Protective Factors

The Air Force recommends maintaining a balanced lifestyle through Comprehensive Airman Fitness, or CAF. CAF encourages taking care of each other and ourselves through wellness in four domains – mental, physical, social, and spiritual. CAF can help instill or strengthen existing Protective Factors to help you cope with stress or challenges in positive ways.

Because everyone faces stress, it’s important to continually assess and strengthen those factors in your life that help you effectively cope with and overcome challenges. Protective Factors are positive behaviors and supportive connections that protect against stress. They are also an important element of suicide prevention. They include:

  • Positive relationships with family, friends, and coworkers, as well as a sense of belonging
  • Coping skills such as effective problem solving, goal setting, and knowing when to seek help
  • And practicing positive thinking or beliefs such as:
    • Acknowledging the positive aspects of a situation
    • Maintaining positive expectations for the future
    • Recognizing your ability to influence that future
    • Believing things will get better even when they are going wrong
    • Sustaining a sense of purpose or meaning in your life, and
    • Holding religious or spiritual beliefs