Resilience Helps Sailors, Families With Hard Times

Air department sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Air department sailors aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.

MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Navy leadership has implemented the Operational Stress Control (OSC) program to help Sailors and their families recognize and navigate stress, said Navy officials, June 18.

According to Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Navy Behavioral Health, the Navy's goal is to help individuals identify stressors and develop the skills and tools to be resilient and handle the curveballs life may throw.

Deployment work-ups, a sick child, four-section duty, marital trouble can all cause stress levels to rise. Stress is a fact of life but resiliency helps make stress manageable.

"Stress is normal and can help you excel and succeed, but there is a point when stress may impact your ability to meet life's challenges," said Scott.

OSC defines resilience as the capacity to withstand, recover, grow, and adapt in the face of stressors and changing demands.

Scott discussed four skills that can help Sailors and their families improve resilience.

- Maintain your body for its unique optimal performance. Balanced and nutritious meals with moderate portions help fuel the body. Getting enough sleep is critical to physical and emotional well being. Regular exercise helps you physically and improves your mood.

- Develop positive relationships. Nurturing at least one trusted friendship can help individuals achieve personal and professional success.

"A friend can provide support, influence personal growth and provide a source of strength during difficult times," said Scott.

- Manage your finances - Don't let them manage you.

"Financial strain is a top stressor. It can cause personality changes in an individual and has been linked to depression which can impact duty performance and interpersonal relationships," said Scott. Fleet and Family Support Centers, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and command financial specialists can help Sailors examine their finances and develop a budget.

- Consider spiritual wellness. "Talking with a mentor, trusted advisor or chaplain can be a great outlet for stress reduction and resiliency.

When stress becomes overbearing to your well-being, ask for assistance.

"Asking for help is a sign of strength and a commitment to yourself to perform at your optimal level," said Scott. "Friends, families and co-workers can be your support network, but there may be times when someone with more experience, knowledge and skill is better suited to provide the help you need."

The OSC Continuum can help individuals determine what level of support is needed. The continuum is a color-coded guide for Sailors and leaders to measure their stress as it relates to one of four color-coded zones: green is ready, yellow is reacting, orange is injured and red is ill.

"The green zone is where we want to be but the green zone is not stress free," said Scott. "It means you have the skills and the tools you need to really be able to manage what life is throwing at you. Learning from life lessons makes you stronger and more resilient - and that is our goal."

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