While everyone experiences stress from time to time, military members are at an increased risk of getting stressed because they have to deal with many challenges, including deployment and frequent moves. In the military, life can sometimes seem overwhelming.
Stress can manifest itself in many ways if you are military personnel. It can manifest in social, physical, and mental symptoms. Some of these symptoms include increased appetite, loss of appetite, depression, headaches, sleeplessness, oversleeping, and exhaustion. Yet, if you are a serviceman, you have to do your duty to serve the nation whether or not you are stressed.
Dealing with Stress in the Military
If military personnel fail to deal with stress as soon as possible, the consequences can be catastrophic. When stress is left unchecked, it impairs one’s reasoning and can easily make you dangerous to yourself and others. If there is no limit to the damage that stress can make a civilian do, what of the military. We are talking about highly trained individuals who are armed almost all the time. Therefore, it is advisable that the military know how to identify stress and its triggers so that they deal with it.
Stress management is the ability of military personnel to maintain control when people, events, or situations threaten to spin their life out of control. And as anyone who has ever served in the military will tell you, military personnel are almost always exposed to stressful situations.
Luckily, there are numerous strategies that one can use to reduce the effects that stress causes and minimize the impact of stress in your daily life. Here are some of them:
- Acknowledge how you feel
It is okay to feel bad. You see, stress happens to everyone, even the most positive and carefree person there is. In the military, stress is almost inevitable. While the military is very good at dealing with life-threatening situations instantly, sometimes things happen on the battlefield, and soldiers have a hard time coming to terms with reality.
The first step in dealing with stress is accepting how you feel and giving yourself permission to feel the way you do. It could be as bad as losing colleagues on the battlefield or mistakes on the part of your team that put innocent people in danger. However, you can deal with the stress if you are still in denial.
- Take Control
Once you accept the situation for what it is, you should now try to see if there is something that you can do to change or at least control the situation. Most times, there is not much you can do about the situation, but you can do everything about how you react to the situation.
A soldier may feel weak because of blaming himself for what took place. But the event is already past, and it is not much you can do to change the outcome. You should try to forgive yourself and think of what you will do differently in the future.
- Be positive
A soldier should learn to give himself positive affirmatives. Tell yourself that you are going to be fine despite the stress rather than thinking about how horrible everything looks.
Maybe it is important to note here that you can ‘use’ stress to your advantage. However, for stress to be beneficial, it must be short-term and not too severe. Instead of letting stress cripple your life for something that cannot be undone, find something you can do to make things better. And there is much good that you can do in the military. Focus on that and not the stress.
- Practice kindness
The truth is that being kind is the last thing you feel like doing when you are stressed. However, performing small acts of kindness magically improves your mood. The military is always offering a helping hand to civilians from time to time. This is a good opportunity to get out there and do good instead of spending the day stressing over that issue again.
While acts of kindness are meant to help improve the well-being of the people receiving them, it has been proven that they are also helpful for those who are performing them. There is something magical about the beautiful smiles that the military receives when performing acts of kindness.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on living in the present moment. It entails paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and the surrounding environment. When you practice mindfulness, you are not worried about future or past events.
You will find that most times, military personnel are stressed about some past or future event. A soldier may be worried about an upcoming deployment or even stressed by some tragic event they were part of. If you keep thinking about it, the stress will only get worse.
- Seek help
Military personnel should seek professional help if stress is becoming a perennial problem. In the military, you can get help immediately after the occurrence of something awful. When it comes to seeking help, the best thing to do is get a counselor with experience handling the mental health of military personnel.
However, it is a good idea to first share your problem with the people you trust. You definitely have military colleagues. These are the best people to share your issues with because they will understand what you are going through.
Bad moods and stress are a normal part of everyday life. If you are in the military, this can be worse and more often. However, you should not let stress take over your life—the duties of the military demand sober-mindedness. You should use these strategies to fight off stress and get relief from negative emotions.
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