therapy

Day 2805: Healthy boundaries

Healthy boundaries are, according to “How to Set Healthy Boundaries” at positivepsychology.com:

[…] those boundaries that are set to make sure mentally and emotionally you are stable” (Prism Health North Texas, n.d.). Another way to think about it is that “Our boundaries might be rigid, loose, somewhere in between, or even nonexistent. A complete lack of boundaries may indicate that we don’t have a strong identity or are enmeshed with someone else” (Cleantis, 2017).

Healthy boundaries can serve to establish one’s identity. Specifically, healthy boundaries can help people define their individuality and can help people indicate what they will and will not hold themselves responsible for.

While boundaries are often psychological or emotional, boundaries can also be physical. For example, declining physical contact from a coworker is setting an important boundary, one that’s just as crucial as setting an emotional boundary, i.e., asking that same coworker not to make unreasonable demands on your time or emotions.

I’m writing about healthy boundaries today because I’m approaching the boundary of my 17-day staycation from work. Healthy boundaries are particularly critical during these pandemic days of working from home, when the boundaries between work and non-work are blurred. Also healthy boundaries are especially important for self-care when you are working in a caring profession, like I do.

In order to set healthy boundaries, I find it useful to

  • write down a list of what I WILL do and what I will NOT do,
  • share that list with others, and
  • follow that list.

What I WILL do now is share my photos from yesterday. Let’s see if we can find any healthy boundaries in them.

As you can see from these two photos …

… Harley’s boundaries are changing, which is healthy for both of us.

This image from the The Kindness Rocks Project (which has healthy boundaries) …

… inspires my music pick for today.

Here‘s the Playing for Change version of “Listen to the Music” …

… and here’s a quote from Playing for Change:

In music as in life, the things that make us different make us stronger. All the various instruments, tones, perspectives, and cultures in this recording combine to create a new version of this classic Song Around The World.

The idea was born a few years ago during breakfast at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia. Our friend and drummer, Peter Bunetta, introduced me to Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers and we talked about taking “Listen to the Music” around the world. We started the track with an acoustic guitar demo played to a click track and then added bass from Colombia, tablas and veena from India, and then headed to the Redwood Forest in Northern California to record and film Tom Johnston live outside. We then recorded and filmed Patrick Simmons and John McFee playing along to the track in a park in San Diego. The journey then continued throughout North and South America, Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This final version features 30 musicians from 12 countries united through their love of music.

Listen to the music and change the world!

-Mark Johnson, PFC Co-Founder

Here’s a comment from that YouTube video:

Geno M
10 months ago
This is going to sound dramatic and fake but I’ve literally been suicidal for the last 2 months especially this past weekend. I am on medicine and seeing therapists but there is a lot of downtime between getting help and being alone with your thoughts. These videos help me cope and really help me think about the good still left in the world making me try and appreciate what I have and my family. Thank you for uplifting folks and spreading good through music.

There is a healthy boundary between Geno M and me — that is, I can feel empathy for his struggle without rushing in to try to save him. These healthy boundaries are especially important for people who are in a caring profession, like I am.

If leaving a comment is on your list of what you will do today, I will leave you a healthy reply in the near future.

Thanks to all who help me create these posts and healthy boundaries, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, self-care, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2803: It’s for you

It’s for you that I write these blog posts. But it’s also for me. As I encounter so many ups and downs in life, blogging every morning strengthens me for the day ahead.

It’s for you that I share today’s music, by Pat Metheny and the late Lyle Mays.

At the same time, sharing “It’s For You” from As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls is for me.

It’s for you that I’m trying out a new, unfamiliar-to-me editor as I blog today. But it’s also for me (to increase my confidence about using new technology as I prepare to host my 50th high school reunion on Zoom).

It’s for you that I captured all these images, but it’s also for me.

It’s for you and for me that I realize that “It’s for you” would make a good caption for this:

It’s for you that I have a comments section but it’s also for me.

It’s for you and for me that I collect images of gratitude to end these posts.

I’m grateful that writing this post with the new editor was much easier than I expected! This reminds me of the helpful cognition I’m working on in EMDR therapy:

I can trust myself, which allows me to figure out who else to trust.

Thanks to Pat, Lyle, Harley, Michael (for the burritos), the South Shore of Boston, our neighborhood church, our neighbors, snowy and not-so-snowy egrets, WordPress, and YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2755: Emotion recollected in tranquility

According to William Wordsworth (who wrote many worthy words), the origin of poetry is “emotion recollected in tranquility.”

I have emotions (including joy) about recollecting THAT,  sooooo many decades after learning it in college. I’m recollecting it today because of my recent personal experience  of having strong and upsetting emotions, letting time pass, recollecting those emotions in tranquility, and feeling resolute and happy about achievable next steps.

Therefore, I believe that emotion recollected in tranquility not only creates poetry but also creates paths to move forward through troubled times.  Instead of being so reactive to our emotions (especially anger and fear), let us recollect those feelings in tranquility to achieve wise mind (an overlap of emotional mind and logical mind).

