Vandenberg program allows Airmen opportunity to take control of stress

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
When mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns into the Incredible 
Hulk and proceeds to smash his way through difficulties with his big, green fists.

While tearing a car in half may sound like fun, there are better ways for non-comic book people to deal with life's troubles, and the Stress and Anger Management Class here can show you how.

This four-week class, held once per quarter by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, covers such topics as ways to manage stress, effective communication and emotional intelligence.

"In order to be physically and mentally well one must possess these traits of resiliency," said Linda Crowder, a community readiness consultant at the A&FRC. "Be curious, playful and laugh; learn from unpleasant experiences; develop strong self-esteem; value the abilities to be flexible, adaptable and accepting of yourself and others; practice empathy for difficult people; and expect good outcomes."

In order to get to this healthy point, a person should recognize the difference between good and bad stress. Distress, or bad stress, and eustress, the good version, really come down to how a person perceives a situation, Ms. Crowder said. A financial windfall, for example, may sound like a good stressor, but there are big adjustments to be made for the person who gets all that money.

"Not wanting to make light of what we typically see as a distressful situation, such as a loss of a loved one, loss of good health, loss of financial security, what really matters is inner resiliency, the ability to bounce back from adversity, hold up under pressure, and turn misfortune into good luck," Ms. Crowder said.

For those people who are unsure, there are signs to look for which point to prolonged bad stress. Since stress causes the body to release adrenaline and stress hormones into the blood, increased heart and breathing rates and blood pressure occur. These side effects contribute to heart disease, muscular pain, digestive disorders, auto-immune disorders and depressive/anxiety disorders.

"If the stress reaction 'switch' is chronically on, then one can expect to have some health issues," Ms. Crowder said.

Better health, therefore, can be achieved by better managing stress and anger. Besides the A&FRC class and pamphlets, the Military Family Life Consultant Program is there for anyone affiliated with a military servicemember and can be reached at (805) 588-3302. Military OneSource also offers counseling services and can be reached at (800) 343-9647 or by going to

The best way to get help with stress, however, may be right at home.

"Most people turn to someone they trust, and that is by far the most recommended 'resource' for relief and comfort," Ms. Crowder said. "One cannot afford to isolate themselves from others."

By using these resources, or just talking to your loved ones, people can rid themselves of bad stress-management habits. This creates a healthier, happier person, in body, mind and soul.

"The human body is a complex, highly integrated and adaptive system," Ms. Crowder said. "Emotional intelligence provides a key to better integration of physical, spiritual, mental and emotional resources, both individually and globally, so our power to adapt becomes a strength instead of a liability."

The A&FRC's Stress and Anger Management Class is currently scheduled to run through Nov. 10, with mini, one-hour stress management/relaxation training classes offered Monday afternoons from 3-4 p.m. For more information or to sign-up, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 606-0039.