Resilience: Why does stress make some people sick and hardly disturb others?

Resilience: Why does stress make some people sick and hardly disturb others?

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Resilience: Why some people put up with stress better than others
Permanent stress at work can make you sick. The permanent stress in the job leads to more and more sick leave due to mental illness. But why do some employees get sick while other colleagues seem to cope with the stress much better? The German Resilience Center (DRZ) in Mainz is trying to find out.

Why does stress make some sick and others not?
The number of days off due to depression and other mental illnesses increases every year. One reason for this is seen in the increasing workload. But the stress that employees are exposed to is often the same for individual colleagues. Nevertheless, one gets sick, but the other does not. Why is that?

Resources to deal with burdens
This question is addressed at the German Resilience Center (DRZ) in Mainz, the only research center in Germany that it claims to be about mental resistance to stress. “We assume that people and communities have multiple resources to deal with stress and strain. The effect of such protective and self-healing powers manifests itself in the best case in the phenomenon of resilience, ”the experts write on their website.

Factors to promote resilience
“Resilience exists when individuals do not or only temporarily fall ill despite major mental or physical stress. Focusing on mechanisms that underlie resilience and promoting them in a targeted manner promises important impulses for psychiatric research and opens up new opportunities for those affected. ”Several factors for promoting resilience have already been identified. These include character traits, cognitive skills and social support.

How the body processes stress
The biochemist Professor Beat Lutz from the Institute of Physiological Chemistry at the University Medical Center Mainz was involved in the foundation of the DRZ. The scientist has been dealing with the inherent processes in the brain for years, such as the functioning of memory and the question of how the body processes stress.

Think positive
In a message from the dpa news agency, Lutz said: "We want to develop a framework that does not describe a list of resilience factors, but rather brings a system into research that describes generally effective resilience mechanisms." In his opinion, positive thinking is likely one of the factors that prevents people from reacting vulnerably in the event of stress. This is the counter term to resilient, where psychological and neurological protective mechanisms against stress become active.

Messenger substances that act like hashish
For 55 years, the 55-year-old expert has been researching endocannabinoids, the body's own messenger substances that have a similar effect to hashish and can activate protective mechanisms in the brain - for example, by dampening reactions and thus creating a balance between different arousal states. In this way, they can also be a factor in resilience. "Prevention instead of therapy is our concern," says Lutz. "We want to identify problems before they break out."

Given the high cost of stress-related illnesses such as burnout syndrome, anxiety and depression, it would also make economic sense to prevent in good time. "Resilience is not born in the cradle," explained Lutz. "This is a dynamic process, you can learn that."

Can you learn resilience?
This is also the opinion of the social scientist Andreas Marschel from the Unternehmer Akademie. In a conversation with “” on the subject of crisis management at the workplace, he said when asked whether resilience can be learned: “Yes, in fact it is possible to have human behavior, basics of communication, an inner attitude and systemic To learn to think. "

Stress experiences in real life
Researchers approach the secret of resilience in very different ways. In a long-term study that is now beginning, around 1,200 people will be accompanied for at least four years in order to record their stress experiences in real life and analyze them together with psychological and neurological factors. "This is a novelty worldwide," said Lutz about this research project.

"Sharpen your eyes for your own strengths"
According to the dpa, animal experiments are also part of the researchers' instruments - for example with a zebrafish that is exposed to simulated bird attacks or a mouse that is stressed with attacks by a stronger mouse. It can be investigated whether individual genes, neural networks or certain neurotransmitter systems as carriers of information support resilience.

In the new school year, research into resilience will also be the subject of two high schools in Bad Dürkheim and Nieder-Olm. As Sandra Volz, teacher at the Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium in Bad Dürkheim, explained, the pupils could become familiar with scientific work. However, it is not a stated goal of the project to strengthen their own resilience. "However, an insight into this topic can lead to an occupation with oneself and sharpen one's eyes for one's own strengths."

Relaxation exercises to reduce stress
Resilience has to prove itself in working life, for example, "when a boss is very busy and very stressful," explained Lutz. "Then we have the same situation as with the mice - it is clear that you then avoid such a boss and want nothing to do with him." Often, targeted relaxation can help to cope with the stress at work
("Https://") to cope better. In this context, health experts often recommend methods such as yoga or progressive muscle relaxation that can help reduce stress. (ad)

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Video: STRESS: Why some people burn out and others thrive - deconstructing Resilience (June 2022).