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What is Spiritual Fitness?. Leader : Read and discuss these expectations with your Soldiers. SPIRITUAL FITNESS IS NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT RELIGION . Your personal beliefs and values may include religion but they may not.

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What is Spiritual Fitness?

Leader: Read and discuss these expectations with your Soldiers

  • Your personal beliefs and values may include religion but they may not.
  • Spiritual fitness develops the personal qualities needed to sustain a Soldier in times of danger, hardship and tragedy
  • The Army expects you to live by Army values, which are the moral foundations of good citizenship and character
  • Spiritual qualities form the basis of character, decision-making and INTEGRITY (FM 1-05, paragraph 1-14)
  • Chaplains are NON-DENOMINATIONAL and highly experienced counselors

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep

components of spiritual fitness
Components of Spiritual Fitness

Leader: Discuss these expectations with your Soldiers

  • Spiritual fitness is strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that sustain a person beyond the support of Family and friends.
    • socially, culturally and legally acceptable
    • engage in activities that strengthen character and values
    • strengthen inner-self to build confidence
  • Think about your behavior and attitude and its effect on others
    • maintain a positive attitude toward self and others
    • seek out a community that provides support and guidance

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep


Unhealthy Spiritual Fitness Behaviors

Leader: Review unhealthy behaviors with your Soldiers

A Soldier with unhealthy behaviors:

  • has little or no interest in anything positive
  • makes no future plans and becomes isolated
  • hesitates to act
  • makes poor decisions
  • is defensive and/or judgmental
  • may strike out at those who are different
  • feels lost and/or hopeless
  • has conflicting values
  • lives in fear and anxiety

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep

unhealthy spiritual fitness scenario
Unhealthy Spiritual Fitness Scenario

Leader: Read the following scenario

SFC Tomm recently returned from a deployment where he lost 2 Soldiers. He returned to his civilian employment but is unsatisfied and finds the work meaningless. He feels distant from his spouse and finds that he doesn’t enjoy activities that he once valued. He has been experiencing suicidal thoughts that are getting harder to ignore. He feels alone and thinks that his wife would not understand what he is going through. His decreased mood has been affecting her and he feels like she might be better off without him. It’s his first drill back and one of his Soldiers, SPC Hill, notices that he is a little off and asks him if everything is alright. SFC Tomm says that he will be ok and not to worry about him. SPC Hill is still concerned after drill and decides to call SFC Tomm at home. SPC Hill expresses that he is worried and asks to come over to talk.

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep


Scenario – The Problem

Leader: Discuss some things that you might do in this situation to help SFC Tomm.

Bottom Line Up Front: Spiritual fitness is anything in your life that guides you to do good. The definition of spirituality is broad and may vary depending on who you ask. Beliefs can shape your actions and become a source of comfort and strength.

Every Soldier has an array of abilities that they bring to the table. Some Soldiers’ strengths are others weaknesses. Effective leaders build upon Soldiers’ weaknesses by pairing them with Soldiers who are stronger in specific areas (ie. Leadership).

Research has identified 24 Character strengths that are universal across time and cultures. Knowing and using character strengths and the character strengths of others can maximize our ability to handle adversity and make up for weaknesses.

Soldiers and Leaders can identify their top character strengths by taking the VIA Survey of Character Strengths survey at:

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep

Page 5


Scenario – “Strength of Character”

Leader: Discuss the character strengths below then discuss which strengths SPC Hill drew upon to help SFC Tomm. Also discuss what character strengths SFC Tomm would need to draw upon to admit he needed help.

24 Character Strengths

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep

  • Curiosity and interest in the world
  • Love of learning
  • Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
  • Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
  • Perspective (wisdom)
  • Bravery and valor
  • Industry, diligence, and perseverance
  • Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
  • Zest, enthusiasm, and energy
  • Humor and playfulness
  • Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
  • Capacity to love and be loved
  • Kindness and generosity
  • Social intelligence
  • Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
  • Fairness, equity, and justice
  • Leadership
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Modesty and humility
  • Caution, prudence, and discretion
  • Self-control and self-regulation
  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope, optimism, future-mindedness

Page 6


Strength of Character

Strengths of character are essential for resilience. Faith in one’s character

strengths, talents, and abilities, and how to use them will help Soldiers

overcome challenges and meet their goals.

Thoughts of suicide are not an indication of weakness. In fact, the ability to

come forward and ask for help is a demonstration of strength. It is on all of

us as Soldiers to look out for one another both physically and mentally.

Hunt the good stuff: Positive people think positively. Focusing on

positive experiences leads to an optimistic way of thinking. Encourage

your Soldiers to share a positive experience that they have had since last

drill. (Open discussion)

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep

scenario battle buddy aid
Scenario – Battle Buddy Aid

Leader: Ask about responsibility of Battle Buddies and how they can assist in the situation and review ACE

  • How could you as a battle buddy help SFC Tomm?
    • Inform the chain of command and Chaplain about concerns.
    • Confront SFC Tomm and refer to your ACE card (if needed) to guide a conversation.
  • How could the leadership help in this situation?
    • Act on all concerns brought up the chain regardless of its severity.
    • Contact available resources to get SFC Tomm immediate help and assign a battle buddy.
  • Remember ACE *(any stressful situation can lead to suicidal behavior)
    • Ask what you can do to assist the Soldier in succeeding.
    • Care enough to listen and provide support.
    • Escort the Soldier to resources or be one yourself as a positive influence.


* The ACE process guides us to assist the Soldier. Have the courage to act on behalf of a fellow Soldier. Never assume that everything is good to go until you have checked.

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep


Healthy Spiritual Fitness Behaviors

Leader: Ask your Soldiers to think of good spiritual fitness habits

  • A Soldier who exhibits healthy spiritual behavior:
    • has strong network of Family and friends
    • adapts to situations and has a clear direction of what is right and what is wrong
    • plans for the future and helps others
    • takes time to think about direction in life
    • thinks about how their actions affect others
    • has RESPECT for others
    • works to achieve objectives and goals
    • listens and watches out for their Battle Buddy
    • has self-esteem

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep


Available Resources

Leader: Review available resources and remind Soldiers that seeking them is not a sign of weakness but part of fitness

  • NYARNG Family Programs Office, (877)715-7817 or
    • Director of Psychological Health (DPH), (518)396-8993
    • Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC), (518)925-4302
    • Military OneSource (NYARNG Representative), (518)265-2901
    • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), (518)786-4734
  • State Chaplain’s Office, (518)461-2527
  • Military OneSource,(800)342-9647 or
  • Vets4Warriors peer support line, (855)838-8255 / (855)VET-TALK,
  • Veterans Crisis Line, (800)273-8255 / (800)273-TALK

Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Sep