Resiliency efforts strengthen positive lifestyles

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Just as the Air Force continues to enhance warfighters' capabilities, an equally powerful role for Airmen and their families is to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

The Air Force Compressive Airman Fitness model encompasses four pillars: mental, social, physical and spiritual. It is a proactive approach to resiliency which emphasizes a positive lifestyle.

Adapted from the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology program, the Master Resiliency Training Course is part of the effort to create a positive environment in work centers.

"The program is based on building and capturing healthy lifestyles," said Michael Wardell, 509th Bomb Wing community support coordinator. "It encourages people to live a lifestyle which promotes positivity, no matter what aspect of life you referring to."

By working on a proactive approach the MRT course is designed to help keep incidents of suicide down from the very beginning, according to Wardell.

"Instead of emphasizing the negative aspects of life, it emphasizes the positive aspects," Wardell said.

The first MRT course for the Air Force launched Sept. 24 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

The course teaches the Air Force community how to build mental toughness, avoid thinking traps, provide energy management, enhance problem solving and to put events into perspective.

"First, we have to build an infrastructure for resiliency," Wardell said. "Additionally, we must really understand each other while engaged in conversation."

Master Resiliency Trainers will be able to help unit members improve communication by helping them recognize common habits of thinking that are illogical and which leads to negative behavior, according to Wardell. MRTs will in turn train Resilience Training Assistants in their units.

"They will be taught to understand face-to-face communication and help point Airmen toward a positive outcome," Wardell said. "Individuals will interact more efficiently within the unit and with their peers."

Each unit will have a RTA who will assist commanders, chiefs and first sergeants in resilience related issues.

Four Airmen from Whiteman AFB are scheduled to train as MRTs at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. and once trained, will teach Airmen in each of unit at Whiteman AFB and be a source of resiliency skills.

"I believe this training will improve resiliency amongst younger Airmen and be incredibly valuable to Team Whiteman," said Airman 1st Class Lacie Carmody, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs broadcaster and selected MRT.

What started as a pilot program has evolved into an endeavor which hopes to pay big dividends for Airmen and their families.

Arrangements for Whiteman's RTA course will be announced once they are made.