The vital importance of stress management and self-knowledge of mind, strengths and weaknesses.
Popular revolts, manifestations and social conflicts can be witnessed throughout the world while few countries invest
Under the international mandate the responsibility is even bigger, leaving it to the Operational Agent of security and peace forces knowing how to deal harmonically among different humanitarian agencies, (such as peace restoration, supplies, health, education) providing them proper assistance in accordance with preset conduct rules to ensure that their conduct will not create much trouble in a region that is already under conflict so as to guarantee that food and medications provisions reach the area without impediments on equipment for control and contention of civilian disturbances but little or nothing on educational, social and cultural improvement of the Operational Agent.
Mental balance, psychological and pedagogical accompaniment are essential to the quality of the work of the Operational Agent that represents the official mandate as anything beneficial or harmful he does can be transmitted all over the world through cell phone cameras with amazing speed and extension. His actions have to be based on responsibility and loyalty to the peacekeeping and peacemaking mission mandate supported by the Humanitarian International Law.
However, the Operational Agent is a human being endowed with feelings and liable to have psychological, social and family problems. What about his personal healthcare?
It is essential to promote several exercises of evaluation, stress management and team cooperation to make sure the Operational Agent is properly prepared and coordinated in a responsible manner engaging other agents from the staff.
On the course: UN CIMIC – United Nations Civil Military Coordination of Peace Operations Training Institute of authors Cedric de Coning ACCORD/NUPI and Stephen E. Henthorne JSSTR/CIMIC we can note an important example:
Lesson 3 / Peace building and Coordination in Complex Peace Operations 59
Everybody Wants To Coordinate but Nobody Wants To Be Coordinated
There is a saying in the relief community that sums up the core dilemma of coordination:
“Everybody wants to coordinate but nobody wants to be coordinated.” According to Antonio Donini, one of the leading researchers in the humanitarian coordination field, “few knowledgeable persons would dispute that the effective provision of humanitarian assistance requires that duplication, waste and competition among agencies be avoided”.3 Peter Uvin adds that “all documents on peace-building stress the need for improved coordination: there is no single need more emphasized”.
Another important factor is that the Operation Agent is stimulated to develop management of stress under pressure in order to control harmonically his mind to avoid that his own mind puts him at risk due to uncontrolled anxiety transferring it to the other staff agents and to the peacekeeping and peacemaking mission mandate.
I had the honor to participate of a few courses about UN such as Advanced Security In The Field of UNDSS (United Nations Department Safe and Security) Commanding UN Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations Civil-Military Coordination (UN-CIMIC), United Nations Police Restoring Civil Order Following Hostilities, Civilian Protection by POTI (Peace Operations Training Institute) and others and I could realize that on the interlacement of these courses there are 7 determining points for the Operational Agent:
1. Stress Management
2. Never to use excessive force under any circumstances. Except the use of moderate force for self-defense and the defense of the peacekeeping and peacemaking mandate within the R.O.E (Rule of Engagements).
3. Impartiality and objectivity. The responsibility charged to represent the peacekeeping and peacemaking mission mandate.
4. Self evaluation of own health condition.
5. Caution in the consumption of alcoholic beverage.
6. Drive safety.
7. Represent a good diplomatic and cultural relationship with local communities and handling with the media and social communicators.
Following below, my recommendations:
A proper self control management of the basal stress, cumulative stress and traumatic stress makes the difference under any situation. Unlike the cumulative and traumatic stress, the basal stress is healthy and it is what keeps you alive and alert with prompt response whenever necessary.
The Operational Agent can learn how to manage stress through different ways, whether by active sports games that involves action, defense and adventure such as airsoft, paintball, handball, basketball, swimming, sword-play, videogame systems with motion sensors that forces to exercise the body, or martial arts practice (see example on the video with some of our trainings on the Strategy Tactics and Defense Training Center “Management of stress in conflict simulations based on Ninjutsu martial arts – Cultural Style Heiho Jutsu Zen Art of Strategy to Peace”). On this training we used the Zazen methodology of meditating in a situation of conflict simulation reacting with serenity, harmony and prompt response without causing harm. Another example on the video is to raise the basal stress level using the chess game while performing exercises. On this task we can perceive the high ability of prompt response with harmony and precision on adverse situations that demand agility as the example of group maneuvers from the strategy martial art inserted on the sports games airsoft and paintball.
There are various manners and cultures, both millenarian and modern reformulated and improved, of practices of stress management that can be highly utilized to enable the Operational Agent to know better how his mind work by simulating determined situations.
Try to relax, work on respiration, withdraw to nature locations that please you most to return with recovered energy to the constant challenges of life in society. When in nature locations, try to approach the animals, observe their way of life, their behavior, their strategies; we can learn a lot from them.
Regardless of belief or religion, the practice of meditation can be embraced as meditation is only mind self-observation in silence, without constant concentrating, just perceiving the present time to the extent that you are ready to have better perception of what happens around you without excessive automated and conditioned thoughts that spend a lot of energy and raise the level of stress. One exercise that we apply on Heiho Jutsu (strategy art) is to mark the pointer of clock for 1 minute and just observe the present time without letting your mind interfere with automated thoughts, then keep on rising the time until you are ready to do the same in life situations. This way you will be prepared for several hostile and unexpected situations without being let down by cumulative and traumatic stress.
Avoid the habit to consume alcoholic beverages to relax. Alcoholic drinks and driving could have fatal consequences. It is important to have a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, cereal, and grains. Try to sleep well; it is essential to have an average time of 7 to 8 yours sleep. Sleeping is a nutriment as important as food or water. People that practice meditation for at least 20 minutes need less hours of sleep per day naturally without any harm to their health. Investing on sleep is essential to health quality and a way to be in good physical and mental shape to assume responsibilities of the peacekeeping and peacemaking mission mandate.
You, diplomat, chief of security, citizen, that does not go in a vehicle which driver is inebriate, would you enter a vehicle without verifying if the driver is sleepy? Unfortunately this is difficult situation to control. In Brazil we often face examples of truckers that drive through long roads across the country under effect of psychoactive drugs to stay awake and eventually cause fatal accidents.
Another situation involving sleep are the practices of terrorist agents and groups and terrorist States that torture their prisoners with sleep deprivation as a weapon for psychological reprogramming as brain wash, inducing and forcing the victims to sign forced confessions. These sleep privation techniques are also used by police corporations and security forces from these States to train the agents causing exhaustion of his mental capabilities and sending them to the field where they may cause harm to civilians under weapons possession. Weapons, vehicles and official mandate endorsement do not blend with chronic deprivation of sleep. The damages can be huge; besides, the Operational Agent becomes a victim of these States that allow such practices and can consequently produce civilian victims due to failures or excesses for not being on hold of his full mental abilities.
In the management of diplomatic relationship with local communities, communicators and Medias, it is essential that the Operational Agent behave with respect and cordiality. He must be psychologically prepared to all kinds of questions being able to manage his own stress level even when in a conflict and hostile situation cooperating with reporters in accordance of R.O.E (Rule of Engagements) from corporative or independent Medias that could be transmitting live information on networks. His conduct may bring positive or negative results to the peacekeeping and peacemaking mission mandate. I also recommend that the Operational Agent receive authorization from the chief of staff to have on his crew a cameraman and cameras to record every detail of the conflict environment to avoid any misunderstanding and any type of hoax from corporative medias that often edit and cut images allowing dual interpretations also distorting the facts in accordance with their editorial line.