The concept of resilience refers to the idea of ​​positive adaptation and the ability to maintain mental health in the face of life's adversities and calamities. Resilience is interpreted as homeostasis, i.e. a state of self-regulated equilibrium and harmony in a system (Herrman, Stewart, Diaz-Granados et al. 2011). Other researchers associate vitality with essential elements such as meaningful/purposeful life, perseverance, endurance, self-confidence, and inner harmony (Wagnild & Young 1998, Wagnild 2014, Svence, 2016).

Various stressors are mentioned as risk factors for resilience: accidents, losses, bad relationships, negative life events, war and natural disasters, while researchers cite personal, biological and genetic as well as environmental factors, friends and family, socioeconomic factors as factors contributing to resilience. Cultural and spiritual factors, social support policies at the local government level are also important.

Various personality traits are mentioned as personal factors of resilience: openness, cognitive flexibility, extraversion, response-ability, ability to regulate emotions, knowledge-based skills (mastery), self-efficacy, self-esteem, cognitive evaluation abilities, optimism, social attraction.

The interaction of risk factors and protective factors is a homeostatic process, i.e. the opposite action of these factors tends to balance the system.

When an individual experiences different challenges, protective factors are mobilized accordingly. If the balance is not maintained, i.e. the risk factors are too strong or prolonged, but the protective factors are too weak, the imbalance of these factors may lead to various disruptions or dysfunctions, which may lead to the development of mental illness. Another path of development is possible – post-traumatic growth, prosperity. This means that systemic imbalances have been eliminated in the operation of advanced protective factors, life difficulties have been overcome, and experience has been gained, which is accompanied by greater confidence in one's abilities.

Traditionally, six core competencies of resilience are outlined, which can be developed in exercises and life experience:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to identify one's thoughts, emotions, behavior and unproductive patterns of behavior;
  2. Self-regulation – the ability to regulate impulses, thinking, emotions and behavior in order to achieve goals, desires, and well-developed ability to express emotions;
  3. Optimism – how to match good intentions towards oneself and others with reality; examples of challenging opposing beliefs/views;
  4. Mental agility – thinking flexibly and accurately, accepting perspective and willingness to try new strategies;
  5. Strengths – to identify the main strengths of oneself and others (based on the identification of one's strengths) in order to overcome challenges, achieve goals and promote the regular and sustainable use of one's strengths in reality;
  6. Connection – to build strong relationships through positive and effective communication, development of empathy and skills to ask for help and offer it to others.

Thus, the results of research by psychologists can be used to develop forms of support, thus helping people who work in different fields, including educators, to cope with the challenges of a lifetime.

Professor Guna Svence