How to develop your resilience at work


stress resistance

Crises can cause stress and overwork – even at work. Resistance then helps: psychological resilience.

(Photo: Engin Akyurt / Unsplash)

Dusseldorf The blockade of the corona, the war in Ukraine, the fatigue at work and in private life: everyday life has been very stressful lately – and can still be. For people who are experiencing emotionally stable crises, one trait that is sought after more than ever is very important: personal resilience. But what exactly does this term mean? Do you have resilience or not? Is it possible to strengthen and develop your resilience? At work, in private, in life in general? Scientists and resilience experts provide key answers.

Definition and meaning: what is resistance?

The term ‘resistance’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilire’ or the English term ‘resistance’. It originated in the science of physics and materials. However, in the recent past, “resilience” has found in a variety of scientific disciplines, from economics to sociology and education.

Interdisciplinarity, resilience means the ability of a system to tolerate interference. Psychology understands resilience in a broad sense as an individual’s resistance to stressful life events. Denis Mourlaneas, author of Resilience – The Undiscovered Ability of a Truly Successful Man, defines resilience as “the ability of a system, including itself, to cope with a disorder that threatens its ability to function or even its very existence. “.

Definition and meaning: what describes resistance?

Denis Mourlane explains that people demonstrate resilience on three levels. In particular, resilient people facing challenges and crises face high optimism. Second, resilient people remain emotionally stable and calm even in crisis situations. Third, they remain highly goal-oriented and solution-oriented, even if the external circumstances are still very unfavorable. “To sum up: if you have a high degree of realistic optimism, a lot of calm, a high level of goal orientation, and a lot of discipline, you are often very resilient.

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What are the forms of resistance?

Depending on how a person treats stressors, there are three different variants of resistance in the psychological research literature. However, they are commonly used as synonyms. A popular, easy-to-understand explanatory model is the analogy of a tree affected by a storm. This is related to an essay published by American psychologists Stephen Lepore and Tracey Revenson in 2006. In it, the authors describe three ways in which a tree can successfully withstand such a storm:

  • Resilience as (stress) resilience: Tree trunks and branches can be so massive that a storm can’t damage them, they just stay motionless. It is transferred to the human psyche: the misfortunes that surround it do not affect it at all and cannot impair mental stability. This form of resistance is usually used in this term.
  • Resistance as regeneration: The tree trunk and branches are not strong enough to withstand the storm, but will return to their original shape after the storm. So they will be shaken and bent for a short time, but not in the long run. Transferred to the human psyche: The stress factor puts a strain on a resilient person for a short time, but after a while he returns to normal daily life and is mentally stable.
  • Resilience as reconfiguration: Tree trunks and branches are not strong enough to withstand a storm. However, as the storm subsided, they took on a new shape that reduces the surface area where wind gusts could attack in the future. Transferred to the human psyche: People with this form of resilience adapt during or after stress, changing their behavior or thinking structures to cope with similar experiences in the future without greater psychological stress. .

Is resistance innate in humans?

“At least what we call ‘great emotional stability’ in everyday speech …”

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