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Chief's View: Now more than ever, we need to build resiliency

Chief Master Sgt. Dwight Badgett, command chief master sergeant, Air Force Reserve Command

Chief Master Sgt. Dwight Badgett, command chief master sergeant, Air Force Reserve Command

Citizen Airman/Oct. 2010 -- Over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion in the Air Force about resiliency as it relates to deployments and combat. But, we need to make it perfectly clear that Airmen resiliency is about much more than deployments. It's about preparing ourselves to cope with the stresses, including deployments, of being an Airman, managing our own triad of family, employer and the Air Force, and, in some cases, just living. We have to develop the physical, mental, social and spiritual skills to cope with and adapt to many stressors in our lives. Uncontrolled stress can cause a variety of problems in our lives ranging from illness to the ultimate tragedy, suicide. We all face financial, relationship and, sometimes, legal challenges at some point in our lives. That's not unusual, but how we deal with these situations is critical to our health and well-being. Low resiliency can lead to anxiety, exhaustion, sudden rage, inability to concentrate, procrastination and poor decision-making. All of these conditions can cause us to forget about safety and can lead to accidents that are preventable. You can find help in dealing with stress by contacting a mental health professional, chaplain or physical fitness expert at the fitness center. Keeping yourself fit and healthy and asking for the necessary help is a great way to stay resilient and deal with the pressures we face as Airmen every day. Don't let a problem worsen and hope it will just go away. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, because you recognize that it is important to address the issues caused by stress and work to address them. Physical activity not only makes your body healthier, it also helps to "work off" some of the daily stress we face as parents, children, employees and productive members of society. You will be a more productive member of our great Air Force as you work to improve your mental and emotional agility. As a wingman, you also have a responsibility to other Airmen to help them build resiliency. We owe it to each other to do everything possible to make sure no Airman feels there is no other alternative but to hurt himself or take his own life. Don't be afraid to ask the tough question. You may be saving a life.