Comprehensive Airman Fitness: Be resilient

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Comprehensive Airman Fitness is a holistic approach to train resilience to military members, civilians and family members, which encourages positive thinking and helps reduce daily stressors. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Comprehensive Airman Fitness is a holistic approach to train resilience to military members, civilians and family members, which encourages positive thinking and helps reduce daily stressors. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Airman 1st Class Devin Boyer)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Everyone faces stress on a day-to-day basis, but what they do not realize is that the negative stress effects can cause a heavier burden.

Comprehensive Airman Fitness is a holistic approach to train resilience to military members, civilians and family members, which encourages positive thinking and helps reduce daily stressors.

"Think about how you felt driving on the loop when someone cut you off, or how frustrated you became when the one person responsible for that personnel action is out of the office the day you need immediate assistance," said David. F. Sullins, 17th Training Wing installation resilience program specialist. "CAF principles provide the basis for our ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands."

CAF is broken down into four domains: mental, social, physical and spiritual.

The mental pillar does not relate to mental health, but rather awareness, adaptability, positive thinking and decision making skills.

"One of those skills is to look for positives throughout your day instead of focusing on the negatives," said Sullins. "We call this skill 'Counting our Blessings.'"

The elements of the physical pillar are: endurance, nutrition, recovery and strength. The way the Air Force measures this component is through annual or bi-annual fitness assessments.

Social fitness is divided into communication, connectedness, social support and teamwork. This can be anything from a simple exchange of thoughts between Airmen to providing emotional and spiritual support to fellow wingmen. It also encompasses work coordination and flexibility among team members.

Lastly, spiritual fitness is the ability to adhere to beliefs, principles or values needed to preserve and prevail in accomplishing missions. The elements of the social pillar are: core values, perseverance, perspective and purpose.

According to the Air Combat Command, spiritual fitness is about having a sense of purpose and meaning in one's life. It's essential to an individual's resiliency as esprit de corps is vital to a unit's mission accomplishment.

Spiritual fitness does not have to mean religion as some people get their spiritual strength from other places such as yoga class or nature walks.

All four pillars not only make up the CAF, but are the structural support in building resilience.

From First Term Airman Center to Wingman Days, CAF training is happening all over the Air Force. There is even an Air Force Instruction on the matter.

AFI 90-506, Comprehensive Airman Fitness, paragraph 1.1. states: "CAF includes fitness in mental, physical, social, and spiritual domains and is not a stand-alone program or specified training class; instead, CAF is a cultural shift in how we view and maintain fitness in a more comprehensive manner and enables Airmen to hold each other accountable against Air Force Core Values."

CAF is not a yearly observance; it's an entirely new way to improve well-being, enhance life balance, and strengthen personal and organizational resilience throughout the Air Force community.