Learning to combat stress like a Navy Seal

As most of you can attest, caring for a loved one can be one of the most stressful situations. Add that to an already hectic work schedule, taking kids to soccer practice and the everyday affairs of life and one can tend to feel as if they are on overload; stressed to the MAX.

I recently came across an interesting article on Navy Seals and how they deal with stress. Did you know that you can teach your brain how to be prepared for stressful situations? We should take a lesson from them.

Navy SEALS are not allowed a bad day at work, and they certainly can’t let stress degrade their performance.

It’s all in a day’s work

Stress reduction, or brain resiliency, can be learned, and you don’t have to be a member of an elite fighting force to do it, according to medical researchers who spoke at at a recent Harvard Medical School symposium on “Resiliency and Learning: Implications for Teaching Medical Students and Residents.”

George Everly, an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has studied Navy SEALs and other groups that work under high stress. He said that people most likely to have developed an immunity to stress have a social support network, are optimistic, are persevering with a stout work ethic and value responsibility and integrity.

Resilience can be taught, said Everly, by incorporating a few steps. The most attributing is putting together a support system (support group).

The Resilient Psyche 

In the wake of war, natural disasters and severe abuse, 15 to 20 percent of those affected suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. By focusing on the rest, including Navy SEALs and other stress-hardy groups, Everly has identified distinct attributes. The best predictor of immunity to stress, he said, is a social support network. Optimism (including faith in a higher cause or power), perseverance (determining to make it through whatever), and responsibility and integrity.

As for why some people sink instead of swim, Everly emphasized two factors:

  1. A lack of perspective—stemming from inadequate preparation and tenacity
  2. A negative attitude.

Resilience can be taught, here’s how. First, let people experience success: Assign them to a successful group. Second, create a surveillance system and safety net, and provide encouragement, mentoring and training. Finally, mitigate the impact of stress by promoting “self-efficacy”—the belief that we are agents of change.

Read a deeper account of the conference on the Harvard Medical School Focus website.



About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
This entry was posted in caregiving and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Learning to combat stress like a Navy Seal

  1. Patty says:

    Hi! Are you using WordPress for your site platform? I am a little green when it comes to the blogging scene but I am trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s