Write out one thing you are grateful for each morning when you wake. Doesn’t need to be wise or deep, just simple gratitude. You can write on a piece of paper and place in a basket and read at a later time, or set up a space digitally with or without peers listening in.
As we all know, times are tough right now. In addition to the acute medical crisis caused by the Pandemic, in our post COVID world, we are also experiencing what some have called a “mental health pandemic”.
What can each of us do to get out of this “Pandemic Induced Mental and Emotional Funk”?
One tool that each of us has access to is the simple power of daily gratitude. As a part of our series about the “How Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Kat Thomas.
We Are All Connected — Being aware of this connection between all things can help us in acknowledging the broader effect we may be creating.
In response to the changing world in 2020, Kat created CORE Body|Mind, LLC, a consulting platform and support network that guides through physical and motivational trainings. Kat offers her challenges and problems as your solutions and it is a way to give back to the hospitality industry with health in motion and passion as a guide. As a certified trainer, yoga guide, and cancer exercise specialist, Kat wants to find, and share, the balance of hospitality and life with my peers and community. Kat intends to do this while experiencing what challenges and inspires her along the way.
Ms. Thomas is an Advanced Sommelier — CMS, a Spanish Wine Educator — WSG, and a Sherry and a Sake Certified Specialist. It is not uncommon to see her eager to learn, taste, and most importantly laugh, as she is sharing this hybrid beverage and wellness offering at private, corporate, and social media events. During these events Kat will offer personalized tastings, engaging seminars on beverage and hospitality, and yoga and mindfulness experiences. And though Kat may be tiny in stature she is always ready with a giant smile and helping hand to create moments of excellence.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about you and about what brought you to your specific career path?
I have had an interesting experience as a human, but we all have because our experiences are what we perceive as ourselves, and I think deep down each of us finds our Self interesting at some point.
When I was 4 yrs. old my father finally allowed me to use a butter knife as I was asking constantly to use one, and since everyone else was allowed, I figured I should be as well. I immediately proceeded to butter everyone’s bread for dinner and on the last pass of spreading I licked the blade enjoying the salty, rich taste of the cream. That ended my time with knife handling until I was a bit older, but I knew then I was meant to host and handle others around the table. I loved holding attention and entertaining at the table telling jokes, even if they only made me laugh, I prided myself on making sure everyone was set before I sat down…whatever that meant then, but now that I am older and embedded in the scenes, I have an understanding of what to do as a light in the hospitality flame.
Let me actually answer the question now. I have always enjoyed being a part of the show and started at an early age in hospitality. Taking on different roles has given me the tools to be empathetic, and even better, compassionate to those around me over the years. I am someone who enjoys bringing thoughts and action into the centre and facilitating others around it. That didn’t change with the pandemic but the focus of the “centre” did. I realized I wanted to give back to a world that had raised me and given me security in a way that brought both myself and others that compassion I so enjoyed feeling.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Going through the pandemic shutdown truly has been the most interesting because of the time I had to see just how passionate and inspired I am, and still can be, regarding hospitality, my wellness, and the health of others in the industry. Again, allowing my problems to be your solutions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why do you think that resonates with you? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I have 3 resonating quotes:
“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger” Buddha
I am a feisty one and impatience and anger are challenges I face, much better these days but still there are days I am reminded of these with too much ease. Lol…
“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile with all beings in the world” Lao tzuRead it a few times and the resonating vibe will be clear. Makes me take a deep breath and give myself a slight break from self judgement and despair about the Planet.
This above all: to thine own Self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man’ Shakespeare’s Polonius to Hamlet
I smile thinking of how to describe this quote’s importance to me because I fell for it so very long ago and I am still trying to figure out how to be true to my Self, but the momentum of learning and making the effort is continuous and getting me closer to my juicy core.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story about why that resonated with you?
From the Heart of Darkness to the Tao of Pooh there’s has always been a varying im-balanced mindset, and I look upon this type of “imbalanced” as a positive as “I’m-Balanced” by having a wider spectrum of things that I read I have had over the years, but they have all been beneficial and appreciated. I tend to be reading mostly beverage and wine books these days due to studies for exams though.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am building a platform for healing and strength training of mind and body within the hospitality industry called CORE Body|Mind. I am in the beginning phases and setting the foundation of this platform but in the beginning stages I am offering free wellness programs and activities on social media and mentorship to those who reach out and ask for it.
