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What is Resiliency?

What is Resiliency?

'Resilience' is on everyone's lips. Whether in medicine, business or environmental protection, the word is often overused as a term for resilience. In material science, substances are resilient, which return to their original state even after great tension, such as rubber.

At the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna Resilience is described as "the ability of a system to maintain its basic functions in the face of crises or shocks." Corina Wustmann, Professor of Educational Psychology at the PH Zurich, says: "The term resilience is derived from the English word 'resilience' (Resilience, resilience, elasticity) and generally describes the ability of a person or a social system to successfully deal with stressful living conditions and the negative consequences of stress.”*

Money machine resilience

Among other things, the concept contains the conviction that inner resilience and resilience can be trained or learned. Coaches, advisors and co. were not long in coming with special workshops and training courses for private individuals and companies. Psychologists Sarah Forbes from the University of Waterloo and Deniz Fikretoglu from the Toronto Research Center evaluated 92 scientific studies that described resilience training. The result is sobering: the majority of these training courses were not based on scientific resilience concepts, but proceeded more or less without any theoretical foundation. The analysis also found that there were hardly any differences in content between existing training courses, such as anti-stress training, and many newly developed resilience training courses.

A big misconception in popular science is that resilience is a personality trait that everyone can acquire individually. Anyone who cannot tolerate pressure at work or becomes ill when stressed is their own fault. "This perspective leads to a certain overconfidence and negates the fact that there are situations that an individual cannot cope with and that resilience is not always feasible for everyone," writes Marion Sonnenmoser in Deutsches Ärzteblatt. After all, resilience in humans depends on many factors that cannot be influenced by the individual. The social environment, experienced crises and trauma or financial security are just a few of them.

In this context, Werner Stangl warns in the 'Online Encyclopedia for Psychology and Education' against a "psychologization of social problems", because "instead of encouraging collective action, people are made to believe that everything could be better if they were only more resilient themselves."

In medicine, resilience shows possible therapeutic approaches despite all the criticism. In 2018, Francesca Färber and Jenny Rosendahl from the University Hospital Jena found in a large-scale meta-study: "The stronger the resilience in physical illnesses, the fewer psychological stress symptoms the affected person shows." provide support. In ecology, resilience concepts play a role, for example in connection with biodiversity and climate change. For example, work is being done on breeding particularly resilient plants and resilient ones ecosystems designed.

Photo / Video: Shutterstock.

Written by Karin Bornett

Freelance journalist and blogger in the Community option. Technology-loving Labrador smoking with a passion for village idyll and a soft spot for urban culture.

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