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Curiosity is truly a great thing. It is the perfect antidote to boredom. Look around you and there are things you can be curious about. If you see something that you want to know more about – great! Grab your computer or phone and research it.

Ask as skill, curiosity is a great way to learn from the people around you. Ask questions, look for different perspectives, your opinion – while valid – is not the only one.

A little curiosity can help you learn to understand others better and help you become a better communicator. There are so many benefits to curiosity! Want to learn more?

For more tips and other ways to help yourself visit the Healthy Futures website or YouTube channel.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hello, my name is Dr. Kim DiRé. Today, I want to talk to you about curiosity. I wanted to talk to you about curiosity and using it as a skill and developing it. Curiosity’s a great thing, and when I hear people say, “Oh, I’m bored.” I think, “I have the perfect solution: curiosity.”

As a skill, curiosity can do so many things. One of the curiosity killers is assuming that you know something. Be curious. Be interested. You can even be curious about being bored. The thing that helps nowadays is we have these search engines, and you can go and research stuff.

Sometimes, I marvel at something, and then, I can go immediately and research something. Another thing to be curious about is different perspectives in the world. Go ahead and ask people what do they think about something, so you can get an idea about how others think. Ask them how they feel, also. Be curious about that.

Don’t assume that your opinion is the only one. Be curious about others and how they see the world. I think you’ll learn how to communicate with people a little bit better. Ask them questions. Use curiosity as a way to entertain yourself through the world, connect with others.

I think you’ll find that the more curious you are, the more you develop that skill, the more enriched your life will be, so try it. I think you’ll like it. Thank you.

We are taught as a child that life is not always fair, that things will not always go our way. However, as we grow into adulthood, it is easy to turn unfair situations into a time of self-pity, or even depression. Thankfully, there is an easy concept to avoid going down this path. Self-Compassion.

We often think of having compassion and gratitude for others but quickly forget the importance of having those same feelings for ourselves. In times of self-pity, it is important to stay positive and assess the situation. Compassion and gratitude are strong tools that can alter our mindset from negative feelings of unhappiness and failure to positive feelings of growth and opportunity.

So the next time something goes wrong, take a step back. Find it in yourself to have compassion for your own life as well as gratitude that something better will come from this. These simple acts will allow you to live better each day.

For more information on avoiding or coping with depression or more tips on self-compassion and gratitude, contact the Healthy Futures team today.

 

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hello, my name is Dr. Kim DiRé. Today, I’m going to talk to you about self‑pity. I think we all do it. It’s a human thing. At the same time, what do you do when you have it? One of the things that we know about self‑pity is it really leads to a lot of depression and it really doesn’t help us.

A lot of times, life can be really, really unfair. If we start following that path and we start thinking about how unfair it is and we start feeling sorry for ourselves, we really disconnect and isolate ourselves from other people. It doesn’t help because then we remove ourselves from things or the experiences that can move us out of self‑pity.

Something that can help is compassion for ourselves. If something bad happens or it’s unfair, if we could just empathize with ourselves and really have compassion and be gentle on ourselves, it moves us out of self‑pity into something that we can connect with others with, including ourselves.

It can lift depression, as well as another tool by being grateful for what you do have. A lot of times in unfair or adverse situations, it’s actually the friction that moves us to something of growth or something that’s better.

If you can move self‑pity by using two tools, compassion for yourself in something that’s gone wrong and then also gratitude where the friction of something that’s adverse can actually lead to something better.

Try that instead of self‑pity and let’s see how you do. Live that a little bit more in your life and I think you’ll feel that life feels a little better.

What is your first memory have shame? Perhaps it is from childhood after being placed in your first time-out. Or maybe you remember it more clearly in your teenage years. Whatever it may be, shame is a feeling we all struggle with and it is essential that we learn about overcoming shame and the steps to take to recover from it.

Attempting to achieve perfection is often the major setup for failure and ultimately shame. But the truth is, nothing and nobody is perfect. Recovering from shame means breaking the cycle of perfectionism. As humans, we have to stop people pleasing and learn to become more vulnerable. Vulnerable in becoming authentic. Vulnerable in having the courage to be imperfect. When we can do this, we will have a greater sense of accepting ourselves and believing that we’re enough.

