by Staff Sgt. Brandon Shapiro
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
2/13/2013 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- Part 3 of 4
There are roughly 7 billion people in the world, 314 million in the United States, and more than 329,000 in our U.S. Air Force.
With so many people working and living in proximity to one another, it
goes without saying that social resilience is an essential element of
From the dawn of mankind, our adaptive human nature and ability to
interact socially have transformed us into diversely unique individuals,
further solidifying our ability to adjust to changing group dynamics.
As we know, wolves hunt in packs and lions in groups. By doing so they
are able to bring down prey that would have been nearly impossible to
conquer independently. Us as humans tend to adopt a similar concept,
yet, one of a more evolved nature.
Although working in teams is common, often times we interact with others
only when the situation dictates, isolating others when they are not
needed. This type of thinking is passive-destructive and only hinders
our ability to fully function in society.
Ideally, a socially resilient culture would be comprised of people whose expertise and backgrounds are vastly diverse.
Take sports for example; how successful would a baseball team be if
their line-up consisted of only pitchers? Lackluster to say the
least, you need dissimilar specialties.
John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social
Neuroscience and author of Human Nature and the Need for Social
Connection, found that "Socially resilient individuals value diverse
perspectives and recognize that many tasks require coordination among
persons with differing backgrounds, values, and priorities."
In layman's terms, get out there, meet people, enjoy cultural
differences, and share experiences. You will become more well-rounded
and proficient in your daily endeavors.
We are truly blessed to be Americans and because of the freedoms
bestowed, we have the privilege of living among so many different
ethnicities, religions, backgrounds and interests.
Those who embrace social interaction and recognize the advantages of
groups made up of diverse individuals often respond more adaptively to
unforeseen problems and challenges, making daily tasks easier to
Like the other three pillars of wellness, social resiliency starts with you!
"Social resiliency cannot be encapsulated into a simple, do this, do
that mentality," notes U.S. Air Force Capt. Jeremy Pallas, licensed
clinical social worker at MacDill Air Force Base. "However, by
intentionally engaging in altruistic or pleasurable social activities,
you will discover the benefits of getting out of the house and growing
from those around you."
One of the best ways of accomplishing this and to ease your way into a
more interactive lifestyle is by joining groups, such as sports teams,
cooking classes or crafting groups.
Subconsciously, by joining these pleasurable groups you are targeting
your psychological well-being, releasing endorphins and increasing
serotonin levels, which positively balance your mood.
Have you ever heard of the saying, "too much of a good thing can be a
bad thing?" Well, that can definitely be the case with social
We have all worked with "that guy," whose such a flamboyant extravert that nobody wants to be around him.
Smothering people through too much social interaction can be abrasive
and deter them from wanting to be around you. Be sure not to overdo it.
Likewise, if you avoid interaction and confrontation, this too will likely discourage people from interacting with you.
No matter what level your social resilience is on, there is always room
for improvement or preventative maintenance. Even if you think your
resiliency is top notch, do not hesitate to call your local helping
agencies for a brief refresher.
Remember, the folks at your mental health office, family advocacy, base
chapel, Health and Wellness Center and Airman & Family Readiness
Center are available to get you active, boost your confidence and
bolster your personal resiliency.
Information from the U.S. Air Force resiliency program, the Mayo
Foundation for Education and Medical Research, and the American
Psychological Association was used as source material for this article.