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Regulate, Rewire, and Thrive (RRT) Framework

Brain-focused skills for transforming anxiety into power, peace, and self-compassion

We start with your nervous system, not your narrative.

The RRT framework is like getting a user manual for your nervous system. It is a step-by-step process that includes education, skill-building, and coaching support designed to help you create a flexible toolkit that works for your nervous system.  

Once you learn to apply some basic concepts of neurobiology, each component reinforces the others so that you can create an ever-increasing upward spiral of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. You will learn to communicate a sense of safety to your nervous system and learn to listen and respond to your nervous system cues.


  • Our histories and our self-narratives are unique, but how our nervous systems function and respond are the same for all humans.
  • Your brain is constantly under construction. Once you understand some basic principles of neurobiology, you can use them to consciously engage in the process.
  • With the right skills, practiced in the right ways, you can change even long-standing patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting.
  • You don’t have a deep and fatal flaw. Truly. The more you understand about your neurobiology, the easier it is to take things out of the realm of “There’s something wrong with me” and into the realm of “This is something I can get my hands on the controls of.”


  • Anxiety is a result of neurochemical signals in the body.
  • When we perceive a threat – physical or emotional, real or imagined - our body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered and releases adrenaline and cortisol.
  • Adrenaline increases your heart rate and elevates your blood pressure. Cortisol prepares our bodies for action.
  • Cortisol tells us we need to respond to a physical or emotional survival need. It makes us feel bad – unease, fear, worry, dread - to get our attention so that we will avoid physical or emotional pain, hurt, and harm.
  • The fight-or-flight response heightens our sense of threat and danger and can cause us to overestimate how threatening a situation really is. It causes us to narrow our focus to what is needed for our survival in that moment and inhibits our ability to make thoughtful decisions, engage in self-reflection or creative problem solving, and stay connected to others.
  • If we feel like there is nothing we can do to stop the anxiety if it happens, we get anxious about getting anxious.
  • Cortisol also helps to create and strengthen neural pathways so that we can remember the threat in the future and can respond quickly and automatically. It helps to create “habits” of anxiety that can become our default responses, even when the threat is something we feel might happen in the future.
  • Getting stuck in a cortisol feedback loop creates a downward spiral.


  • The feel-good brain chemicals dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin also help to create neural pathways. They help us to remember successes, “rewards”, or how we met a survival need so we can get it more quickly and easily in the future.
  • You can intentionally increase these brain chemicals through thoughts, memories, actions, and experiences.
  • You can create habits of healthier emotional response by interrupting the cortisol/adrenaline response and intentionally creating the release of dopamine, oxytocin, or serotonin.
  • The more successes you have, the stronger the neural pathways (habits) become. The more intentional you are, the more successful and empowered you can feel.
  • Harnessing the power of our neurochemistry can create an upward spiral.


  • Tools alone are often not enough.
  • To create lasting change, you need to apply the skills consistently until they become second nature.
  • Identifying specific areas, setting concrete goals, and taking small steps toward those goals, and having support and accountability are key.
  • Goal setting, managing critical internal dialogues, expecting incremental change, and celebrating successes are all important steps in the process.

Building awareness and self-compassion happen organically throughout the process as the other components are implemented.


  • Felt-sense awareness of nervous system states (how it feels physically, mentally, emotionally)
  • Noticing our impact on others
  • Noticing and predicting external triggers
  • Intervening and shifting reactions and behaviors


  • Understanding the neurobiology of self-criticism and self-compassion
  • Quieting critical inner dialogs by interrupting the cortisol response, acknowledging the need the self-critical thinking is trying to meet, and finding a more resilient/empowered way to meet it.

Want help using this approach to solve your anxiety problem?

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