Overcoming shame is an important part of any recovery and the team at Healthy Futures is dedicated to helping you. Take the first step and contact us today.

 

Jeanne Phillips:  Hi. My name is Jeanne Phillips. I work at Healthy Futures, and I want to talk to you about shame. We all struggle with shame whether we want to admit it or not. It’s an intricate piece in terms of recovery, and it’s just not talked about enough.

What is shame? It’s a birthplace of perfectionism, it’s sickness of the soul, and it’s a horrible feeling that we’re flawed and unworthy. I hear that over and over and over from my patients, “I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel worthy, I don’t feel worthy.”

I ask the question, “When will you feel worthy?” Or, “What do you feel shame about?” Their answer is, typically, “I don’t know when I’m perfect.”

General George Patton said that death kills us one time. Fear and shame kills us over and over and over and over. Let me differentiate between shame and guilt. Shame says, “I’m bad.” Guilt says, “I did a bad thing.”

For example, Todd kicks a dog and Mom says, “Bad boy. You’re a bad boy for kicking Fido,” which is shaming, instead of saying, “Todd, that was a bad thing to do to Fido. We don’t kick the dog.” Do you see the difference there?

Shame shields us in a number of different ways. It does protect us. It tries to make us be more perfect. When we’re more perfect, we think we make less mistakes, but hence, we continue to make mistakes because even if were perfect, we would raise the ante because we can never meet our goal of being perfect.

Typically, with shame, when we’ll move away and shrink and disappear, be invisible, you can’t see me. The other is moving forward, people pleasing, “It’s my fault. It’s my fault. I’ll do anything you want. Just like me, please. Whatever you want, I’ll take care of it.” Or you move against it, coming out swinging and being combative, and then feel guilty about that, which triggers back the shame.

I ask people about their first experience with shame. Typically, it’s between the ages of three and five, but not always. It’s usually during the formative years.

It’s particularly true if you look at Erik Erikson’s eight stages of man, who I really rely on. If you look at that, you’ll see that he takes us through all these developmental stages that we must go through and be successful at in order to get to the next stage.

Oftentimes, when I work with my patients and they see something happened between the ages of three and five, they’re able to justify what happened and know that, “It wasn’t that I’m bad. I just wasn’t taught. I didn’t learn. Now, I know and we can sort of move forward.”

After childhood, no one has to make us feel ashamed because we do it to ourselves because that little voice is in our head. We have to acknowledge that it occurred when we were young from people who…I’m not blaming parents, or coaches, or religious people, or peers, or whatever, and it’s also how we perceived it to be.

Todd heard he was bad for kicking the dog. Therefore, Todd has shame about that. I also hear from my people that, “If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me,” which means, they are in touch with who they are.

How does one recover from shame and unworthiness? It’s by breaking the cycle of perfectionism, which is your major setup to fail. Remember, I talked about, “I have to be perfect, I’m going to do this perfect.” Even if you do it perfect, which you won’t, but you think you do it well enough, you’re going to raise the ante because you’re never going to be good enough.

We have to learn to break the cycle of perfectionism, to stop people pleasing, and it means becoming vulnerable. Now, vulnerable doesn’t mean weak. It means courage. It means to show up with no guarantees. It means becoming authentic, which means cultivating the courage to be imperfect and to set ourselves up to be vulnerable.

Courageous is exercising the compassion we all are made of strength and struggles, all of us. No more comparing, no more judges. We’re all made up with the same. It’s a nurturing connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe we’re enough.

Another question I’ll ask my patients, “When will you know you’re enough?” Oftentimes, the answer is, “When I feel worthy or when I’m perfect.” Goals you’re never ever going to be able to achieve. We have to learn to accept ourselves and love ourselves. It’s learning to love ourselves, accept ourselves, because until we do that, it’s hard to believe that someone else can love us unconditionally.

I leave you with this. I’m imperfect, I’m vulnerable, and sometimes, I’m afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I’m worthy of love and belonging. I hope you, too, will start the journey. Thank you.

We all were taught as children that kindness is important, but being kind to yourself and others is more meaningful than you might think. Being kind to others and yourself releases the hormone oxytocin, which gives you a physiological boost. So something as small as a smile or holding the door for another person, or doing something larger like volunteering or supporting a friend will help you socially, emotionally, and physiologically.

