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Psychological Fitness

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Psychological Fitness is the ability to integrate and improve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral practices. Staying mission-ready means having a healthy, high functioning mind, which connects to every domain of Total Force Fitness.

Mental health and mental toughness are not binary-options with an “on/off switch” – they exist on a spectrum, and you can train the mind and learn skills to improve. Psychological health takes practice and training. Just like any other part of your body, the more you exercise it, the stronger and more resilient it gets.

Emotions are part of psychological fitness. We all have them for a reason and suppressing them is not the answer. Find constructive ways to express feelings and cope with difficult emotions that otherwise could affect mission readiness.

Factors that May Affect Your Mental Health Wellness
Anger

Anger is a feeling that can range from mild irritation to intense annoyance to rage. It may be a natural response when possible harm is anticipated or when another person has done something wrong or harmful. 

Anxiety

Individuals living with anxiety live in a world of "what if?" It's often a world of hypervigilance and worst case scenarios.

Depression

Depression affects your body, actions, thoughts, and mood. Left untreated, depression can last for days, months, or years. Depression is more serious than just feeling sad. Depression affects all areas of life and ranges from mild mood swings to severe negative feelings that disrupt daily life.

Sexual Trauma

Sexual trauma is any sexual activity where someone is involved against his or her will -- may have been pressured into sexual activities, may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.

Sleep

Good sleep is vital to good health. Sleep helps people cope with stress, solve problems, and recover from illness or injury. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness, irritability, lack of concentration, memory and physical problems. 

Spirituality

Different factors can challenge individuals' long held beliefs. In the face of difficulty, many, often for the first time, will give serious consideration to spiritual concerns. Still others find their life experiences strengthen their belief system, whether it has a spiritual component or not.

Stress

Stress comes in two varieties: Good stress and bad stress. Life stress involves all mental burdens that affect an individual.

Work Work environments and requirements vary significantly. Praiseworthy skills in one occupation may be germane or likely counterproductive in another.

Signs of Distress

Some signs of distress could include:

  • Drinking more heavily than normal
  • Agitation or anger
  • Withdrawing from families and friends
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sadness or depression

Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but when faced with challenging life situations these things are often the first things that get neglected.

When psychological health is neglected and mental health concerns arise, it is natural to deny there's anything wrong. Sometimes the last person to recognize symptoms is the one who needs help, so it's important to recognize symptoms in friends, loved ones or oneself and to say something.

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After realizing she needed treatment, Air National Guard Capt. Casey Ross felt ashamed and thought she needed to hide it from her command and feared she would lose her flight status. Hear how Capt. Ross overcame the barriers and stigma around seeking care, and how her command and military family fully supported her decision to seek care.

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