians working on Edwards 11 a.m.-1 p.m., May 27. The Education and Training†Center is located on 140 Methusa Ave., Bldg. 2453. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the Ed Center staff...
 
 

Excellence in Aviation Award banquet set for June 13

The Flight Test Historical Foundation will hold the 5th annual Excellence in Aviation Awards banquet June 13. This year’s honorees are the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing from March Air Reserve Base. The wing operates the remotely piloted MQ-1 Predator aircraft built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. For the first time in the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>