We know that loneliness depletes the immune system and is not beneficial to our long-term mental health. The simple way to combat loneliness is with kindness that connects us to our self and to others in a beneficial way.

Give yourself a boost – socially, emotionally and physiologically – be kind to yourself and others! For more information on good mental health, contact Healthy Futures today.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hello, my name is Dr. Kim DiRé. Today, I want to talk to you about kindness and what it means to you and your physiological system. Kindness releases oxytocin, the connective attachment hormone in your body. This thing that is acts of behaviors that you would do for another or even to yourself ‑‑ because I want you to think about kindness towards yourself as well ‑‑ is actually a physiological boost that we can give to ourselves.

A simple smile, hello to another, is going to be a simple act of kindness, and then there’s other bigger ones, ones where you go and you help somebody elder or hand hold somebody who’s maybe been in the hospital or really work with somebody that’s struggling with maybe a project and you want to give them support.

Any kind of act of kindness towards yourself or another is going to help you in a chemical way. This place where loneliness happens is not beneficial to our health long‑term. There’s been so many scientific proof that loneliness in this place really depletes the energy source or the immune system in our body. The remedy for that is kindness, which connects us to our self and another in a real beneficial way.

Whether you’re offering to someone a little smile or hello for their day, a hug, or doing an act of kindness, know that you are benefiting yourself in a social way, an emotional way, and also a physiological medical way.

Keep doing this act of kindness, pieces for yourself and others. I think you’ll really like it. Thank you.

A good way to bring balance and peace to your life is to do daily mindfulness exercises.  If you are not familiar with this, take a look at a three-step summary of the mindfulness exercises that can change your life.

The first part of the exercise involves noticing your breathing.  Notice yourself coming back to it again and again.  And, rest your mind on your breath.  Feel your breath flow through your nose, expand your lungs, hold it, and let it flow back through the nose.

Second, as you rest your mind on your breath, use your imagination.  Imagine yourself breathing in pure relaxation as your breath comes into the body and into the lungs.  Let that relaxation go into your heart and spread to every cell in your body.  Let relaxation illuminate your whole being and allow yourself to be more mindful and relaxed with every breath.

Third, gradually move that awareness from within back into the room and your surroundings.  Listen to the sounds.  Smell the aromas.  Notice the taste in your mouth.  And feel the temperature and pressure points of your body on the chair, sofa or bedding.  Notice where you are in relation to your surroundings.

Practicing mindfulness exercises every day is a simple way to change your life.  It allows you to release stresses, pain or illness from your mind and body, and feel more relaxed.  Give it a try.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hi. My name is Dr. Kim DiRe. I’m going to take you through a mindfulness exercise so you can practice and have this for use at home.

What I’d like you to do is get into a nice, comfortable place either sitting, ideally if you’re laying down. If you’re sitting, have that imaginary string that goes from the ceiling all the way down through the spine so you have this nice, gentle support.

If you can use your attention that your backbone is the center of your being and whatever you’re sitting on to allow the backbone, in your chair, your sofa, or your bed to support you. A lot of times we manage way too much and we don’t have to. You can use those two tools in order to let down and let go.

Now what I’d like you to do is just notice the breath, how it flows in, expands the lungs and flows out. You can self‑focus or shut your eyes as I continue. Your mind will wander. Go ahead and notice the breath come back to it again and again.

What we’re doing is we’re resting our mind on the breath. I’d like you to be really curious, curious about how the breath flows in through your nose, expands the lungs, and comes back out through the nose.

As you do that, your mind will wander because you’re human. You can’t get this wrong, but notice when it wanders and rest your mind on the breath. You could say to yourself, “I’m now breathing in, I’m gently holding, I’m now breathing out,” as a way to stay mindful of the breath.”

Some people count four in, four hold, and four out. Just notice and do that, and it will come back in.

[pause]

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Nice. As you rest your mind on the breath what I’d like you to do is use your imagination and imagine that you’re breathing in pure relaxation as it comes in through the body, into the lungs.

That a pure relaxation goes over to the heart, and then the heart and blood take it all the way down to touch every cell, every pore, every system, and every organ of your body so that the relaxation illuminates your whole being.

