Beyond Stress And Anxiety Management:

Building Resilience, Motivation and Effectiveness

Resilience & Effectiveness

The Brain Innovation Project. Resilience Stress and Anxiety Management Workshops. Berlin.


  • Clarity on the meaning of and different types of resilience
  • An understanding of what stress and anxiety really are (physiological and psychological) and how and why they occur
  • The capacity to transform 'managing' stress and anxiety into focused performance
  • The ability to rapidly identify and de-escalate short-term stress reactions
  • Tools to change the meaning of and reaction to stress triggers
  • Techniques to breakout of anxiety loops and discover more productive and enjoyable approaches
  • Experience of deep and rapid relaxation techniques
  • While the focus is on practice (tools), there is also an emphasis on the theory (brain) as to why and how the tools work


This is offered as an in-house course or workshop.


This is an in-person workshop. Short or introductory sessions can be done online.


This can last from a few hours (introductoy) to 3 days.


The workshop or course contents can also be reshaped and reframed around other language, such as optimal performance, self-management, motivation, etc.


A 5 minute Google search will reveal 70+ techniques for managing stress, ranging from chewing gum to practicing yoga or from getting a massage to managing your email inbox more effectively. While these might be effective at some levels, this workshop takes a different approach. We get under-the-hood and look at the engine where it all happens: the brain.

Drawing on cutting-edge insights from neuroscience and related disciplines, this workshop provides people with practical tools and techniques (‘brain-hacks’) to transform their effectiveness, motivation and well-being.

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People First

Recruiting and maintaining competent, motivated and engaged staff is probably the single most success factor of any organisation. Central to this is employee-wellbeing.

Despite the People First rhetoric, for too long the band-aid approach has been adopted, with interventions aimed at mainly at reducing the negative (e.g., Stress and Anxiety). But the real key to a healthy organisation is where people feel valued, have positive relationships with colleagues and are able to engage creatively and meaningfully in their work.

While the management practices and culture of an organisation are fundamental to employee well-being, challenges, multi-tasking and stressful situations are not going to simply disappear. In a fast-paced environment, it’s not just about helping people ‘relax’ more; which is behaviour more suitable for the beach. Rather, it is about building the competencies and mindset to flourish, even in the face of adversity.

Beyond Positive Thinking

While we all know the difference between glass half-full or half-empty thinking, if only it was so simple.

If you really want change built on solid foundations, you have to understand how you work. This means understanding how and why your brain functions the way it does, as this is where all our choices, decisions, beliefs, thoughts and actions occur. And the astonishing advances made in neuroscience over the last 30 years or so, mean that we now understand a lot about how our brains actually work in practice.

Armed with this knowledge, we can then ‘hack into’ and steer our brain’s functioning based on real understanding and underlying principles. And because we use the same brain in both our professional and private lives, it means that the impact occurs at all levels and we can discover resources, opportunities and possibilities that we did not know existed.

Our tools and techniques go way beyond simply reducing the problem. Rather, they help participants understand the underlying cognitive and biological drivers of their thoughts, responses and actions. In doing so, they are able to develop a greater sense of control, agency and autonomy. And this is what really leads to real motivation, effectiveness, performance and creativity in the workplace.

Note: At no point are participants requested to share any personal information or anything which makes them feel uncomfortable. It is a totally enjoyable and safe space. 



The below is illustrative as the precise contents included in the workshop will depend upon the length of time available and your needs and interests.

What is resilience?

While essential, resilience can also end up becoming just another buzzword with different people having distinct views as to what it really is. Indeed, the framing of ‘resilience’ is important, as it can give the impression that life only consists of being able to get up when you’ve been knocked down. In this section we explore:

  • The difference and similarities between the response to day-to-day setbacks and major life events
  • The importance of cognitive flexibility to be able to respond to different situations with the appropriate tools
  • Frameworks for thinking about resilience and the importance of gaining space between situation and response

What are Stress and Anxiety?

We tend to think that we understand what stress and anxiety are. But the reality is that many different issues get put together under the same banner, making it difficult to be clear what we are actually dealing with. This is far from an academic point: research shows that how we frame and understand stress and anxiety actually has a significant impact on our responses. In this overview we explore:

  • Definitions of stress and anxiety, including their similarities and their differences
  • Historical and cultural contexts of stress and anxiety and how this impacts upon our understanding and response
  • The costs (and benefits?) of stress and anxiety
  • The evolutionary basis of stress and anxiety
  • The underlying physiological and psychological mechanisms of stress and anxiety

Short-Term Responses

While this workshop focuses on the underlying longer-term issues, immediate stressful situations do arise and it is critical that people have the tools to be able to respond in real time. Here, tools and techniques focus on reducing the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (Fight, Flight or Freeze) and increasing the parasympathetic nervous system (Rest and Digest).

These rapid exercises include:

  • Changing underlying states
  • Breathing techniques
  • Leveraging eye movements
  • Shifting attention

Identifying and Changing Stress Triggers

While stress can seem to come from nowhere, it tends to be activated by certain triggers. These triggers are normally learned and unique to each individual. Understanding this is key to being able to reframe situations and develop alternative responses.

Topics and exercises include:

  • Understanding how the brain reacts to perceived threats
  • Understanding how and why the brain takes ‘short-cuts’ and automatically implements learned responses
  • Identifying stress triggers
  • Changing the meaning of triggers

Building In The Positive

A key part of the approach is that it is not simply about ‘reducing’ stress (getting rid of the negative), but rather replacing it with more empowering states (building in the positive). This is where stress reduction meets performance improvement.

Topics and exercises here include:

  • Helping the brain to search for new information
  • Accessing optimal states
  • Using the imagination to search for new solutions
  • Metaphors to open up new options

Breaking Out of anxiety Loops

The state of anxiety – and the response it brings – is normally worse than the issue itself. Indeed, anxiety often exists independently of any particular issue, as it becomes overwhelming and something which takes on a life of its own.

Here the focus is on breaking the anxiety loop in which people are often trapped, because it is the loop which is preventing solutions to problems from emerging.

As well as exploring how and why this happens, the focus will be on practical exercises, including:

  • The power of asking the right questions
  • Slowing down and controlling your thoughts
  • Self-talk which works

Non-Sleep Deep Relaxation Techniques

The ability to go into states of non sleep deep relaxation has been conclusively shown to have powerful regenerative power for the body and brain and to enhance cognitive performance. Indeed, many people undertake practices such as meditation or yoga precisely for this reason. But such practices are not for everyone.

Here we introduce a number of techniques which act as ‘short-cuts’ to such deep relaxation states. They are different to the other exercises in the workshop in that they are not ‘anytime/ anyplace’, since they need to be done separately or away from the immediate stressful or anxious situation (they are not in situ). Nevertheless, all of the exercises focus on simplicity and can be done in 5 – 10 minutes.

In this section, participants will also get to experience a state of profound and deep relaxation beyond which they might have previously been aware.


The word we most often hear in feedback is ‘surprising’, as things start to make sense in a way which is both intuitive and obvious at a certain level, yet entirely unexpected and different at another. 

But here are some other comments:



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