Dr. Kate Truitt & Associates

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For Overcoming Worry

Creating Gratitude for a Fresh Start in 2021

Let’s start 2021 off with a practice in building gratitude and cultivating resilience. In this video Dr. Kate explores the benefits of practicing gratitude while introducing an easy exercise to help make gratitude a daily habit.

Exercises for Living with Mindful Gratitude

Making gratitude a daily habit is proven to reduce stress. Adding in the superpower of mindfulness can literally change the way your brain experiences the world. Mindfulness allows you to pay attention in a certain way, allowing everything in your life to be different from anyone else’s. Mindfulness brings unique awareness to your experiences.  It can be used in your sensory experiences as well as your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to notice those experiences without overreacting to them. Join Dr. Kate and Rebecca Turner, LMFT, in this video to learn more and find easy ways to integrate mindful gratitude into your daily life.

A Guided Meditation to Connect with Gratitude

In this healing in your hands meditation Dr. Kate Truitt invites you to deepen your relationship with gratitude and the magnificence of the biological mechanism that is your body.  In these deeply complicated times, stress and tension have become our normal way of being. Let’s set 2021 up for success by connecting with gratitude.

Living with intention and participating actively in how your brain and body are making sense of the world has the ability override the brain’s hard wiring to find the threats to survival. Through intentionally moving into relationship with our body we are empowered to deepen our felt sense of safety and enhance calm and tranquility. We carry the power for self-healing in our hands.

Take a moment for self-care in this guided self-healing in your hands meditation utilizing mindfulness, neuroplasticity, breath work, and the self-havening touch to reduce tension and move into a state of embodied awareness.

Coping w/ Unhealthy Coping Skills - Turning Inward With Compassion and Curiosity

In this video Dr. Kate invites us to assess our current coping skills with openness and curiosity.  How are you doing these days? Are you feeling the feels? Or numbing out? Are you in relationship with your mind and body? Are you doing a little more eating these days? Drinking? Smoking? Working?

Do you have self-compassion for the choices you’re making these days in order to support your system to disconnect from the difficult moments?  Uncertainty, stress, and worry are abundant right now. Our mind, and especially our dear friend Amy the Amygdala, will consistently do whatever it can to reduce the experience of pain. Relying more heavily on external methods of coping—substances, food, overworking, sleeping, and more—is common.

Let’s get lovingly curious about our choices and explore if what we’re doing in the “now” aligns with what we want for the future.

Welcoming Self-Compassion into Your Holiday Season with Dr. Kate Truitt

Join Dr. Kate and Rebecca to explore how to welcome self-compassion into your Holiday season. In this video you will learn two quick exercises to help you connect with your inherent sense of self-love, compassion, and caring and to share these experiences with the world around you.

In this video Rebecca and Dr. Kate also discuss the Creating Possibilities exercise and self-healing. You can learn more about these powerful resiliency building tools here:

Building Resilience and Creating Possibilities
https://youtu.be/vKFv0ZyBoOg

A Guided Meditation for Creating Possibilities with Neuroplasticity https://youtu.be/dp56NUvJAvk

Welcoming Gratitude Throughout the New Year

By Dr. Kate Truitt

As December 31, 2020 came and went and we began moving forward into the possibilities of 2021, all of us heard much bashing of the old year, with “good riddance” being a common send-off for 2020 as people rang in the new year. I heard many people say they just wanted to leave it behind and forget it ever happened.

The thing is, though—it did happen, it’s a part of all of our lives, and in the interest of intentionally creating success for yourself in 2021, I would like to suggest that you bring a little bit of 2020 with you on your journey.

There is no arguing that 2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year on many levels. That doesn’t mean you should shut it out of your mind. Ignoring, forgetting, or denying your past can take away the hidden gift that your difficult experiences hold for you—the opportunity to learn and grow from them. I’m not advocating that you return to the past, just lean into it gently with a little gratitude, compassion and loving kindness for yourself. Let’s explore how to do that.

