fbpx Skip to main content

The Resilience Toolkit

Simple, accessible, effective.

There are so many systems for stress reduction out there.

But which ones ask, “Is this working for you?”

The Resilience Toolkit teaches you to recognize your own stress and relaxation cycles. You’ll understand when your stress is helping or harming you. You’ll learn how to choose from a menu of quick, effective stress-reduction tools. And you’ll build your new skills into deep, lasting habits.

The Resilience Toolkit establishes a new framework for regulating stress and nervous system activation while offering scientifically supported methods to help people develop robust and sustainable practice habits to effect real positive change over time.

Our approach to stress, trauma, & resilience is grounded in research.

Grounded in theory and a social justice context, The Resilience Toolkit utilizes carefully curated evidence-based and promising stress reduction practices. These mindfulness and movement skills promote embodied self-awareness, nervous system and emotional regulation, and interpersonal connection.

There are significant measurable benefits to the practices in The Toolkit.

Mindfulness Benefits

  • Decreased stress and burnout
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Relief of chronic pain
  • Enhanced attention and focus

Movement Benefits

  • Improved emotional regulation
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Fosters resilience

Breathwork Benefits

  • Decreased anxiety and stress
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved body awareness

Therapeutic Tremor Benefits

  • Improved quality of life
  • Decreased trauma symptoms
  • Decreased burnout

The Toolkit empowers people with an intersectional framework to identify their own stress cycles, confidently implement appropriate regulation skills in a way that honors cultural and historical experiences, and effectively builds resilience over time.

When people are more relaxed and resilient they have an increased capacity for human connection and creative problem-solving. Equipped with effective strategies for self-regulation and recovery, Toolkit users are able to sustainably work towards positive change for themselves, their families, and their communities.


Learn the Toolkit

  • Find a workshop or event
  • Connect with a Certified Facilitator to learn privately
  • Schedule an organizational consult with a Certified Facilitator
Start Now


Get Certified

Become a Certified Facilitator of The Resilience Toolkit.

Learn More


Origins – As a project of Lumos Transforms, The Resilience Toolkit was developed by Nkem Ndefo through many years of work as a traditional and complementary healthcare provider and advocate. While serving a wide range of people, communities, and organizations, Nkem 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. 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.

References for the core elements of The Resilience Toolkit

Embodiment and mindfulness and movement practices

  • Artigas, L. & Jarero, I. (2014). The butterfly hug method for bilateral stimulation. Retrieved from http://emdrresearchfoundation.org/toolkit/butterfly-hug.pdf
  • Barrett, L. F., & Satpute, A. B. (2013). Large-scale brain networks in affective and social neuroscience: towards an integrative functional architecture of the brain. Current Opinion In Neurobiology, 23(3), 361-372. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2012.12.012
  • Berceli, D., Salmon, M., Bonifas, R., & Ndefo, N. (2014), Effects of self-induced unclassified tremors on quality of life among non-professional caregivers: A pilot study. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 3(5), 45-48.
  • Chen, Y., Huang, X., Chien, C., & Cheng, J. (2016). The effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training for reducing anxiety. Perspectives In Psychiatric Care, doi:10.1111/ppc.12184
  • Cross-Villasana, F., Gröpel, P., Doppelmayr, M., & Beckmann, J. (2015). Unilateral left-hand contractions produce widespread depression of cortical activity after their execution. Plos One, 10(12), e0145867. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145867
  • De Waal, F. M., & Preston, S. D. (2017). Mammalian empathy: behavioural manifestations and neural basis. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 18(8), 498-509. doi:10.1038/nrn.2017.72
  • Johnson, S. & Naidoo, A. (2017). Can evolutionary insights into the brain’s response to threat suggest different group interventions for perceived stress and burnout of teachers in high-risk schools? South African Journal of Psychology. doi: 10.1177/0081246316675588
  • Kirmayer, L. J. (2015). Mindfulness in cultural context. Transcultural Psychiatry, 52(4), 447-469. doi:10.1177/1363461515598949
  • Kiverstein, J., & Miller, M. (2015). The embodied brain: Towards a radical embodied cognitive neuroscience. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, 9237. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00237
  • Payne, P., Levine, P. A., & Crane-Godreau, M. A. (2015). Somatic experiencing: using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers In Psychology, 693. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093
  • Schmalzl, L., Crane-Godreau, M. A., & Payne, P. (2014). Movement-based embodied contemplative practices: definitions and paradigms. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, 8205. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00205
  • Shafir, R., Thiruchselvam, R., Suri, G., Gross, J. J., & Sheppes, G. (2016). Neural processing of emotional-intensity predicts emotion regulation choice. Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience, 11(12), 1863-1871.
  • Tang, Y., Hölzel, B. K., & Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 16(4), 213-225. doi:10.1038/nrn3916
  • Van den Hout, M. A., & Engelhard, I. M. (2012). How does EMDR work? Journal Of Experimental Psychopathology, 3(5), 724-738. doi:10.5127/jep.028212
  • Vlemincx, E. (2014). Inhalation/exhalation ratio modulates the effect of slow breathing on heart rate variability and relaxation. Applied Psychophysiology And Biofeedback, 39(3-4), 171-180. doi:10.1007/s10484-014-9253-x

