HomeNewsArticle Display

Resiliency Toolkit: The power of a positive thought

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) --

Many of you have probably been in a situation where nothing seems to be going right and every step you move forward, something hits you in the face, knocking you two steps back. In these moments, your biggest adversary becomes your own mind.

You’ll find yourself going from one complaint to the next and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Before you know it, you turn into this bitter, angry and unpleasant individual no one wants to be around.

What if I told you one saying can change the way you approach challenging times?

A couple years ago, while working around-the-clock on a major network issue impacting a weapon system, we were briefing our commander on the current status after a long day of troubleshooting. After delivering the news that this outage was much worse than anticipated, he looked around the table at his flight leads and saw us all sinking in our chairs. It was then he looked us all in our bloodshot eyes, smiled and said, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.” This broke the tension, got a genuine laugh and cleared our minds. As a leadership team, we discussed the positive outcomes and milestones the team accomplished. This renewed our focus and we went back to our individual work centers, re-energized, and led our teams more effectively. This enabled us to fix the issue in just a couple of hours: an outage we anticipated would last at least a full 24 hours more.

This phrase, while humorous in nature, truly illustrates the power of a positive thought. This one phrase completely changed the way I lead and live my life.

I’ve always been a pretty positive person, trying to look for the best in all situations. This is something my parents instilled in me. This has helped get me through some dark moments, but when life just keeps throwing grenades, even the most resilient gets worn down. It can be difficult to remain positive. Now, when I find myself getting pulled down by negative thoughts, I reminisce on that statement by my commander and the importance of focusing on the positives through a “storm.” Ever since this pivotal moment, I’ve picked up a couple activities to help keep me positive through the challenging demands of this military lifestyle and serving our nation:

1. High-fives. Log off your computer, get out of your cubicle or office, walk around and give high-fives or fist bumps for the germ conscious. I guarantee you and the recipient will smile. You may even generate a conversation about weekend plans or start talking about similar hobbies. Before you know it, you forgot what was bringing you down, and you just made a meaningful connection with a teammate. A win-win scenario. Tip: Focus on the elbow for the perfect high-five.

2. Connect with a positive person. We all know that one person in the office who is high energy and always seems to be in a good mood. When you are consumed by negative thoughts, connect with these individuals and don’t be afraid to seek counsel. This builds trust between teammates and is critical because they may also need you one day. It’s extremely difficult and exhausting to always be “on.” A wise chief once told me, “It’s okay to not be okay. This understanding is a sign of really good leadership.”

3. Exercise. Knock out a set of push-ups, go for a run, go on a hike, etc. Find an activity that makes you feel good, and get after it. When those endorphins kick in, your mood will shift; helping clear those negative thoughts.

4. Pray and/or meditate. Disconnect from technology, find a quiet place and shut it down. Spiritual resiliency is a powerful tool; it’s my go-to when those challenging moments hit. If religion isn’t your thing, then meditation is a great alternative to help clear your mind.

It’s easy to become consumed with negative thoughts when life gets challenging. Just remember, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.” Go out, give a high-five and smile. A positive thought or action can be just what you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the fight.

Engage

Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Twitter
In March 2019, @AFSpecOpsCmd received its first Block 30 AC-130J Ghostrider gunship. Referred to as “the ultimate b… https://t.co/V9FoDThYRQ
Twitter
As the Joint Force transitioned from a Continuous Bomber Presence posture in the Indo-Pacific theater to a Dynamic… https://t.co/u8JlA3GaeF
Twitter
As of August 2020, The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, aka Hurricane Hunters, has flown 64 missions into 12 s… https://t.co/CFtHJ8HDXG
Twitter
.@AFGlobalStrike tackled B-1B readiness issues head-on by readying the fleet with a roadmap to recovery over a 2-yr… https://t.co/dEfZemGKbb
Twitter
As we celebrate 73 years of the U.S. Air Force, we remember the heroes we are proud to have served with. Today we… https://t.co/3pdHX3DvIn
Twitter
Flying, fighting and winning since 1947. #USAF73 https://t.co/qM28ykPZwt
Twitter
RT @AF_Academy: Proud to fly the @usairforce flag today and every day! Happy 73rd Birthday! #YourAcademy #FamilyWeek https://t.co/hOIs1ghq7M
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Today we honor the #heroes who knew the worst of war and the agony of captivity - those who fought for and lost their fre…
Twitter
RT @ArmyMateriel: Join us in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brothers and sisters in the United States Air Force! #DYK The Air Force was…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,280,540
Follow Us