I know when I was feeling overwhelmed with wonder and worry or when I didn’t want to bother or disappoint someone by showing my faults, having a resource available was a relief. With the rise of social media and communication access there’s a way to shine a little hope out there even if with but a picture or a note to tell someone they’re noticed. It helps. I know from experience.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am going to name my mama, Elaine Michael, who I first met moving to Las Vegas after college. She and I had been separated shortly after I was born, and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself in my still teens and decided to reach out to get to know her and have a place to live. I was a book smart child, but I was not living my best life as a human, I just wasn’t taught nor mentored on how to do such yet. My mama has always shown me unconditional love. When I first came into her world, I couldn’t even recognize love and didn’t know what it felt like to be supported and cared for in this way by a parental figure in my young adult life. It took a while to get my act together, but I am so grateful for her and the love she has shared with me. Without this I would not be here today to write to you. Love is truly the most powerful energy we can share, accept, and give back to others.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now that we are on the topic of gratitude, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. We would like to explore together how every one of us can use gratitude to improve our mental wellness. Let’s start with a basic definition of terms. How do you define the concept of Gratitude? Can you explain what you mean?
Gratitude is being appreciative of the moments I am involved in by remaining as present as I can be. Allowing empathy to transpose into compassion when it is challenging.
Gratitude is the ability to be changed by situations that happen to us, but not reduced by them.
Gratitude is waking up the senses, looking around and finding the breath and taking a smile break.
Why do you think so many people do not feel gratitude? How would you articulate why a simple emotion can be so elusive?
I believe most do feel gratitude, but the key question is how do they articulate it, and do they even understand just how simple gratitude building can be to grow it? We look to the extremes
This might be intuitive to you, but I think it will be constructive to help spell it out. Can you share with us a few ways that increased gratitude can benefit and enhance our life?
Gratitude: Reminds you to take a breath. This increases blood and oxygen flow connecting pathways and assisting with the rewiring. When mirroring gloomy, gratitude practice can help remind you that you have created a space in a particular moment to reset, refresh, and make new. Life will happen around you whether good or bad, but that mirror can be cleaned daily until it reflects our best.
We begin to alleviate getting so emotionally attached over things we cannot control and sad over things those things or “small”.
Ok wonderful. Now here is the main question of our discussion. From your experience or research, what are “Five Ways That Each Of Us Can Leverage The Power Of Gratitude To Improve Our Overall Mental Wellness”. Can you please share a story or example for each?
Is there a particular practice that can be used during a time when one is feeling really down, really vulnerable, or really sensitive?
There are so many ways to construct gratitude into our daily routine that are in reach and accessible without
Let’s talk about mental wellness in particular. Can you share with us a few examples of how gratitude can help improve mental wellness?
This is seemingly a repeat of the question above since mental health and gratitude are linked when practiced. Gratitude happens with a flow when
- Be a resource to others if you have been practicing — inspire others to inspire yourself.
- Challenge yourself constantly.
- Get out of your own head — turn things upside down to get a new perspective.
- Root down — imagine your legs as tree trunks that can spread out along the Earth. You’ll feel more space and feel like you’re bigger than your issues.
- Eat healthier, sleep better, smile on the inside AND outside more.
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you and that compliment and balance you — even those who challenge your balance, so you build your own foundation stronger.
- Don’t fear those who shine. They can put you in the correct spotlight you need.
- Follow 3 simple (haha) guidelines for living:
- Begin to move from empty to pity to empathy and finally compassion in all your work and personal habits.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that you would recommend to our readers to help them to live with gratitude?
- Pen2Paper Project
- A Balanced Glass
- The Four Agreements
- So many to mention so I suggest writing out your interests and goals and search on your own. If you get stuck become vulnerable and ASK FOR HELP! Life-changing for me to start doing that.
- Write out one thing you are grateful for each morning when you wake. Doesn’t need to be wise or deep, just simple gratitude. You can write on a piece of paper and place in a basket and read at a later time, or set up a space digitally with or without peers listening in.
- Changing up what you settle upon paying attention to in social media and conversing about.
- Stop gossiping. No really, stop gossiping unless it is inspiring and uplifting.
- Drink more water.
- Raise the corners of your mouth in a “Smile Break” even when you feel it least able to do such.
- Figuring out what stimulates you to allow a wave of gratitude to rush through you every time you invoke it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Stop gossiping or simmer it down at least. You talk enough s%#t to your beautiful Self in a day, why add even more dramatic, negative energy.
Drink more water. Reset, refresh. You already know it is a good thing to do so don’t ask why. ☺
Raise the corners of your mouth in a “Smile Break”, give yourself a big smile while looking in a mirror. Sounds easy but we tend to look away or shy from giving our own self full attention. Hold the gaze a little longer every time you try this.
Write an intention, a manifestation goal, and/or a compliment to Self on your bathroom mirror and read it aloud every day. Try this — when you wake up you usually head to the loo. Look in a mirror and say out loud while smiling “I am… (fill in one thought that truly inspires, uplifts, motivates you”. Once you get into the habit of doing this every morning do it every evening too. Try this consistently for 21 days at a time.
Some ideas for motivation: “I am healthy. I am creative. I am full of wisdom. I am love”
Some ideas for goals: “I want to work in a job that stimulates my creativity and supports me financially where I also have personal balance” — definitely be as specific as you can.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
The best way to connect with me is through social media as I reach out most there with what challenges and inspires.
I am on other media and can connect there as well if preferred.
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!