Stress-relaxation cycle and allostasis

  • Cantor, C. (2009). Post-traumatic stress disorder: evolutionary perspectives. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43, 1038-1048.
  • Corrigan, F. M., Fisher, J. J., & Nutt, D. J. (2011). Autonomic dysregulation and the window of tolerance model of the effects of complex emotional trauma. Journal Of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 17-25. doi:10.1177/0269881109354930
  • Kozlowska, K., Walker, P., McLean, L., & Carrive, P. (2015). Fear and the Defense Cascade: Clinical Implications and Management. Harvard Review Of Psychiatry, 23(4), 263-287. doi:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000065
  • Levine, P. (2010). In an unspoken voice. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic.
  • McEwan, B. S., Seeman, T., & Allostatic Load Working Group.  (2009). Allostatic load notebook. In MacArthur Research Network on SES & Health. Retrieved from http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/research/allostatic/allostatic.php
  • Porges, S. W. (2011). The polyvagal theory: Neurophysiological foundations of emotions, attachment, communication, and self-regulation. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
  • Taylor, S. E. (2006). Tend and Befriend: Biobehavioral Bases of Affiliation Under Stress. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 15(6), 273-277.
  • Wood, W., & Eagly, A. H. (2012). Biosocial construction of sex differences and similarities in behavior. In J. M. Olson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 46, pp. 55–123). London: Elsevier.

Behavior change theory and practice

  • Fogg, B. J., & Hreha, J. (2010, June). Behavior wizard: A method for matching target behaviors with solutions. In International Conference on Persuasive Technology (pp. 117-131). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
  • Prochaska, J. O., & Velicer, W. F. (1997). The transtheoretical model of health behavior change. American Journal of Health Promotion, 12(1), 38-48.
  • National Cancer Institute. (2005). Theory at a glance: A guide for health promotion practice (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health.
  • Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing: Helping people change (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Resilience theory and practice

  • Hart, H., Gagnon, E., Eryigit-Madzwamuse, S., Cameron, J., Aranda, K., Rathbone, A., & Heaver, B. (2016). Uniting resilience research and practice with an inequalities approach.  SAGE Open, 1-13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244016682477
  • Southwick, S. M., Bonanno, G. A., Masten, A. S., Panter-Brick, C., & Yehuda, R. (2014). Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: Interdisciplinary perspectives. European Journal Of Psychotraumatology, 5
  • Zijlstra, F. H., Cropley, M., & Rydstedt, L. W. (2014). From recovery to regulation: an attempt to reconceptualize ‘recovery from work’. Stress And Health: Journal Of The International Society For The Investigation Of Stress, 30(3), 244-252. doi:10.1002/smi.2604

Social ecological and intersectional theory and practice

  • Adler, N. E., Stewart, J., et al. (2007). Reaching for a healthier life: Facts on socioeconomic status and health in the U.S. The John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health.
  • Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299.
  • Kaplan, G. A., Everson, S. A., & Lynch, J. W. (2001). The contribution of social and behavioral research to an understanding of the distribution of disease: A multilevel approach. In Institute of Medicine, B. D. Smedley & S. L. Lyme (Eds.), Promoting health: intervention strategies from social and behavioral research (pp. 37-80). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  • Heart, M. B., Chase, J., Elkins, J., & Altschul, D. B. (2011). Historical trauma among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas: Concepts, research, and clinical considerations. Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs, 43(4), 282-290.

Trauma-informed practice and cultural humility

  • Chavez, V. (2012, August 2). Cultural humility: People, principles, and practices – Part 1 of 4. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mbu8bvKb_U&feature=youtu.be
  • Herman, J. (2015). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror (1r ed.). New York, NY: Basic.
  • Los Angeles County Trauma- and Resiliency-Informed Systems Change Initiative. (2017). Trauma and resiliency: A systems change approach. Los Angeles, CA: Author.
  • Ogden, P., & Fisher, J. (2015). Sensorimotor psychotherapy: Interventions for trauma and attachment. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). SAMHSA’s concept of trauma and guidance for a trauma-informed approach. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4884. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Who’s used The Resilience Toolkit?

  • City of Los Angeles
    • Gang Reduction Youth Development Program
  • First 5 Los Angeles
  • Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic
  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
    • Trauma Prevention Initiative
  • Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department
  • Loyola Marymount University
    • Psychology Applied Research Center
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
    • Global Disaster Response Team
  • McMaster-Carr
  • Nomad Hotel
  • Outdoor Afro
  • Oxnard Elementary School District
  • Pomona Unified School District
  • St John’s Well Child and Family Center
  • Stars Behavioral Health Group
  • UC Berkeley
  • United Institute for Peace
    • Middle East and Africa Center

Contact Us

to find out more about The Resilience Toolkit