“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius wrote that in his personal journal sometime around the latter half of the first century. Those writings were solely for him to improve himself, but centuries later we know them as, among other titles, Meditations.
A core tenant of what Aurelius created is called “stoicism,” but that meaning has been sort of corrupted in the recent century. It doesn’t mean feeling nothing instead it demands self-awareness and self-examination, core ideas of stress management.
Lowrell Bellard has been working at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Wellness Center since 2016 and offers regular courses on Stress Management.
“One lesson I wish people would learn,” Bellard said, “Especially with work related stress is to not take it home. I know it easier said than done, but when you leave the office, everything should be left there. Too often I have people come in with work related stress that then gets taken home and they now have conflict in the household. Home should be your safe space.”
While there are differences between military and civilian work environments, Bellard says they have something in common: People.
“I don’t think there are many differences in military office vs. civilian.” she said. “There may be different types of stressors, but in the end it is still work related stress. Everyone has a job and be it from your supervisor or commander or from your coworker or battle-buddy, it affects us the same way.”
Bellard was invited to Program Executive Office Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors to teach a class a month ago to ensure employees of Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) first knew about the resource and second knew to schedule training.
“I learned about the repercussions of not addressing stress, which can lead to overeating, sleeplessness, irritability and decreased performance,” said Trina Taliaferro, who works for PEO IEW&S’ Human Resources. “In the training the instructor showed us some simple breathing exercises that we can do throughout the day when we feel those stress triggers. She also told us about apps that we can put on our mobile devices to manage stress.”
“I would definitely recommend this training,” said Taliaferro. “We all deal with some sort of stress and it can’t hurt to have some tools on how to manage. We also learned about the various resources that the APG Army Wellness Center offers to Civilians and Military.”
“Army Wellness Center offers all of our services to Active Duty, Dependents, Retirees & Spouses and DoD Civilians,” said Bellard. “We are not therapists, but will help you with stress reduction techniques to assist you in those stressful situations you may find yourself in. We also have a massage chair that once you completed the four sessions, you are more than welcome to enjoy for a few minutes throughout the day.”