Then, there’s an exchange of carbon dioxide that using your imagination I’d like you to release any stressors, any pain, any illness, any judgment. As that relieves and goes into the bloodstream and comes back up into the heart, exchanges over into the lungs.

As you release your breath, you’re breathing out all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month. You can now say to yourself, “I’m breathing in pure relaxation, allowing it to touch every cell in my body. I’m breathing out all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month.”

With each inhalation and each exhalation, you’re becoming more and more relaxed, more and more mindful of this life giving breath. One that you don’t need to think about, just do and be aware.

Nice. Good job. As you do that, just notice, become aware, allow the tools to support you, your backbone and the chair, sofa or bedding that you’re lying on. When your mind wanders, that’s the mindfulness practice, just notice.

It might be two minutes, it may be two seconds when it wanders away. When it does, come back to the breath and the steady flow of it coming in, expanding the lungs and coming out.

We’re going to tap back into the parasympathetic nervous system a little bit more by dropping our jaw and loosening our tongue so as you breathe in that pure relaxation, allow it to expand in you body and illuminate it.

As you breathe out, breathe out through the dropped jaw and loosened tongue, releasing the breath, releasing a slow and steady stream beginning, middle, and end, and releasing it all the way so the next inhalation has a place to go.

I’m now breathing in pure relaxation, allowing it to touch every cell and illuminate my body through the dropped jaw and loosened tongue I’m releasing all the stress of the morning, the week, and the month.

Go ahead and practice that and then I’ll come back in.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Nice. Now we’ll bring awareness back into the room that you’re in or the place that you’re in. First, by listening to the sounds inside the room or outside the room or if you’re outside, around you. Just listen.

Notice the aroma that comes through your nose even if there is none. None is an aroma. Notice the taste in your mouth, even if there is none. None is a taste. Notice whatever’s at your fingertips even if it’s your other hand. Notice the texture, the temperature, the quality of the touch, and notice the pressure points of your body on the chair, sofa, or bedding that you’re lying on.

Follow that breath in, expansion and out. Nice. And again, expansion and out. With this next exhalation, go ahead and flutter open, refocus your eyes into the area that you’re in, whether it’s a room or outside.

What I’d like you to do, I’d like you to turn your chin and neck so we we can engage that brain stem. I want you to notice where you are in relationship to the four corners of the room or the things around you. I’m noticing where I am in relationship to the trees and the sounds around me, the buildings.

I want you to turn your chin and neck up, look at the ceiling. In my case, the sky. Notice where you are in relationship to the ceiling or the sky. Turning your chin and neck down at the floor, the ground below you, looking and being real curious with new kid eyes as if you’ve never been here before.

If you have a doorway, turn your chin and neck and look at the doorway. That’s your exit out. That’s a calming factor for you. Nice.

If you’re with other people, you can turn your chin and neck and notice where you are in relationship to each person in the room or the surroundings. That’s your mindfulness exercise.

If you do that once every day, just something simple like that, you’ll notice things start to change for you — your brain will, your being will, how you look at life. Also, it’s nice to relax the body, as well.

Thank you.

We all experience trauma to some degree or another in our lives.  But, why do some people experience profound effects on their emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing?  This can lead to symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, addiction and chronic pain.  To recover from trauma, we need to understand the triune brain.

The triune brain is made up of three areas.  The reptilian brain controls self-protective responses.  The limbic system controls memory and emotion.  And, the prefrontal cortex controls thoughts.

In the face of trauma, the reptilian brain needs to release energy to carry out its physiological survival responsibilities.  This cycle can become interrupted when the limbic system holds a memory or emotion related to or the prefrontal cortex generalizes thoughts associated to the experience.  Those can sometimes mask the threat, whether there is a real one or not.  When this happens the reptilian brain in a way, becomes confused and cannot respond appropriately.  That’s when we hang on to that trauma.

The good news is we can work with our body system, to complete the self-protective responses that didn’t get completed.  That trauma can be released, or the blocked energies of trauma can be released.  Once this happens, we can stay present in our lives and begin to recover.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hi. My name is Kim DiRé. I’m a psychotherapist. This is part two of a series on our brain puppet. I was telling you in the first part, that I created a brain puppet to help adults learn about their three-part brain. Here’s the first part. I don’t know if you remember but it’s the reptilian brain built-in safety.

