Importance of spiritual fitness in the military
According to the book, “The Real War” written by Nixon, Napoleon Bonaparte indicated that there are only two powers in the world, the sword and the spirit and in the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit (Nixon, 2013). The traditional military corps according to Morris Janowitz were composed of heroic, combat leaders or gladiators who inspired troops to fight in dangerous battles (Gibson, 2000). For this to be achieved, the manager must have the physical strength and will as well as the psychological motivations that helps a person seek success in combat irrespective of the dangers involved and personal risk (Baucom 1985). This being the case, the spiritual element is vital in the sustainment of a combats mental stableness as it helps in the definition of moral and social responsibility of the soldier during war. The major spiritual factors that affects a soldier include the aspect of a soldier feeling connected to others. This ultimately creates a sense of belonging to a community thus leading to moral responsiveness and ethical considerations. This ultimately motivates the soldier to withstand the difficulties in combat thereby leading to the understanding that the enemy is also part of the human race and deserve certain rights and protection irrespective of the enemies furious tactics in the battlefield.
Another aspect of spirituality entails the religious identification whereby the soldiers adhere to certain religious beliefs, norms and traditions including prayers and worship. Through religious connections, the soldiers become convicted that prayers shape their lives and commitment to religion helps them connect with others and adds value to their lives. Spirituality also leads to a hopeful outlook and leads to optimism in regard to the available conditions and the future. In light of these fundamental parameters, this paper will endeavor to address the importance of spirituality in the army as the key element that holds the mental, social and the physical elements of a soldier together. To achieve this, it will cite relevant and adequate examples that demonstrate the application of spirituality after the exhaustion and isolation of the mental, physical, and social elements of soldiers.
The boot camps where soldiers is comprised of numerous arduous that stretch the soldiers beyond their limits and test more than their physical strength and stamina. To survive the camps, there need to apply spiritual elements. In these camps, the soldiers undergo strenuous and challenging conditions that may lead to mental problems. Spirituality creates the mindset and defines the soldier’s values and determines their actions and behavior. This fitness is an important factor in the mitigation of traumatic effects during combat. The warrior spirit is a mind and heart condition that leads to tireless motivation and sacrifice to defend personal honor. In this the soldiers promise not to lie, cheat or steal even in situations where other people commit such vices. Having a warrior spirit strengthens ones character and prepares a person for any bad eventuality that may arise.The spiritual knowledge enables the concerned military personnel to believe in a deity or a higher power that can be relied upon in times of danger and disaster. At the same time, it helps one to be able to hold on to something and be good unto others in terms of their safety and needs. With spirituality in the army, it would be possible to undertake body and mental exercises using positive images that may help bring the required physical reactions and responses. One is also able to practices mindfulness through being conscious of ones feelings and thoughts thereby boosting the brains resilience and function and increasing the mental focus.
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). The warrior spirit enables the army soldiers to have a superior will, perseverance and courage that helps them overcome and achieve success in combat. This nonphysical attributes leads to psychological resilience against any negative shortcoming. It therefore helps the soldier to refuse to accept defeat or quit (Haith& Colonel,2009).
In multiple deployment with no predictable end or future, the military personnel may be down hearted and may face mental challenges and stress as they remember their families and communities and the uncertain ending. The warrior spirit in such a scenario motivates the soldiers and help them overcome and endure the situation by developing the warrior’s ethos. This means that the soldier is able to continue prevailing in battle with their character and sanity intact. Survivors and trauma soldiers may benefit from the spiritual element more than the physical elements. Research that have been carried out indicates that individuals using spiritual interventions report improved coping (yeung & Martin, 2013). Spiritual practicesencourage cohesion by facilitating tolerance and improving the mindfulness- based meditation (Hufford, Fritts& Rhodes, 2010). This helps in improving the attentional functioning as well as reducing the negative stress effects.
Because of the continued conflict in the society, many soldiers are suffering casualties some of which are physical, psychological, social, and emotional. Therefore, fitness should entail a holistic overview in which a culmination of the physical, mental social as well as the spiritual fitness is enhanced. Warrior spirit greatly benefits the soldiers since they are able to redeem themselves in times of hardships and trying moments. In certain situation when the conditions of the soldiers are unknown and their future uncertain, the warrior spirit helps the soldiers in overcoming stress and injuries that may arise during the combat or in times of multiple deployments. Hard times may subject the soldiers into moral depressions but the warrior spirit helps in overcoming such situations by encouraging a supportive environment that fosters the cohesion of the army unit, thus leading to tolerance among the soldiers. Spirituality promotes good health to the warrior since it encourages a health living free from vices that include drinking and smoking. It also helps the soldiers have less stress and anxiety and reduced suicidal issues and family breakages. A warrior is intrinsically and extrinsically disciplined and have a developed mental focus that enables them to protect themselves and face their enemies. At the same time, a warrior spirit enables them to be resilient and have persistent in their undertaking with the hope of succeeding even in situations where chances of success seems blinking. The spirit also helps the soldier to train so that they may have the required skills in the service. It should however be noted that the spiritual diversity that exists between people from different backgrounds may lead to different interpretations and influences in spirituality. It is therefore important to understand the type of spiritual intervention that would work better to different personal settings.
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Baucom, L. C. D. R. (1985). The professional soldier and the warrior spirit. Strategic Review, 13(4), 58.
Gibson, J. W. (2000). The perfect war: Technowar in Vietnam. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
Haith, M. E., & Colonel, U. S. (2009, November). Strengthening the warrior spirit: linking the development of the warrior spirit to soldier resilience. In Symposium Proceedings (p. 331).
Hufford, D. J., Fritts, M. J., & Rhodes, J. E. (2010). Spiritual fitness. Military Medicine, 175(8S), 73-87.
Nixon, R. (2013). The real war. Simon and Schuster.
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Rubin, A., Weiss, E. L., &Coll, J. E. (2013). Handbook of military social work. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
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Yeung, D., & Martin, M. T. (2013). Spiritual Fitness and Resilience. Rand Corporation.Bottom of Form