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NEWS | Dec. 5, 2012

Diamond Tips: Making healthy relationships

By Master Sgt. David Turnage 628th Communications Squadron first sergeant

I had the pleasure of taking some leave and visiting my family in the great state of Mississippi during the Thanksgiving holiday. The food was absolutely unbelievable.

As I watched my mom take the cornbread from the iron skillet, creating the best cornbread dressing I have had in my life, I couldn't help but think how important my family is to me. Good healthy relationships are so essential to being happy in life and it makes perfect sense that Comprehensive Airmen Fitness includes the social aspect as one of its four pillars.

I know some may say, "I don't need anybody" or "I like to keep things to myself," but experience has taught me, that like the Dean Martin song, "everybody needs somebody sometime," and having positive healthy relationships with my family, my friends and co-workers help me maintain a positive outlook on life.

Recent research has indicated that certain characteristics in family relationships help protect the individual against physical ailments and their outcomes. These characteristics include such things as family connections, problem focused coping skills, and direct communication.

On the other hand, lack of social support has been shown to increase risk of disease and illness. This alone should make you want to be socially connected ... right?

So, how do we translate family relationships to the workplace and the mission?

Even though we, as Airmen, may not be family by blood or by marriage, we are family based on the solemn oath we all took to protect this country and our constitution. We have a common bond that others do not have outside of the military. We, as volunteers, are prepared if necessary, to give the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

So, I think it is time we all give of ourselves to cultivate healthy family-type relationships in our work centers while maintaining professionalism at the same time.

It is possible to do, but each of us has to make the decision to reach out to our co-workers. We need to show that we care for one another. Let this holiday season be a reminder of how important people are to the mission.

Leaders, if you are having a family gathering, invite an Airman or Sailor who may not have any family here and can't go home for the holidays. Show that you care. You may not notice it at first, but those little acts of kindness and caring will make a positive impact on that Airman or Sailor's life.