Leaning Into Difficulties to Create Positive Change

How well have you been coping with your difficulties over the past year? When faced with hard issues, many of us follow the very natural, organic response of leaning away from them or even numbing them with alcohol, marijuana, opioids, food, or maybe overexercising or overworking. That’s because Amy—the amygdala in our brains and our fiercest protector—hates pain, so she dissociates from pain and pushes our brain toward finding the quickest and easiest way to ease it. Our brain wants to feel good in the moment, but sometimes what it causes us to do to get there doesn’t work for us in the long run. When we follow Amy’s oft-preferred solution, we are robbed of the opportunity to learn from our difficulties, and we can actually create more difficulties down the line for ourselves in the process.

This may sound counterintuitive, but the journey toward creating success and well-being requires leaning into the difficulties you are experiencing. Perhaps you’re not making some of the best choices in dealing with difficulties and taking care of yourself. There are ways you can change that without being hard on yourself, but you have to be intentional about it.

I’d like to challenge you to practice some curiosity about those choices you make. Just ensure you do it in a loving, kind, nonjudgmental way, because the first step to changing behaviors is acknowledging them, but the biggest barrier to changing them is shame. So, let’s take the shame part out of the process. Take a moment to simply assess what you are doing right now to take care of yourself, but without judgment. Just observe that some of your behaviors are more preferable than others, then bring in some gratitude for context.

START YOUR SUCCESS JOURNEY WITH GRATITUDE

Let me start with a little exercise in gratitude that I’ll begin in the present and then also apply to the events of 2020, as I mentioned earlier. Take a moment and reflect on something that you are grateful for today. It can be as small as the sound of the rain pattering on your window, a friendly smile and wave from a neighbor, the warmth and comfort of the sweater you’re wearing, or the smell of a rose from your garden.

That adage about “taking time to smell the roses” is more meaningful and powerful than you might think. These small micro-doses of gratitude calm your fear brain, disengaging the fight, flight, freeze reaction. Gratitude is one of those emotions that immediately calms you, soothing your amygdala by letting her know that there is something positive in this moment no matter what else is happening. That’s what you’re doing when you intentionally bring gratitude into your life. When you start doing that regularly, you begin to realize how easy it is to miss the small, pleasant moments you experience throughout your days amid all the difficulties you face. When you do it willfully, with intention, you are teaching your brain to prioritize those experiences, and to make them more a part of your life. They build your brain, focusing it on those moments, especially when difficulties present themselves.

I’d like to encourage you to take a few moments every day for the next few weeks and do something that has become a daily practice for me: Write three things down that you for which you are grateful on that day. Write them in the form of “I am grateful for…” As you build this gratitude notebook, remind yourself that amid all the chaos and difficulty that there are many small moments of gratitude you can take advantage of every day. Also refer to the video accompanying this article titled, “A Guided Meditation to Connect with Gratitude,” which combines gratitude with self-healing and calming your brain.

GRATITUDE FOR THE YEAR GONE BY

You can also practice gratitude for the difficult year we just experienced. Think of something that happened to make your life better in 2020 that can help you in your 2021 success journey. For me, I have always been tech-literate, but now I am an absolute computer and video production whiz compared to what I was before 2020, and that is thanks to the difficulties of the pandemic (and a little help from my engineer husband). I am grateful for those new skills and I know they will bring me greater success in the future. I may have never gained that level of skill were it not for the difficulties that were thrust upon me (and all of us) in 2020.

Also, in 2020 my Mom was extremely ill for months (not from COVID-19), and I had to take a great amount of time helping to care for her. It was difficult juggling those responsibilities along with my business and personal life amid a pandemic, but now my Mom is well, and we are much closer than we have ever been. I am grateful for both of those things.

 

LOVINGLY CONNECTING WITH GRATITUDE

When you lovingly connect with gratitude you are practicing mindfulness, which we define as “paying attention with intention.” You are are telling your amygdala, “Thank you for keeping me safe,” and showing compassion for yourself, while giving the opportunity for your brain to find a more preferable solution for dealing with difficulty. All of the accompanying brief videos in this blog provide valuable exercises for self-compassion and gratitude, and I invite you to explore them.

Bringing gratitude and self-compassion into the new year and throughout it can help you in creating you plan for success. Remember that it’s easy to pull away from the hard stuff and avoid feeling the hard things so be mindful of that without beating yourself up about it. We are biologically hardwired to avoid pain and enjoy pleasure even when pleasure has long-term consequences. Lean into self-compassion for what happened to you in the past because it’s what got you where you are.

Turn to the past to learn, not to return.