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    Resiliency to Counter Political Anxiety



    Story by Amy Phillips 

    Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office

    You thought relief was in sight now that the endless barrage of commercials by presidential candidates ceased. You thought the stress from the highly-charged election would subside now that a new president is chosen. Think again.

    Regardless of political preference, income-level or ethnic background, many are still experiencing stress and anxiety, and all the associated effects that come with change and uncertainty.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand” and it affects everyone. Psychology Today says, “Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium.”

    Like many things in life, stress can be good or bad. Stress motivates some to perform at their peak level. Stress may also lead others to depression or negative behaviors, like drug or alcohol abuse. “Stress can even be life-saving in some situations. In response to danger, your body prepares to face a threat or flee to safety.” (NIMH)

    People have different levels of tolerance and ways to cope. While some turn to yoga or gardening, others turn to over-eating or drugs and alcohol. There is no one solution to stress but resiliency is the key to combat emotional turmoil and staying healthy. Without good health, your ability to handle stress is minimized and can lead to increased anxiety.

    Stress is part of life and a normal human reaction, however, learning to manage it in a healthy and productive manner is critical to your well-being. “You may not be able to control the stressors in your world, but you can alter your reaction to them.” (Psychology Today)

    “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress - such as Family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences.” – American Psychological Association.

    The Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign (R2C) and Performance Triad Program are excellent sources to maintaining a Physical, Psychological, Social, and Spiritual well-being. These standards apply to Soldiers, Army Civilians and their Families because it takes all three groups to be a Strong Total Force. Everyone has a responsibility to be the best they can be and support each other.

    The R2C provides a collection of “comprehensive and far-reaching programs” designed to create “a holistic, collaborative and coherent enterprise to increase individual and unit readiness and resilience.” These programs include the Army Community Services (ACS) which offers training and counseling in areas such as Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Financial Readiness. ACS also manages the Army Emergency Relief Fund which can help those needing a little financial assistance.

    R2C also encompasses the Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (FMWR) morale boosting events such as the popular Asian Pacific Heritage Luau, Oktoberfest and trips to local attractions. They also offer many physical fitness activities such as the High Intensity Interval Training and recreational tournaments.

    The Performance Triad advocates a balance of quality sleep, engagement in physical activity and a healthy diet. Healthy nutrition provides energy, helps manage weight, and reduces your risk of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

    Turn it Off. Turn off the TV and social media – you don’t need to hear the divisive debates or the biased analysis. Do not engage in political discussions if you know your stress and emotions will increase.

    Take Control - Take Action. Take control before stress controls you. Don’t waste energy worrying, rather channel it to something productive like joining a group that share your concerns. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and be healthy. Pick up a new hobby, like ham radio (see story on page 12). Whatever you do, don’t react before you know the facts.

    Seek facts. It’s good to stay informed but don’t believe everything you hear or read – research credible and unbiased sources for the facts. Keep in mind that the media are trained and paid to present information that causes reactions and emotions. Rumor mongers spread information to gain popularity, seek control or just want to cause discourse - don’t be fooled. The Internet contains facts and misinformation so chose your sources carefully and fact check before you take a potentially irreparable or adverse action. is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” is “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.” (FHL is not endorsing either of these sources but merely providing information on potential resources.)

    Seek Support. It’s OK to seek help. “Stress is a natural part of God's design to remind ourselves to reevaluate our priorities,” said the garrison chaplain, Chaplain Gregory Long (Col.). The FHL Religious Support Office has a team of compassionate professionals to support you. You don’t have to be religious to reach out to them – they are available to anyone seeking support or simply someone to talk to. What you discuss with them is confidential. They can be reach 24/7 at 925-719-3075.

    There are many 24-hour help lines that provide confidential help:
    • Military Crisis Line
    800-273-TALK (8255), Press 1
    • National Suicide Prevention
    Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Military One Source

    Help others. Helping others is a good way to give back and boost your own happiness and self-worth. Volunteer at charities and non-profits organizations such food banks, public libraries, the Veterans Transition Center in Monterey, and FHL’s Heritage Center.

    Like pets better than people? Consider volunteering at a pet shelter or the Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC) in San Luis Obispo. The PWC treated and cared for a bald eagle that was injured at FHL several years ago, and released it back to FHL in December 2016 (see the December issue of the Golden Guidon: There’s also the Redwings Horse Rescue & Sanctuary in Lockwood.

    If not addressed, stress can be harmful to your health and well-being. It can lead to health issues such as sleep disorders, auto-immune issues and digestive problems. It can also lead to other problems such as drug and alcohol dependencies. If you have trouble managing stress, please seek help. Reach out to Family and friends, co-workers, support groups, or medical professionals.



    Date Taken: 04.03.2017
    Date Posted: 04.07.2017 14:27
    Story ID: 229587

    Web Views: 81
    Downloads: 0