Resilience – How to strengthen the immune system of your mind

Nobody knows the stresses of everyday clinical prac-tice better than you: increasing workloads, deadlines, mounting complexity and economic pressure… Discussions within the interdisciplinary team and the needs of patients are also a constant drain on your energy reserves. This makes it all the more important for you to find effective ways out of this spiral of stress. 

There are, however, people who are particularly efficient under high pressure and who can handle the most difficult situations with ease. Typical of such people is that they are in harmony with themselves and respond in a balanced way when dealing with their patients, thus allowing them to confidently meet the challenges of day-to-day clinical work. Put succinctly, they are ‘resilient’. But what is the secret of such mental resilience?

What does resilience mean?

Resilience comes from Latin and more or less means ‘to bounce back’. In materials science, materials such as rubber that return to their original state after extreme stress are termed resilient. Applied to people, this means those that are resilient have the mental strength to cope with stress, pressure, crises, defeats and misfortune without suffering negative effects. Resilient people have the ability to cope well with stressful situations and make the best of them – no matter how burdensome they are.

Robustness, tolerance to stress and resilience differ significantly from person to person – and everyone has developed different strategies for coping over the course of their lives. It’s important to note that resilience is not something you’re born with or learn just once. Anyone can learn, strengthen and promote their own resilience at any time in their lives. Resilience is a lifelong, dynamic process.

There are various models and approaches to describing resilience – below is an overview of the key factors:


Changes, crises and misfortune are part of life, and resilient people are able to accept situations and focus on the matters that they can change themselves.
Tip: permit your feelings, such as sadness, frustration and anger, to express themselves, but don’t let them determine your life. Those who can accept a crisis can better determine whether it can be changed and what can be changed.


An optimistic view of life and looking brightly into the future are able to strengthen resilience. This does not mean that reality should be denied, but rather look to the future with confidence. Optimistic people tend to focus on the good things and trust that things will get better in times of difficulty.
An important point: don’t think about everything that is going badly or hasn’t been done. Reflect on the moments of the day that made you feel positive. Each day, write down three things that did you good and for which you’re thankful. Tell others about these. If there’s a trusting relationship among colleagues, make the most of it through a fun team exercise. (more tips in the download)


Resilient people believe in their own abilities and competence. They innately believe that they can successfully cope with challenges. They’re convinced that they owe their successes to themselves and not to luck or chance.
The good news: self-efficacy can be strengthened! It’s helpful to regularly make a note of the things you can be proud of – and it’s best to do this daily. These could be big achievements for example, but also very small steps forward. In cases of self-doubt, the above method helps you to consciously remind yourself of successes and positive feedback from others.


Those who are resilient actively stand up for their own needs. It’s important to face up to things in life and to not suppress them or adopt a victim mentality. If we know our needs and wishes, we can express them instead of waiting for them to be met without communication.
In everyday life, make it a habit to purposefully do something at least once a day to make yourself happy. It’s best to make a list of things that do you good – you can then quickly pull that out if the going gets tough.

Personal responsibility

An important factor is knowing that others are not to blame for everything. Resilience means accepting responsibility for yourself and your own actions and taking the initiative, actively shaping your ideas and wishes. When we realise that we ourselves are the decisive force in our lives and that external influences and crises only play a role to a limited extent, we regain our capability to act.
A mental aid: the next time you’re in a difficult situation, don’t see yourself as part of the problem but as part of the solution.

Make connections

An important factor in times of crisis are friendships, our social surroundings and the professional environment among colleagues. Such a network provides emotional support in difficult times and is particularly valuable when we need advice, feedback and mental or hands-on support. Resilient people are capable of asking for and accepting help in difficult situations.
Tip: surround yourself with people who do you good. Be aware of the people in your inner circle. Who gives you energy and who mainly takes it away? On this basis, make a conscious decision about which connections you want to deepen and which people you’d be better to distance yourself from.


Instead of looking for the problem, resilient people focus on finding the solution. They actively deal with challenges and take specific steps to solve problems. The ability to find solutions helps to strengthen resilience.
Caution: people who frequently talk about problems magnify such problems in their minds. Focus on what you’re able to do. If you think about realistic solutions and take action, you will find them.


The path to resilience is a process that can be learnt and should be approached step by step. Read the download ‘Eight tips on how to learn optimism!’ to find out how you can train yourself to think positively.


Document with Eight tips on how to learn optimism!

To the document



Stark durch die Krise: Mein 30-Tage-Kurs

Dr. Johannes Wimmer
Gräfe und Unzer, 2021


The Mountain is you: Wie du Selbstsabotage erkennen und überwinden kannst

Brianna Wiest
Piper, 2022


How Did I Get Here? Traveling The Road To Resilience

Andrew Fitzgerald
Fitzy's Branded Books, 2023


Chasing the Bright Side: Embrace Optimism, Activate Your Purpose, and Write Your Own Story

Jess Ekstrom
Thomas Nelson, 2019


La Résilience

Rosette Poletti
Jouvence, 2020


RÉSILIENCE: Abandonner n'est pas une option

Loury Lag
E/P/A, 2023


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