Can personal resilience be elevated and activated?

February 17, 2014

What is resilience?


Resilience is the ability to avoid, overcome or adapt to adverse circumstances.

In psychology literature it is defined as the ability of an individual to bounce back after excessive stress.


Health sciences are interested in resilience relating to individual mental- and physical well-being and tend to neglect how interactions with wider society, influences on our ability to overcome adversity.


In order to get the full view of personal resilience, however, we must look at it from an individual perspective and incorporate wider community influences.

In other words resilience must be looked upon as a multi-dimensional concept made up of personal, social and physical resources.

In this multi-dimensional approach we work with internal factors and external factors. The core component of the internal factors is that individual cognition affects emotions, physical reactions and, in turn, behaviour.

The external factors refers to the environment component which encompasses both professional and personal relationships as well as family, community and society.


The components of resilience described above are dynamic. This means, that resilience can be learned, elevated and activated in anyone.


The process of building resilience is a personal journey. Focusing on personal values, past experiences and sources of personal strength can be part of this personal journey and thus help you learn what strategies you might use in developing your personal resilience.


One simple approach is to assess what activities that boost your energy and well-being and get a few more of them in your calendar every week.


Ulrik Søgaard

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