Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Friday, March 01, 2013

Spiritual Resiliency: Finding that special something

by Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/1/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Part 4 of 4

That special something that you call upon to pull you through the darkest of hours and most trying of times; that special something is what's called our spiritual resilience.

Often times, people believe that spiritual resiliency is based solely on religion, but in all actuality, one's ability to be spiritually resilient is achieved through a multitude of different focuses.

"Spiritual outlets usually focus on one's personal beliefs, values, relationships and or religious faith" noted Ivera Harris, Air Mobility Command's community support program manager. "For some it may mean activities that reinforce a sense of purpose, meaning and connection like volunteerism, community involvement, appreciation of nature, meditation and prayer."

Understanding what strengthens you deep within is quintessential in developing your resilience and can be simply accomplished by asking yourself, "What motivates, enlightens, and gives my life meaning?"

"Our Airmen and their families find strengths in different areas," commented Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. "I encourage them to find that place, whatever works for them, because at any moment each of us requires the individual pillars of wellness to move us through life's challenges."

Whatever your spiritual focuses are, understanding them and making sure that they are priorities, can be what gets you through those difficult times that drain you mentally, emotionally and physically, leaving you feeling defeated.

"When push comes to shove and I feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I turn to God and my family," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Ford, a sortie support technician with the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. "Knowing that I have unconditional love and support from both is inspiring; they soothe my mind and calm my nerves."

One's spirituality is deeply embedded and gives a heart-warming sensation, a feeling of fulfillment. Each and everyone needs to understand its importance and embrace its powers so that it can better their life.

Even if you know exactly what motivates, enlightens and inspires you, that is only a part of the foundation; maintenance and upkeep are the bricks and mortar that must coincide.

"By regularly growing your spiritual resiliency, you become more aware of the subtle aspects happening in the world around you" commented Capt. Christy S. Cruz, a licensed clinical social worker and Family Advocacy officer at MacDill AFB, Fla. "Taking time for self-reflection and connecting with your spirit regularly, will keep you in tune with your own needs, in touch with what really matters, and will help motivate you."

Care and conservation of one's spirituality has been proven time and time again to strengthen a person's ability to cope with stressors and hard times. Building on relationships, behaviors, beliefs and faiths all help solidify one's mental, physical, social and spiritual wellness.

As is the case with each of the pillars of wellness, establishing relationships with resiliency experts and the many services available to you is extremely important. Friendly advice from a chaplain, mental health provider, physical trainer, dietitian, or a staff member at the Airman and Family Readiness Center is always available. Remember, no matter what the issue, big or small, they will get you steered in the right direction.

As Dr. Robert M. Sherfield, author of Your Values and Spirituality, so eloquently put it, "There is a spiritual language that we all share - a smile, a human touch, the shedding of a tear, an embrace, a silent prayer of the heart. These are basic needs that transcend."

Find what matters most to you and use it as your special something.

Information in this article was referenced from U.S. Air Force resiliency program material and in Dr. Robert M. Sherfield's Your Values and Spirituality.

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