The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) is launching a series of short Resilience Building Challenges to expose you to new ideas about resilience enhancement from a group of experts within our wellness field, and specifically targeted to benefit emergency responders. So whether you want to armor your Self, build your emotional survival skills, your spiritual survival skills or just want to learn new and simple ways to add resilience building techniques to your life, we’ve got something for you. I believe that the police need to be more resilient!
Are you in?
Here is the first LESI Mini Resilience Building Challenge:
Topic: Building Resilience Using Awe
Title: Try an “Awe Walk”
The Oxford Dictionary defines awe as: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.
The Collins Dictionary says that Awe is the feeling of… respect and amazement that you have when you are faced with something wonderful and often rather frightening.
“Awe is a “hack” that can boost well-being” is a definition written by Dr.Leif Hass, a hospital-based doctor at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland California, in an article I will mention below.
Defining an Awe Walk
An Awe Walk is when you take a walk with the specific purpose of finding awe. This could be a walk indoors or outdoors where you are being mindful of all the things around you, large and small, that you may have never noticed, nor examined before, and which, when given your focused attention can inspire a sense of awe, wonder or amazement.
How Can an Awe Help Build Your Resilience?
According to University of California at Berkeley “Awe makes us more cooperative; Awe sharpens our critical thinking compared to other emotional states; Awe leads to more ethical decision making; Awe makes us less concerned about ourselves and feel connected to others—and even at times to the universe in general.”
In an article, entitled: “Is Awe a Path to Resilience in Caring Professions?“, published in the online Greater Good magazine produced by the The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. CLICK HERE to read the article.
Some Benefits of Enhancing your Sense of Awe:
● Awe leads to the perception that time is slowing down so that we can fully take in the event;
● Awe leads to humility, so we more readily accept the input of others as we appraise the situation;
● Awe makes us more cooperative;
● Awe sharpens our critical thinking compared to other emotional states;
● Awe leads to more ethical decision making;
● Awe makes us less concerned about ourselves and feel connected to others—and even at times to the universe in general.
All of these things are helpful to your wellness and can enhance your resilience against the traumas and tradegies you experience in your law enforcement careers. The article is excellent and I encourage you to click-through and read it. Particularly the section about “How can we cultivate awe?”
Here is Your Challenge:
Take a 10-15 minute Awe Walk every day for the next two weeks. During that walk expand your awareness to see, hear, feel, smell and sense things that you have not noticed before. Increase your sense of mindfulness and be open to where your mind takes you. Stop and examine the small things, look outwardly and experience the vastness that surrounds you. You could walk around the block, walk thru a museum, walk a labyrinth or just walk anywhere. If you do this at work, please don’t sacrifice your situational awareness and safety.
I credit my interest in awe to the work of Jeff Thompson, a recently retired NYPD detective who was their first-ever mental health and wellness coordinator. Jeff went from his job at NYPD to work at Columbia University Medical Center as he was finishing his Ph.D. Jeff is a star in the field of law enforcement wellness and a person for you to follow. His bio and links to some of his work are listed below. Keep reading, take an Awe Walk, and join the Awe Project.
Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is now an adjunct associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Thompson is also an instructor at Lipscomb University in the College of Leadership and Public Service. He retired recently after serving more than 20 years as a detective in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) where he was their first-ever mental health and wellness coordinator and previously a hostage negotiator. Dr. Thompson conducts research on resilience, mental health, leadership, suicide pre/postvention, and crisis communication. His trainings have been provided across the world to people including first responders and other professionals. He has presented at conferences giving keynotes, plenary sessions, and workshops for a variety of academic and professional organizations.
So what does this have to do with cops you might ask? Everything!
Follow-up Information for Your Further Exploration:
Law Enforcement research on the use of awe as a technique to build resilience.
Hostage Negotiator Resilience: A Phenomenological Study of Awe by Jeff Thompson and Elizabeth Jensen
Experiencing Awe: An Innovative Way to Enhance Investigations and Wellness by Jeff Thompson
Awe: Helping Leaders Address Modern Policing Problems by Jeff Thompson
Awe Narratives: A Mindfulness Practice to Enhance Resilience & Wellbeing by Jeff Thompson
If you want to expand your learning further, consider reading the 2023 Book: Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life by Dacher Keltner
Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab. He is said to be one of the world’s foremost emotion scientists. He has over 200 scientific publications and six books, including The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence and Born to Be Good; he was a co-editor of the Greater Good anthology, The Compassionate Instinct.
And finally, consider joining the Awe Project.
The Awe Project
My only question for you is — Will you try it? It’s only walking 10-15 minutes a day for two weeks — What do you have to lose?
Be safe and Be well!
P.S. if you got a simple resilience building or wellness enhancing technique that will help first responders, CLICK HERE to send me a message.
The LESI Mini Resilience Building Challenges are part of our on-going law enforcement wellness and resilience training to enhance your physical survival, mental survival, emotional survival and spiritual survival in law enforcement efforts.
REMEMBER: Police Wellness should be a SYSTEM, not a program!
At LESI we believe that an effective police wellness system should be strategic, comprehensive, specific, measurable and sustainable. The LESI faculty is always available to help you build the wellness system your agency needs whether that includes building individual resilience for your people; assessing and enhancing agency support systems; developing a positive wellness culture; promoting wellness leadership practices; or all of the above, we’re available to help you so please reach out by clicking here to email or by giving us a call.
© Copyright 2023 – The Law Enforcement Survival Institute, LLC and CopsAlive.com – All Rights Reserved
Leave your comments in the box below
CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival, health and wellness. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.
At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.
Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” is a resilience building textbook, a do-it-yourself curriculum and a training program that can be presented live, on-site, virtually or through pre-recorded learning modules. These programs help police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE. To learn about and buy the book CLICK HERE.
Our “Wellness Focused Policing Initiative” is a people focused policing strategy to promote wellness within law-enforcement first, and then to spread that sense of care, and focus on well-being, outwardly to the people served by the police. This is not a quick fix, “flavor of the month” or a band-aid solution but rather a long-term commitment to developing the comprehensive health and well-being of both law enforcement professionals AND the people they serve. To learn more CLICK HERE. To take our quick and free online survey to see where you stand now CLICK HERE.
The Tactical Resilience™ and Ethical Policing Project (TREPP) is our international initiative to promote the health and resiliency of law enforcement professionals by conditioning our people physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well as paying attention to strengthening their mindset, level of personal mastery, depth of their social support system sand their financial fitness. It also provides a set of tools and techniques that, replenish their spiritual health and, restores their inner peace and clarity. TREPP is expandable to meet the needs of your community and your budget and can use training, assessments and consulting to assist you where you need it. We build human resilience, create processes to enhance agency support systems, promote a culture of wellness, and most importantly initiate community lead projects thru our Law enforcement officers as Community Action Leaders (LoCAL) initiative.
CLICK HERE to download our InfoSheet on TREPP.
The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE
Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.
CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.
CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!