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Reframing & Reclaiming Resilience

March 18, 2023

We’ve all heard it. THAT word. Resilience. I know I’m over it, and I’m a certified Spouse Master Resilience Trainer (C-SMRT). How does the word make you feel? Angry? Annoyed? Disgusted?

Does it leave you wanting for a better word?

Those are all valid and understandable reactions. To figure out why we feel this way and what we can do about it, we have to go back to basics. Let’s start with what “resilience” means. The essence of the word is defined as the ability to flex or bend in the face of adversity and recover with little residual effect. 


That sounds great and all, but what does it mean to us as humans?


How does resilience affect our very beings and everyday lives? According to,

“Resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as being bullied or previous trauma.”

As we are all probably aware, depression, anxiety, and stress can also affect how much we eat, all aspects of our sleep, how motivated we are, as well as how much we desire to do activities that bring us joy.

Joy. Now that is something we all like to hear, right? Who doesn’t want to talk about things that make them happy and give them all the feels? I know I do and I’m doing it right now. Sharing knowledge with others about how to reclaim resilience and reframe how we perceive the word as well as the way it affects our lives on a daily basis brings me joy.

I want to share with you today, dear reader, three simple steps to reframe and reclaim your resilience. Many of you might be familiar with the acronym AAR, meaning After Action Review. We are changing it and making it ours. AAR now means Acknowledge, Absorb, Release. 




First, we must acknowledge that something is happening. Once we do this, we have to give the thing/situation a name. For example: Your spouse receives a new duty assignment, so we name it “upcoming PCS”.

Think of this as being introduced to someone for the first time.




Next, we have to sit with our newly named “something” and feel how it affects you. Are you happy? Sad? Indifferent? Following the example of an introduction, this is where we repeat the new person’s name back to them. I like to add in a sub-step here called “accept”.

The handshake in the introduction situation, this is where we accept whatever we are feeling is ours and right, and no one can tell us to feel any differently. Once we have absorbed and accepted the reality of the situation, we need to add in one more sub-step, “assess”. 


Assessing is like having a conversation with a new person.


We must have an inner dialogue and decide the next best course of action. Sometimes crying, laughing, or screaming into a pillow feels like the next best step, and that’s okay. However, right now is not always the best time to do any of those things. We must recognize that and decide, in the moment, what we can do right now to help us get to the next best step.

For instance: I’m about to walk into the conference room at work to give a presentation and receive news that makes me upset. Is my next step to ask for a few minutes extra before I begin presenting so that I can go to the bathroom and process some feelings?

Or is it to accept those feelings and assess that the next best course of action is to wait until I have adequate time to sit and process?

This is different than stuffing them down, by the way. This is asking your feelings to wait until you can embrace them properly in order to process them in a way that benefits you.




Once we have had the conversation and decided how to proceed, it is time for sweet release. Imagine, in the introduction example from above, the conversation has come to an end and it is time for farewells. We can simply walk away. We can shake hands again and say, “see you around.”

Or we can embrace the individual that was one a stranger in friendly hug as though we’ve known them for ages and wish them well. Regardless of how the interaction concludes, we have recognized that the situation has come to an end and will move on. So too must we accept the end of the challenge or adversity and release it from our hearts and minds. 


Mastering the art of AAR is simpler than it seems. 


Begin by noticing how you react to everyday instances such as waking up late, spilling a drink, or stubbing your toe. While it may sound a little ridiculous at the beginning, I promise it will reframe your mindset around “the word” and bring to light how reclaiming resilience can positively impact your life.

*To learn more about Manda and her work, please visit her at  The Healitary Spouse. Or you can read about her on our Band of Bloggers page.




  • Manda Lynn McVey

    Manda Lynn McVey met her husband when they were 12 years old. After graduating high school and leading very separate lives, they found their way back around to each other bringing her into the military community as a late-career spouse. They have one daughter together and she has two amazing bonus kids. During her almost seven years as a military spouse, Manda Lynn has been named Armed Forces Insurance’s 2022 Fort Polk Spouse of the Year and become a Spouse Master Resilience Trainer, Army Family Team Building Instructor, Holistic Nutrition Wellness Practitioner, Behaviour Change Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Educator, and Yoga & Meditation Instructor with over 3,700 volunteer hours under her belt leading military spouses to reconnect with their intuition to achieve overall wellness and resilience through a variety of modalities. She coaches military spouses and significant others to build resilience and wellness with a focus on community building, readiness, nutrition, and mindfulness as well as “gaining by giving” to help them feel more included in their communities, on and off installations, so they may build solid foundations to reclaim their health and resilience. An extremely resourceful person, Manda Lynn finds joy in sharing resources and knowledge with fellow military spouses and the community off-installation. Bringing resilience, wellness, and resources to the military and first responder community is something that comes to her naturally. Turning it into her full-time job has been a dream come true.


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Supporting Our Military Children

One thing that has been most important to me, as a military spouse, is figuring out how to best do this life while supporting our children with the changes and difficulties. When my children were very small, there were many times that my husband was away, and I had to parent my children alone.

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