Do you see emotion recollected in tranquility in my photos from yesterday?

 

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In tranquility, today, I am recollecting the emotions I felt yesterday having my first restaurant meal since the pandemic began, with caution, with a new haircut, and with my long-time friend Deb.

Here‘s what comes up when I search for “emotion reflected in tranquility” on YouTube:

 

What are your emotions and thoughts about this emotion-reflected-in-tranquility post?

For me, emotion reflected in tranquility always results in gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2545: Shocks to the system

Every day, there are shocks to the system, as you can see in my Friday Fotos:

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Some shocks to the system are nicer than others.

Any change from routine can be a shock to the system. Starting tomorrow, I’m off for a vacation that will include several shocks to the system, like

  • Hanukkah,
  • Christmas,
  • seeing my 21-year old son Aaron in a tuxedo,
  • my fiancé Michael wearing his first suit ever, and
  • Michael and I getting married a week from today!

Here‘s “Shock to the System” by Yes.

It’s not a shock to my system that one member of the soon-to-be-married couple loves Yes and the other one decidedly does not. Differences may be a shock to the system but they make life much more interesting.

For regular readers of this blog, my ending with gratitude cannot possibly be a shock to the system.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2544: Emotional Reasoning

Emotional Reasoning is one of the cognitive distortions in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Emotional Reasoning is defined here as follows:

Emotional Reasoning.
We take our emotions as evidence for the truth. Examples: “I feel inadequate, so there must be something wrong with me.” “I feel overwhelmed and hopeless, therefore the situation must be impossible to change or improve.” (Note that the latter can contribute to procrastination.) While suppressing or judging feelings can be unhelpful, it’s important to recognize the difference between feelings and facts.

My definition of “Emotional Reasoning” does NOT include examples of the negative aspect of that, as in “I do NOT feel that way, therefore it’s not true.” I’m reasoning that I could have written that definition with this example: “I do not feel adequate, so there must be something wrong with me.”

All this came to my emotional mind this morning when I read this news headline:

President Trump: “It doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached”

To me, it doesn’t really feel like

  • Trump is President,
  • I’m getting married a week from tomorrow, or
  • the human race is going to survive.

That is all emotional reasoning.  I know that two of those statements are true, no matter what I’m feeling.  And I have many emotions about the third statement, so who knows if it’s true?

Do you see emotional reasoning in any of my photos from yesterday?

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Yesterday at work, somebody said that this photo of Harley (taken by my soon-to-be-husband Michael)

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… felt like a photo that Ellen DeGeneres might want to include on her show.  That seemed like emotional reasoning to me, but I submitted it anyway.

“Do You Hear What I Hear” feels like a Christmas song, but that’s not how it was written.

Here’s a portion of the story I heard on the radio yesterday:

While artfully couched in the iconography of the Christian nativity, the songwriters were making a political statement: a plea for peace, and a reminder of the ravages of war.

The song opens with the night wind speaking to a lamb, long a literary symbol of peace. Soon we hear the line, “A star, a star, dancing in the sky//With a tail as big as a kite.”

“The star was meant to be a bomb,” said Gabrielle Regney.

Later we hear the lyrics “A child, a child, shivers in the cold,” which Regney said is a reference to the “real children” who inspired the song.

And the line, “Let us bring him silver and gold” was a reference to “poor children,” said Regney — a reminder of the human cost of war.

But no matter how you interpret the song, Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne left no mistake about the central message at the climax of the song.

“The biggest part for them was the ‘pray for peace’ line,” said Regney. “That line, ‘pray for peace,’ was very big for both of them.”

Do you hear what I hear in this emotional rendition of that song?

Feel free to share emotional reasoning in a comment, below.

There are reasons why I end every post with the emotion of gratitude.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Thanksgiving, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2486: Hang ups

One of my hang ups is thinking about my and other people’s hang-ups, so when I saw this yesterday on my way to work …

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… I thought, “Tomorrow’s blog topic is hang ups!”

The internet, which is a hang-up for many of us, includes these definitions of hang-up:

hang-up (hăng′ŭp′)
n. Informal
1. A psychological or emotional difficulty or inhibition.
2. An obstacle to smooth progress or development.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

hang′-up` or hang′up`,

n. Slang.
1. a preoccupation, fixation, or psychological block; complex.
2. a source of annoying difficulty or burden.
[1955–60]
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Noun 1. hang-up – an emotional preoccupation
preoccupation – an idea that preoccupies the mind and holds the attention

2. hang-up – an unforeseen obstacle

hang-up – an unforeseen obstacle
rub, hitch, snag
obstacle, obstruction – something immaterial that stands in the way and must be circumvented or surmounted; “lack of imagination is an obstacle to one’s advancement”; “the poverty of a district is an obstacle to good education”; “the filibuster was a major obstruction to the success of their plan”
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

I don’t want to get too hung up on presenting definitions and synonyms of “hang-up,” so here’s a list of hang ups that preoccupy me and others, these days:

  • Worry about the future.
  • Regret about the past.
  • Resentment.
  • Excessive guilt.
  • Misplaced shame.
  • A focus on what other people think.
  • Cognitive distortions (including blaming, catastrophizing, personalization,  all-or-nothing thinking, comparisons, labeling, and shoulds).

