By Carissa Ferro
The negative mental, emotional, and physical effects of stress are well known today, and there are so many systems for stress reduction out there. But which ones ask, “Is this working for you?” Interventions such as meditation or mindfulness can be highly effective when applied appropriately. But so often these methods are given as blanket recommendations and don’t acknowledge the source of people’s distress or that there may be circumstances under which certain modalities aren’t ideal or even effective.
The Resilience Toolkit is a new system of stress reduction currently offered at Cancer Support Community Pasadena. Weekly classes offer a safe place for participants to learn effective, evidence-informed strategies for relaxation and rest that help them navigate the stresses and challenges of life. The Resilience Toolkit teaches people how to identify their own unique symptoms of stress and relaxation. Resourced with this knowledge, when a person identifies stress activation, they learn to choose from The Toolkit’s menu of carefully-selected mindfulness and movement practices. These tools encourage nervous system regulation and are designed to work quickly, so people can usually determine whether or not a chosen tool is effective within moments. Through practice, people learn which tools are most effective for their particular circumstances and when to apply them for best results.
Practitioners of The Resilience Toolkit:
- Develop an embodied awareness of personal stress and relaxation physiology.
- Cultivate strategies to regulate persistent, inappropriate, and/or distressing stress symptoms.
- Build internal resources and external resilience over time.
The Resilience Toolkit is meant for all body types and is easily adaptable for any fitness level or mobility challenge. The class at CSCP is specifically geared to address the unique needs and interests of our community. Participants are gently guided through the process of developing a personal stress-reduction and resilience-building practice at a pace that works for them. They have the opportunity to learn, connect, and grow in a safe and mutually supportive environment.
The weekly class is facilitated by Cibele Sousa, MS, MA, LMFT. Cibele is passionate about her work as a body psychotherapist. She helps clients connect their body/inner strengths and their mind/rational strengths to achieve change and personal growth. She pulls from The Resilience ToolKit, Neuroaffective Touch and TRE to increase emotional and physical health. She is bilingual, fluent in Portuguese, and has a deep appreciation for multi-cultural work.