When it’s more than just stress.
Stress can become so intense that it overwhelms our systems. This is trauma.
When we sense that our safety, security, and survival are under threat, our brains react with alarm, initiating lightning fast changes in virtually every body system. Many of these changes are similar to what happens during the stress response, but the magnitude is dramatically increased because the stakes are higher. We are ready to fight or flee whatever is threatening us, but if there is no way out, our bodies will freeze, fold, and collapse to survive. Once the danger is past, our bodies will discharge all of that survival energy and reset to baseline.
However, in cases where trauma is ongoing, there may be no opportunity to allow the natural completion of the trauma cycle, causing persistent activation and looping of stress-trauma symptoms.
How does traumatic stress affect us?
- Severe, persistent emotional problems
- Health risk and self-harming behaviors – smoking, alcohol and drug use, overeating, cutting, suicide
- Physical disease and disability
- Relationship difficulties
- Work, financial, and legal difficulties
- Poor life expectancy
So how can I decrease stress and increase resilience?
The Resilience Toolkit
The Resilience Toolkit consists of a suite of movement and mindfulness tools that help you develop an embodied understanding of your stress and relaxation cycles. With this knowledge, you can effectively choose from The Toolkit menu of carefully selected practices that quiet stress activation. These simple and quick practices build internal awareness and focus attention on positive aspects of your experience to settle your nervous system. One of the most powerful tools in The Toolkit is the therapeutic tremor, which is not only a key aspect of several ancient healing systems, but modern research has shown the therapeutic tremor’s significant measurable benefits.
The Resilience Toolkit supports your new knowledge and skills by applying scientifically supported methods to help you develop a robust and sustainable practice to effect real positive change over time.
Origin of The Resilience Toolkit
The Resilience Toolkit was developed by Nkem Ndefo through many years of work as a traditional and complementary healthcare provider and advocate serving a wide range of people, communities, and organizations. She saw the need for affordable and accessible tools to effectively address the epidemic of toxic stress that is a root cause of so much suffering.
Utilizing recent developments in the neurobiological understanding of stress and the bi-directional relationship between mind and body, she curated a select group of evidence-based and promising stress reduction practices. However she felt it was crucial to embed these practices in a framework that honors people’s cultural and historical experiences, and empowers them with flexible and practical solutions.
Benefits of the practices in The Resilience Toolkit include:
- Decreased stress and burnout
- Improved emotional regulation
- Less anxiety and depression
- Relief of chronic pain
- Enhanced attention and focus
- Increased self-awareness and self-acceptance
- Improved quality of life
- More research
I very much enjoyed learning the simple yet effective body-based techniques taught in The Resilience Toolkit. Just a few motions and a few minutes to reset to a more balanced body and mind has very much helped soothe my day to day stresses and irritations.
I highly recommend The Resilience Toolkit. Nkem Ndefo has synthesized her vast experiences and expertise to present multiple practices, appropriate at various levels of nervous system activation, for the cultivation of resilience. The work is presented with a trustworthy gentleness and honors one's response to various forms of mindfulness and tremoring. I found the workshop very educational and instructive, and walked away with a better understanding of and access to vital resources for myself and others, in my work as a social worker.
The Resilience Toolkit helped shift my paradigm from pathology to non-judgement. The acknowledgment of innate biological states and the tools offered to downregulate the nervous system are very profound. Although this information was not new to me, the way it was presented created a shift for me. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and yoga for years and I see now that this trauma-informed piece had been missing
I feel less tense and anxious. I feel more clear in my view of life as fun and engaging. I feel freer to be more of who I am. I am less afraid.