Do you see hang ups in my other photos from yesterday?

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I am very hung up on Michael’s cooking.

I’ve been hung up on the group Buffalo Springfield for decades.

The original and the cover version of “Hung Upside Down” are hanging up here and here on YouTube.

What are your hang-ups? Any hang ups about sharing them in a comment, below?

Here’s an expression of gratitude hanging up in my office:

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A big thank you to all who help me create these daily blog posts, including YOU.

 

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2481: Information for healthy living

Just now, when I searched my thousands of blogs for a previous post about “information for healthy living,” this is what WordPress told me:

Nothing Found

Sorry, but nothing matched your search criteria. Please try again with some different keywords.

 

And here I thought I’ve been giving you, my readers, information for healthy living for approximately two thousand, five hundred and seventeen days!

Well, as I like to tell people, there’s no time like the present, so let’s begin:

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That photo helps explain and corroborate today’s title, but there’s no information for healthy living there!

Let’s see if there’s any information for healthy living in the rest of my photos from yesterday:

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When I search YouTube for “information for heathy living,” lots of videos show up, including this one:

 

Yesterday, I told my wonderful Primary Care Physician —  Dr. Laura Snydman at Tufts Medical Center —  that I hoped  my dancing was as good for healthy living as medicine is.

Here‘s Bailey and Gino from So You Think You Can Dance (which I think is great medicine):

 

Feel free to add more information for healthy living in the comments section, below.

Here’s some healthy thanks from your grateful blogger:

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, self-care, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2357: First-Aid for Desperate Moments

When I was having some desperate moments yesterday because of sleep deprivation (among other stressors), I found “First-Aid for Desperate Moments” online at Sundown Healing Arts, with these helpful phrases from Sonia Connolly, LMT, Reiki Master:

“I give thanks for help unknown already on the way.”

“It ended.”

“This problem is already solved.”

“I am doing the right thing.”

“What if this isn’t mine?”

“Don’t go to the hardware store for milk.”

“Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”

“I am already good enough.”

“I don’t need fixing.”

“It’s okay to be where I am right now.”

It was more than okay to be at Sonia Connolly’s helpful website.

I would like to believe that, as a group and individual therapist, I provide first-aid for desperate moments, too.

Here are some moments from yesterday:

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Dining out near the ocean is definitely first-aid for desperate moments and so is music I love. Here’s “First Circle” from the Pat Metheny Group:

 

What is your first-aid for desperate moments?

Gratitude is an aid for any moment, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2346: The Pest Reliever

Sometimes, the first photo I take affects how I see things for the rest of the day, as well as the contents of my next blog.

Here’s the first photo I took yesterday:

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It’s a relief to share that I can see myself as a kind of pest reliever — relieving  what pesters my patients and also myself. Those pests include:

  • shame,
  • worry,
  • stress,
  • anxiety,
  • depression,
  • perfectionism,
  • traumatic memories, and
  • harsh judgments (like the inner critic).

Pest relievers can include:

  • acceptance,
  • appreciation,
  • forgiveness,
  • humor,
  • welcoming all feelings,
  • self-expression,
  • self-care,
  • care for others,
  • compassion,
  • celebrating,
  • being in the moment,
  • nature, and
  • community.

Let’s see if there are any pest relievers in my other photos from yesterday (presented as taken chronologically, so I don’t pester myself about any “right or wrong” order):

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Michael’s cooking is definitely a pest reliever.   I sometimes pester Michael for his cooking secrets to share here: there’s no pesto on that salmon, but rather a delicious lime, mint, and fresh peach sauce.

Music can be another pest reliever, so here’s “Voodoo Mambo” from The Pest, starring John Leguizamo.

 

Now I’m going to be a pest and ask for comments, below.

As always, a great pest reliever is gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this pest-reliever post and thanks to you — of course! — for visiting.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2337: Maintaining Positive Mental Health

In yesterday’s mostly positive post, I shared this information about maintaining positive mental health:

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Tip 1: Connect with others.

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Tip 2: Be physically active.

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Tip 3: Get professional help if needed (not pictured, but click on the link if needed).

Tip 4: Celebrate every moment.

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Tip 5: Be aware of the time, so you can savor it without rushing.

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Tip 6: Try not to get overwhelmed by all the data out there.

Tip 7: Observe, just notice.

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Tip 8: Welcome everyone and everything.

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Tip 9: Travel thoughtfully.

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Tip 10: Spend time with people you love.

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Tips 11 and 12: Smile and travel light.

Tip 13: Use any excuse …

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… to share music you love (here and here on YouTube):

Tip 14:  Practice the helpful antidote to the cognitive distortion of mind reading by reality testing — asking for reactions from people you respect (that’s you, readers!)

Tip 15: Express gratitude, every day.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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