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A new Army field manual has tips for ‘productive self-talk.’ Here are some examples the service should add

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A recently released Army field manual gives some examples of “productive self-talk” soldiers should use when times are tough, and they’re, well, a very particular kind of special.

One type of productive self-talk that the Army encourages in Field Manual 7-22 — which expands upon the Army’s ongoing holistic health push — is “cognitive reframing,” which helps soldiers recognize “the positive in an otherwise suboptimal situation.” 

One of the examples provided by the Army? “Running up hills: hills are my friend. They only make me stronger.” 

Another example: “Hot weather training: this training is preparing me to be more lethal in the desert.” 

Productive self-talk “helps to maintain a focus on performing a task correctly” and “encourage[s] optimal performance,” the manual says. 

“Soldiers with positive attitudes are more able to cope with adversity and be successful with challenging tasks. Motivational self-talk can improve attitude and focus on the task.” 

So to help the Army out — we just want to help! — the Task & Purpose team came up with a few other examples of productive self-talk that soldiers should keep in mind: 

  • Living in a rat-infested hovel on base: This is preparing me for my deployment to [name a country].
  • Practicing the Army sprint-drag-carry: This is preparing me to drag my blacked-out buddy back to the barracks this weekend.
  • Looking up at mold coming through the vent in my barracks: This is preparing me for chemical warfare.
  • When your deployment gets extended: This is preparing me for even more crushing disappointment I’ll inevitably experience during my military career.
  • Being told to come into work despite someone probably having COVID-19: This is preparing me for a career in a medical MOS that I didn’t want and didn’t sign up for.
  • Almost hurling everywhere because you’re hungover at morning PT: This is preparing me for when that MRE just doesn’t sit right. 
  • Filling out meaningless hand receipts: This is preparing me to fill out bullshit paperwork at the VA.
  • Standing around in formation: This is preparing me to stand around in formation.