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NEWS | July 26, 2013

Dimensions of wellness: Social fitness

By Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor 633 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Editors note: This story is a part of a series about the different aspects of wellness.

Every choice we make, idea, attitude or faith we hold fits into the four different pillars of wellness: spiritual, physical, social and mental. Wellness is a behavior that, by its nature, moves us toward a more proactive, responsible and healthy existence.

With the military lifestyle and the unique challenges that come with it, the social health of every Service member is significant to their well-being. Having strong relationships both in the workplace and at home prepares an individual with the social resiliency that helps manage all aspects of life.

James Murrell, Langley Air Force Base Community Center director, not only feels events put on by the Community Center help boost the morale and social wellness of Service members on base, but he also sees their impact on the community on a daily basis.

"Developing good behaviors and meaningful relationships are the most beneficial things Service members can do to improve their social health," said Murrell. "Both are important in creating a support system of mutual respect, tolerance and encouragement that leads to a strong and effective "wingman" mentality within a very diverse fighting force."

According to the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Center and the Comprehensive Airman and Family Fitness Center, social wellness is defined as developing and maintaining trusted, valued friendships that are personally fulfilling and foster good communication, including the exchange of ideas, views and experiences.

The two programs, dedicated to help build resilience and enhance performance of Service members, stress that having a healthy social life plays a large role in military member's life.

"With the military lifestyle comes a lot of change," said Dawn Teagle, Airman and Family Readiness chief. "Having programs available to help familiarize yourself to different places and connect with others who are in the same situation is helpful in this type of lifestyle."

According to Teagle, the goal of the Airman and Family Readiness Center is to help Service members get more involved with each other and learn what's provided on the installation, such as staying connected with a family member who is on deployment, enhancing affective communication skills or improving the overall outlook on life.

According to the National Wellness Institute, becoming aware of your importance in society and learning how to contribute are stepping stones to being socially well.

"Sometimes it's a challenge for Service members to jump into something unfamiliar like experiencing new culture or learning a new skill," said Murrell. "But overcoming those challenges together through positive interaction boosts morale."

Both Langley and Fort Eustis support an actively healthy social lifestyle with two installation clubs for dining and entertainment, endless community center events and multiple intramural sports teams.

Having a lifestyle that is rich in healthy personal relationships and important friendships helps to move toward a more resilient, and purposeful existence as Service members, which leads to a mission ready force.

Langley Club: 766-2322            Langley Community Center: 764-2984          Airman and Family Readiness Center: 764-3990            Fort Eustis Club: 878-5700            Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers: 878-1046              Outreach and Family Assistance: 878-2659
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