As our PT date is closing in on us, we notice we are feeling some anxiety about taking the test. We are having to use more positive self talk, such as: You can do this; Others have started out weak but got stronger and passed the test; You are progressing, be patient.
At the same time, however, we’ve also observed an increase in negative self talk: OMG, you are going to flunk; What were you thinking signing up for a PT test and blogging about it?; You are going to make a fool out of yourself; This is a dumb idea; You are going to embarrass yourself and your colleagues; Everyone is going to laugh at you.
We've had to help each other with these thoughts and spend some time using more realistic statements to combat the negative ones. Ok, if you fail, you tried, it's not the end of the world and you did get in better shape than when you started. Learn, adapt and try again. As the old saying goes... “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.”
While we know there is a possibility we might not pass, we do know we will survive if we fail the PT test. We will survive that failure, that day, that week, and the flack we may have to endure for awhile following the test.
Mental Fitness maturity comes from facing our fears, our failures, and our mistakes followed by taking responsibility, finding solutions, gathering support and learning from the experience. Mistakes and failures are some of the best teachers, if you take time to learn from them. Tough situations create an opportunity to practice your coping skills and find out where you may need to add extra ones.
In sum, learning to be Army Fit is making us “walk the walk”, not just “talk the talk”. And, it is making us use our coping skills as we get closer to the test on March 23, 2015.
• Positive Self-Talk (Be encouraging, realistic, and patient with change and progress).
• Monitor Negative Self-Talk (Watch for words that make the situation worse than it really is; watch for words that are mean or cruel or words that deplete your desire to keep trying or to do better).
• Evaluate the situation outside of the anxiety/worry or fear of failure. (Talking to someone who is outside of the situation may help you see the situation more clearly).
• Learn and Adapt (Remind yourself that we all have challenges; they are part of our human experience and help us mature. You will make mistakes and have failures in life. Take responsibility for shortcomings, learn from mistakes, make amends if necessary, and move on....The Next Challenge is right around the corner).
Commentary by Courtney J. Lynch and Tracy K. Ward, Psychological Health Coordinators