It’s the one. The hardwired mechanism. Very simple, simple system that is built in this hardwired piece that under threat there’s fight, flight, freeze for this piece of the brain to do. It will do it as long as it’s instinctual and isn’t covered up by anything, or didn’t learn anything that was new, which the limbic systems can oftentimes do.

The limbic system is the one that holds the memory. Here’s the amygdala. It holds the memory for emotion. Sometimes emotion can be held in this memory so that when the feeling comes, there is still the threat or the feel that, “OK. We need to be under safety or on guard.” Some anxiety might come up.

The last time anxiety came up there was a fear over life, a justifiable threat of life. That’s when this mechanism is going to be perhaps not instinctual anymore, but covered up by emotion. A lot of times then when anxiety comes up for humans, the limbic system has literally masked the instinctual piece for the reptilian brain to actually see if there’s a justifiable threat.

Now we’ve got another mask also, is that prefrontal cortex, the third piece. It can come over here and create thoughts, wonderful thoughts, but also thoughts maybe that we’re not in threat and we put ourselves in harm’s way, or that we are under threat.

Everything that the prefrontal cortex sees can be generalized so much, that life is so threatening that we can feel sometimes as if the person is going to die or under threat. This happens a lot of times when people are traumatized. They’re traumatized in a way where there’s actually maybe an actual event that says, “I’m under threat.”

An event that causes fear, but a person is immobilized. What happens then is this logical brain and the limbic system creates this memory, and generalizes or fogs over the instinctual piece, and then when a four-legged creature comes around it’s so generalized that even this feels threatening.

This explains some of the pieces that happen in trauma for humans. No one really gets out of our life without feeling some trauma. Sometimes there’s big traumas, and the self-protective responses that are happening for and by the reptilian brain don’t get to be completed in the physiological piece or in the body piece.

This continues over and over for the past event till they come present. We want to work with our body system, to complete self-protective responses that didn’t get completed. That trauma can be released, or the blocked energies of trauma can be released, and someone can stay present on purpose.

I’m going to continue to give many lessons about the triune brain, and how our bodies respond and our brains respond to trauma, the neurophysiological feedback that happens for us as humans. We can help you become aware of maybe perhaps some things that you go through, and some of the things that you can help to create safety for yourself.

Please stay tuned. I’ll teach you some of those techniques for the next brain puppet lesson. Bye-bye. Thank you.

Spring is almost here.  Very soon, the gardens will wake up and those buds that have been waiting all winter long will feel the energy from the sun and begin to bloom.  We will see and smell beautiful flowers everywhere.  It’s such a happy and joyful time.

In a metaphorical way, we are much like flowers.  Many of us are also stuck in a frozen bud-like state.  When life becomes stressful, sometimes we don’t know how to get ourselves unstuck.  How do we find that energy that will lead us to a more beautiful life?

Sometimes just being aware that we are stuck can bring about that energy.  Rely on your five basic senses.  What can you feel?  What do you see?  What do you hear, smell, and taste?  Paying attention and noticing those things sometimes is all you need to mobilize toward a more beautiful life.

This spring, practice being more aware within yourself.  Soon, you’ll find the energy that will lead you to your happier and more joyful self.

Dr. Kim DiRé:  Hi, my name is Kim DiRé, and I’m a psychotherapist. Today, I’m going to use the metaphor of spring, since it’s springtime, to talk to you about awakening – awakening out of a freeze, or numbness into something that is mobilized energy.

One of the ways that we do that is we use the tool of attention, just noticing, noticing in a non-judgmental way in order to mobilize, or gather this mobilization of energy.

A lot of times, we’re frozen, or we feel stuck. Sometimes, just by becoming aware that we’re stuck, is enough to start to move things. Usually, we do that by the basic five senses and noticing how we feel, or how we see, visualize things, listen, smell, taste. That’s some of the places that we can use attention, or noticing.

A lot of times, you’ll hear a non-judgmental stance in noticing. By using that, it’s limitless. A lot of times, it will just change our lifestyle, or change a behavior. A lot of times, by just noticing and becoming aware, or awakening from this frozen to this life-giving bloom of springtime, we can start mobilizing, or using that energy of attention and awareness that comes from paying attention with our five senses, to creating something that gives us an enriched life.

It becomes limitless as we become more aware.