Don’t grab your phone first thing. I know we all shut our alarms off and grab our phones, but give yourself 10–15 minutes to do the previous strategy, and set an intention for your day. Something really interesting to know is that our brain doesn’t see any difference between us doing something in real life versus us imagining ourselves doing it. Therefore, it’s important we spend a few minutes each morning setting an intention (ie. today I am going to be more mindful of how I speak to others) and imagine ourselves doing just that. It’s powerful I promise.
For my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kati Morton, LMFT. Kati holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Kati is well known for her YouTube channel which now has over 774,000 subscribers, over 57 million views. In addition to her YouTube channel and strong presence on social media, she has appeared on the HLN/CNN television show “Dr. Drew On Call” and showcased in Europe’s highest circulated magazine, Glamour UK. Kati released her first book, Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health December 2018.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kati! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My husband is really the reason that I am on YouTube creating educational mental health content. It all started when I was working at an eating disorder treatment center and coming home and complaining about not having anyone to refer out to when my patients were ready to step down in their treatment. I would tell him how everyone who truly understood eating disorders and their treatment wasn’t taking any new patients and the others weren’t trained enough to help. My husband, Sean, had just come back from a conference where people were talking about the power of YouTube and how it allows people to reach millions around the world. So he recommended that I put my knowledge and training about eating disorders in video and online for all to see. I wasn’t sure at first, I didn’t like the idea of being filmed, but after much persuasion, I said yes. Here we are almost 7 years later still creating mental health content on YouTube each and every week.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
I think living on purpose really just means being present. So often we are “asleep at the wheel” in life instead of acting with purpose. It’s a small but important shift that we can all make by simply recognizing if we are doing things that fulfill us and create joy in our lives. If we aren’t, begin searching for things that do and make time for those things. It could even be as small as making a point to look people in the eye or opening doors for strangers. Whatever actions we are taking each and every day, we can pay attention to them and do them in a way that helps us find more fulfillment and joy in our lives.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
Right after we graduated from high school, a close friend of mine had to go into an inpatient eating disorder treatment center. I have never felt more helpless in my life. I couldn’t figure out how to talk to her in a way that was helpful, and I couldn’t understand how this had happened without me even noticing. It was heartbreaking. However, I think the fact that I didn’t know anything was going on, and didn’t have any tools to help her pushed me to learn more about it and what has kept me working in the eating disorder treatment field all this time.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
I think in the US we focus too much on what we do, not who we are. How much we make and what our titles are, are the things people believe give you clout or make you important. However, research shows us that as long as we are able to pay our bills and afford a yearly vacation, more money doesn’t really make us happier, in fact it can actually do the opposite. Therefore, I think we rank low because we are taught from a young age to focus our life and our goals onto the wrong things. We should be focusing on how we treat others, how they treat us, how we treat ourselves, and what we can do to be more kind to one another. If we based our value on that, I believe we would be much higher than number 18.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe my success was created out of my goal to help people, and bring goodness into the world. One cannot exist without the other.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Start everyday with 3 things you like about yourself and/or your life. This ensures our day begins with some positive self talk rather than letting all those “ugh I hate this” thoughts ruin your day before it starts. I would encourage you to write these out by hand so that as you move through your days and weeks you can always go back and read some of the things you jotted down before. Studies have shown practicing gratitude reduces stress hormones and improves mood, so make some time for this.
2. Don’t grab your phone first thing. I know we all shut our alarms off and grab our phones, but give yourself 10–15 minutes to do the previous strategy, and set an intention for your day. Something really interesting to know is that our brain doesn’t see any difference between us doing something in real life versus us imagining ourselves doing it. Therefore, it’s important we spend a few minutes each morning setting an intention (ie. today I am going to be more mindful of how I speak to others) and imagine ourselves doing just that. It’s powerful I promise.
3. Put some effort into your appearance. This doesn’t mean you have to dress up each and every day, but do shower, comb your hair and pick out an outfit you feel good in. This can help us build our self confidence, and when we are feeling down, you will be surprised just how good a shower can feel.
4. Eat breakfast. I know there is always another fad diet telling us to eat something or not eat something else; but I promise you that eating a protein rich breakfast will not only help you wake up more easily, but also allow you to focus more throughout your day.
5. Have a schedule. I find that most of our anxious thoughts and worries come from not knowing what needs to get accomplished each day. By keeping a schedule, and to-do lists for each day we can take a look at it prior to going to sleep, and put to bed any extra concerns. This will also stop us from waking up and immediately being reactive. Instead we can be proactive and feel in control of our pace and mood each day.
6. Open your blinds! Let that morning light in! And no, I am not a morning person either, but we know that a lack of natural light can lead to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so it’s important that you let that light in. Natural light triggers our brain to release more serotonin, and since our days keep getting shorter and shorter, let’s make sure we get enough of it!
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
Books: I love Brene Brown’s books, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Podcasts: I love Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, The Goal Digger Podcast, and This is Fifty.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My all time favorite quote is, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” by Theodore Roosevelt. It reminds me that the only thing I need to compare myself to is myself. Am I better than I was yesterday or a few hours ago? That’s all that really matters, because no one else is like me, and sometimes I need to be reminded of that fact.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Obviously working on my book has been exciting and challenging. I cannot wait to see how many people it can help when it is released on December 11th. As for other projects, I am currently working with The Kailash Foundation to work to end child slavery. They estimate that over 260 million children are being kept as slave workers in order to bring us cheaper and cheaper goods. Through their efforts they have gotten that number down to around 100 million! I am working to help them raise money so they can fight for more stringent laws worldwide, and work to end poverty in many areas so that children can be free to go to school and have a childhood.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
My entire YouTube channel is about education and empowering people, so my hope would be that I could create a movement where we are not only talking more openly about our mental health but also pushing for better care worldwide. Too often people are turned away from getting the level of care they need or told to wait until they are much more mentally ill. This needs to change, and I hope I can be a catalyst for that change.
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