What the caterpillar calls the end,
the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher
I will explain a few notions of resilience on this site because there is no universal definition of the concept. At the same time, I would like to invite you to explore this topic further and create your own definition of resilience. Doing so can help you reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
Many specialist publications categorize resilience as a form of mental and emotional durability that people demonstrate when confronted with mental, psychosocial, and biological development risk factors. Some people describe resilience informally as an “ability to bounce back.” Others tend to use scientific designations and refer to resilience as a stable personality characteristic or a trait with a relational nature.
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
Generally speaking, resilience designates a certain ability to cope with unexpected, unpleasant occurrences and developments in life. It also refers to a person’s willingness to give crises a chance to bear fruit, as opposed to focusing on their negative aspects, which can be a great source of strength.
Of course, resilience does not eliminate crises or their possible effects, much as a good raincoat does not make a storm go away. However, like a good raincoat, resilience can help people weather stormy times and shake off some of the rain that bears down upon them. Much as storms leave behind signs of their presence even in mighty forests, crises do not leave resilient people unchanged. However, resilient people are like the trees that manage to keep most of their leaves and branches despite the wind and rain.
Resilient like a Bow
Bows are ideal metaphors for resilience: when archers pull back their arrows, they subject their bows to stress. However, once the arrows have been released, the bows always return to their original form—provided they have been properly cared for.
Archers need to make sure their bows can return to their customary shapes as efficiently as possible so that they are ready for the next target. When this is the case, the bows are also ready to be subject to significant stress again. The same is true of humans: people who invest time and energy in their resilience can recover more efficiently from physical and mental stress.
Like good bows, people with well-developed resilience can experience a series of stressors yet remain strong and retain their ability to perform. Additionally, much as bows release their arrows and send them flying towards targets, many resilient people find it easier to let go and reach their goals, even when they are under stress.
Let go and
enjoy resilience with L.o.S.
Biographical and genetic factors influence the formation of each individual’s resilience. However, individuals can play an active and purposeful role in developing their resilience by training this skill.
Every crisis or difficult situation offers humans an opportunity to strengthen their resilience. In the end, we acquire resilience by mastering stressful situations. Nonetheless, engaging in targeted resilience training (outside of difficult situations as well) is a good idea for several reasons.
Actively training your resilience fortifies you for future difficult situations in your life, even if you already had the opportunity to develop a certain degree of resilience. After all, some of your resilience factors (addressed below) may be more strongly developed than others. If you further develop the weaker factors as well, you will be even better equipped to cope with stress and difficult situations.
If you feel that you have not had many chances to develop your resilience, you can actively train this skill and learn strategies to help you navigate difficult situations and handle problems.
Purposefully training resilience can also help you learn from the next difficult situation in your life. Even if you have already experienced several such situations, the approaches and perspectives that you will encounter when completing resilience exercises will give you new guiding principles and points of reference.
A crisis can be a productive state.
You simply need to remove the aftertaste of catastrophe.
Max Frisch, Swiss author and architect
Resilience training at L.o.S. is based on the German LOOVANZ concept, which includes the following resilience factors:
- “Lösungsorientierung” – looking for solutions
- “Optimusmus” – cultivating optimism
- “Opferrolle verlassen” – refusing to feel like a victim
- “Verantwortung übernehmen” – assuming responsibility
- „Akzeptanz“ – practicing acceptance
- “Netzworkorientierung” – networking skills
- “Zukunftsplanung und Zielorientierung“ – planning for the future and working towards goals
Engaging in a combination of group work and individual sessions is recommended because many people benefit from both a group dynamic and approaches that are tailored to address their individual situations. You can find resilience training programs from L.o.S. on the courses page.
Please note that all programs offered by L.o.S. are prevention programs. They are not intended to serve as crisis intervention or therapy.