We hear a lot these days about stress and when we do, the conversation often focuses on avoiding it or managing it. What if that isn’t actually useful?

Stress has a purpose. Stress is opportunity.

To respond well to stress requires optimizing the functionality of your brain’s frontal cortex. This area of our brain houses something called our working memory capacity, which helps us with both emotional regulation (being able to think and not just react) and upper level cognition (focus). We can improve that capacity with the use of some well-studied, relatively simple exercises.

If preparation in the form of resilience-building practices had been part of my personal toolkit, I would have navigated the transition from military to civilian a bit more gracefully!

My Related Research – Applications for the Military: A new approach to mental health intervention and suicide prevention in military-connected personnel is required, one that speaks to the participatory, hardworking ethos of military culture. While clinical health services exist for service members with existing mental health conditions like posttraumatic stress, they are not stemming the rising tide of service suicides. Social work and health promotion professionals working to prevent and treat mental health problems like depression and stress injuries must understand the confluence of warrior culture and mental health issues in the veteran community. While the research literature does not yet address this confluence issue directly, programs exist that provide guidance, and a mindfulness-based training protocol may provide the answer. The purpose of this review is to provide programming recommendations based on a review of successful exemplars in treatment settings, the limited evaluation of best practices currently available when working with this priority population in prevention settings, and a cultural analysis of the military veteran community.