Welcome to Healing Garden TV! - Today I ask the question: "What is salutogenesis?". 'Salut' means health and 'genesis' is coming into being or becoming. So the question is how health is created and how it is maintained.
I think if health had been preserved, then the question would not arise at all. So we ask about the restoration of health. And once we have restored it, how can health be further enhanced?
Does health mean that we have no symptoms of illness or does health perhaps also mean something positive? - Can we have joy in life, can we have life energy, can we have extraordinary experiences? Can we live a unique life? At the end of our lives, can we say something to ourselves like:
"I have rocked the fucking shit! - I have given everything, I have done everything, I have no regrets". Maybe that could be health too. Before I digress I will briefly explain where the term salutogenesis comes from.
Aaron Antonovsky, an Israeli medical sociologist, studied Holocaust survivors in the seventies. To his great surprise, he found the following:
About one third of the women he studied were in the best of mental and physical health. And this despite the fact that they had been exposed to the most severe traumatic experiences in their lives.
Whereas others had taken their own lives or suffered from serious illnesses related to the traumatic experiences. So Antonovsky wondered what these people might have done. What makes them different from each other. What are the factors that make people healthy, keep them healthy? What distinguishes one from the other?
This is how he arrived at the model of salutogenesis, which since then has increasingly found its way into modern medicine. He came up with the term 'sense of coherence'. This is not a model! It's something that each of us carries around with us.
As long as my life is meaningful, as long as there is a perceived sense of meaning, as long as the conditions for health are in place. As soon as this meaning is existentially challenged by stressors, when I have extremely negative experiences, my sense of coherence is challenged.
This can also be bullying at work, it can be a corrosive marriage, a stressor can be all kinds of things. Stressors emerge and these stressors are countered by our resources. As long as our resources prevail, we stay in the coherence zone and the conditions for health are maintained. We can then probably keep our heads above water because our bodies are naturally healthy, or at least capable of health.
But if stressors now gain the upper hand, then our sense of coherence is disturbed and the conditions for illness are created. - It's quite simple! We just have to understand it! Then we have to consistently eliminate the stressors and continuously work on them, build up resources. Then our sense of coherence increases and then I am also healthy.
What resources are there now? There are all kinds of health resources. Good relationships, a spiritual practice, healthy eating, etc. One particular resource that I have found for myself, and which is also at the core of my business, which is 'Adaptogens'. -
What adaptogens are, I'll tell you next time! Subscribe now to the Healing Garden Newsletter and keep learning more about salutogenesis.