FORT EUSTIS, VA. – The Holistic Health and Fitness initiative, launched by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Center for Initial Military Training, focuses on a new approach to training for soldiers. H2F follows five areas of readiness: mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and sleep.

The areas of mental, sleep, and spiritual readiness are highly interdependent as they are non-physical areas that affect the ability to think in ways that optimize performance.

Mental readiness area

According to Field Manual 7-22, the official H2F document, mental readiness also depends on a soldier’s character, behavior, resilience, cognitive abilities and social sharpness. Character and behavior are developed during the joining process and continue throughout the soldier’s career. Resilience, or the ability to face and deal with adversity, is a key component of soldier and unit readiness. A strong mental resilience enables the leaders and their units to carry difficult missions to the end.

Social acuteness, or awareness of interacting with others, enables Soldiers to interact effectively with others by taking into account other people’s social cues and emotions. According to FM 7-22, three criteria for social sharpness are the cohesion of tasks, the identification of the army and social cohesion. This is the motivation to build and maintain strong social relationships within your own unit.

It is important that leaders set the standard for mental resilience and lead by example. Lt. Col. Shannon Merkle, USACIMT H2F representative, said a great way for leaders to help their unit build mental resilience and social sharpness is to speak openly about these issues and emphasize their importance.

“For the component of mental resilience, a manager can give examples of their life when they had problems and had to deal with adversity, adapt and grow from setbacks. This vulnerability can show the strength of executives, ”explains Merkle. “Executives can build social acuity by spending time with their soldiers and through empathetic, assertive, and honest communication.”

Sleep readiness domain

To build up mental resilience, a healthy, rested mind is required, which, according to Merkle, can be achieved through adequate sleep for seven to eight hours every 24 hours. The goal of the sleep readiness domain is to ensure that the soldier’s brain and body are adequately recovering from any mental and physical stresses they have been through in order to keep them as alert and prepared as possible.

“Sleep is crucial for tissue repair and hormone synthesis in order to maintain maximum performance in both the physical and non-physical areas of life,” explains Merkle. “The effects of inadequate sleep on brain function and performance are well documented and include decreased focus, impaired judgment, slowed reaction time, decreased coping with stress, and an increased risk of physical injury.”

Area of ​​mental readiness

FM 7-22 defines spiritual readiness as “the ability to endure and overcome times of stress, hardship and tragedy by making sense of life experiences”. This meaning arises from the soldier’s spiritual dimension, which is influenced by his or her core beliefs, values, motivation and identity. The area of ​​spiritual readiness is inclusive and applies to both religious and non-religious people, regardless of origin, philosophy or religion.

Lt. Col. Paul Fritts, chaplain of command at USACIMT, explained the domain of spiritual readiness through a quote from General George C. Marshall: “The soldier’s heart, soldier’s spirit, and soldier’s soul are everything. If the soldier’s soul does not support him, you cannot rely on him and in the end you will abandon yourself and your commander and your country. “

The difficulties soldiers face are extremely dangerous, and Fritts explains that in order for a soldier to have any truly lasting resilience, one must build a strong spiritual core. Fritts encourages soldiers to work with their unit team to find additional guidance and create a personalized plan for spiritual development. FM 7-22 mentions some suggestions for how soldiers can work to strengthen their spiritual readiness, e.g. For example, attend meetings with people with similar values, participate in charity work, write journals, meditate, and pray.

Just as with the other four H2F domains, it is important that leaders encourage personal spiritual readiness by leading from the front. Fritts states that the way a guide chooses to promote this is very individual and personal, but can still be demonstrated externally, such as attending weekly chapel services.

Executives are encouraged to read and become familiar with the Field Manual 7-22, which can be found at can.

Recording date: 02/23/2021
Release Date: 02/23/2021 9:48 AM
Story ID: 389602
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