Salus – (lat.) wellbeing, integrity, happiness / Genesis – (Greek) origin / Salutogenesis = genesis of health
What generates health? What makes us move in the direction of health? These simple and original questions created an opening to a new way of thinking in health research. It was raised in the late 1970ies by Aaron Antonovsky, a medical sociologist interested in stress.
Salutogenesis examines the creation of wellbeing by looking at successfulcoping strategies and health. In this respect the salutogenic orientation is opposed to the pathogenic orientation, which focuses on the particular diagnosed disease entity. Salutogenesis examines the underlying social constructs, the broader picture, in order to both define the problem and to search for coping resources or mechanisms.
The River of Life. Note the vertical right hand flow in the direction of life towards wellbeing and Quality of life. The image includes the health continuum H- to H+, R stands for Risk and Resource.
The River of Life
The river flows vertically across your view. Along the front side of the river, there is a continuous waterfall following the whole stretch of the river meaning wherever you are there is always a possibility to encounter risks, disease and death. However, the main flow and direction of the river is not down the waterfall but running vertically in the direction of life. At birth, we drop into the river and float with the stream and over life learn howto swim. Some are born at easewhere the river flows gently, where there is time to learn, where one can float and the prerequisites for life are good with many resources at disposal, like being born in a welfare society. Others are born close to the waterfall, at dis-ease, where the struggle for survival is hard and the risk of going over the rim is much greater. The river, just like life, is full of risks and resources, however, our outcome is based on our orientation and learning through our life experiences thus acquiring an ability to identify and use the resources necessary to improve our options for a better health and ultimately life. Over time the experience of a risk can eventually developinto a resource, risk and resource thus become relative concepts. The health process can be seen as a life-long-learning process where we reflect on what will create health and what are the options for life and improves quality of lives. If we never ask these questions we never know the answers and never learn. (source: Lindström B. Eriksson M. The Hitchhiker ́s Guide to Salutogenesis)
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”