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INTRODUCTION

Congratulations for taking this 21-day journey. The warr;or21 journey has been designed to help you with managing your thinking, calming your mind, as well as building resilience and mental strength. The warr;or21 program was inspired by the findings from numerous resilience research studies.

 

Initially created for law enforcement officers and other first responders, warr;or21 has now been adapted for people from all walks of life across the globe. We all experience daily stressors, crisis events, and struggles at work. This program includes practices to help you handle those moments while also helping you develop habits to promote an overall better and happier lifestyle.

 

Regardless of your employment, it is certain that each day of yours includes the opportunity to help others and looking out for your own well-being. Think about this and reflect on it. You have an innate desire to help others. That is partially why are you are participating in warr;or21. Remember though, much like how during an emergency on an airplane you have to put on your oxygen mask on before helping others, this is no different. To be effective at helping others, it must start with you. That is not selfish, in fact, it is necessary. It is also strategic. 

 

Additionally, you have made the choice to take this 21-day path. Whatever the reason may be—curiosity, wanting to try something new, wanting to be more effective at what you already do, or something else (hey, even if someone “nudged” you to take it!)—you decided first and foremost to purposely take care of yourself. Again, there is nothing selfish about wanting that either. To do good in this world, be successful, protect others, and take care of those close to you, you have to first take good care of yourself.

 

Of course work and life will get in the way at times but that does not mean it is okay or healthy to disregard your own well-being in the name of helping others. For example, not getting enough sleep, having bad eating habits, not engaging in physical activity, and isolating yourself from others are just a few examples that over time will diminish your ability to do your work effectively and function properly. This also can have a negative impact on your personal life too. So, the “win-win” cliché is in effect here.

 

By taking care of yourself, you’re making yourself more effective at your work. It is also okay to have bumps in the road too. Experiencing hardships, set-backs, and failures are part of living. This journey will help give you practices to ensure that those moments though do not turn into roadblocks or you feeling like you are permanently stuck. We all can feel stuck at times—that is normal. What warr;or21 is about is planning to avoid that and when we do get “stuck,” having established practices and creating positive coping habits to bounce back, not quit, and instead persevere by getting through it.

 

Resilience is often described as being able to bounce back from adverse situations and life events; often ones that we did not anticipate. Resilience also means taking care ourselves to ensure we are prepared to handle the stress and unpredictability of our daily lives. Resilience is also about giving us practices and strategies to handle tough moments in our personal lives.

 

Importantly, resilience also means it is okay to reach out for help when things feel overwhelming, when we feel out of control, or that we cannot cope. It is not necessary to have to take on personal challenges and moments by yourself when things feel overwhelming and that they are spinning out of control. It is okay to ask for help. Don’t forget that too is what resilience means.

 

As part of warr;or21, resilience is covered through four pillars that are incorporated in each day: awareness, wellness, purpose, and positivity.

 

Awareness starts with our breathing, yet also it also takes into account our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

 

Wellness refers to both physical and mental health. Looking after our mental and physical health ensures we are taking care of ourselves.

 

Purpose reminds us that it is okay to have personal goals yet our work involves much more than just ourselves. We are part of something much bigger and what we do can affect many people.

 

Finally, positivity refers to the relationships we have with others professionally and socially.

 

It also refers to our perspective on our daily interactions while also remembering to express gratitude. Key to being positive also means realistic optimism. This type of optimism means working our hardest to achieve our goals that are also practical. Through hard work we realize those goals can be achieved yet they are also not guaranteed simply because we work hard. Increased mental health is though something you can achieve through practice.

 

Through these four pillars, the warr;or21 practice not only will provide you with an opportunity to become more effective at your work, but more importantly it provides you the opportunity to be more positive, calmer, better management of your emotions, and happier in your everyday life. You deserve these. There is nothing “soft” about those terms either. After all, warr;or21 is designed to enhance your inner strength. We are not machines and regardless of your work, it is sure to entail stress moments and we are bound to experience traumatic situations through the course of our lives.

Suppressing and ignoring our experiences and emotions might feel beneficial in the short term but research has consistently demonstrated it has a negative impact in a variety of ways on our physical and mental health, our social life, and our work. Being sharp and ready for our work is needed to keep ourselves safe as well as others. Yet, we cannot be on edge 24/7; that is not healthy. Neither is it possible to constantly be like that. This type of constant hyper-vigilance takes a toll on our emotional, cognitive, and physiological health. 

 

Further, quality of life is important and something you deserve regardless of your age or employment. Our quality of life and being prepared for our work are closely interconnected.

Understanding key terms: Emotions, control, perspective, empathy, and pausing

 

This 21-day journey is designed to ensure we account for important terms that we must understand and be able to practice using each of them to increase our resilience and mental health. This includes emotions, control, perspective, empathy, and pausing. Each is incorporated throughout the 21 days. Briefly, they are described below.

 

You do not need to be an expert in psychology, but it is important to have a basic understanding of key psychological terms. Our emotions and feelings are the result of our thoughts. Our emotions are one factor that guides and dictates our actions. We have to acknowledge our emotions—not suppress them—to have better control over them as well as our actions. So, critical to these 21 days is acknowledgement of our emotions to manage them. This is more than being happy, it is strategic to accomplishing our goals, becoming more resilient, and being successful.

 

Control also involves realizing and accepting what we can control and what we cannot. Having practices to control ourselves (our thinking, emotions, and actions) can lead to better coping strategies for crises and stressful moments as well as daily interactions. These strategies are especially important for coming to terms with and accepting what we cannot control. We cannot control everything happening around us but what we control and manage is our thinking, emotions, and actions. 

 

Perspective reminds us that even though multiple people can be involved in the same situation, their experience of it is going to be different as it is shaped by each person’s perspective. A perspective can be shaped by someone’s life experiences as well as their current emotions and feelings. Perspective allows us to stop and realize this. By doing this, it then often includes suspending judgment, at least temporarily, and avoiding looking at someone else’s perspective as right or wrong. 

 

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