therapy

Day 2581: 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 2580: 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 2522: 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 2517: 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: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2393: 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 2382: 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 2373: 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: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2355: Blame

Who’s to blame for never writing a post titled “Blame” before, even though it’s one of the thirteen cognitive distortions discussed here?

I’m to blame for that and for repeating that description here:

We blame ourselves for every problem, or hold other people entirely responsible for a negative situation or feeling. When we focus on assigning blame and figuring out who is “at fault”, we are usually ignoring the complexity of a situation. Also, blaming can result in staying stuck in negative feelings, rather than moving towards action and solutions.

Does it help to blame?  What about this major news story?

1 million species are at risk of extinction.  Humans are to blame.

I’m very upset about that news story.  Can you blame me?

However, I don’t want to stay stuck in negative feelings. I’d rather move towards actions and solutions. But what actions and solutions are there?

I try not to blame myself for becoming overwhelmed, sometimes, by the immensity of problems.

I do think there is a difference between blaming and taking responsibility. Blaming keeps us stuck in the past and pointing fingers at each other.  Taking responsibility is more adult, focusing less on shame and more on the next achievable steps.

I take responsibility for all these photos and please don’t blame me if they don’t relate to today’s topic (because I took them all before I knew what I was going to write about this morning).

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Here‘s the witch from Stephen Sondheim’s  Into the Woods singing about the futility of blame:

I take responsibility for expressing my sincere gratitude at the end of every post.  Thanks to all for helping me create this blog and for reading it, here and now!

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

Day 2270: Whatever works

It works for me to tell you about a book a patient loaned me at work — CONTEMPORARY PRAYERS TO [whatever works] by conceptual artist Hannah Burr.

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Every day, I am on the lookout for whatever works and making it fun!

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Whatever Michael does to make his meals so delicious, it works!

Whatever song would work for this post?

 

Are you going to leave a comment?  Whatever works for you.

it works for me to express my thanks to all who helped me create this whatever-works post and — of course! — to YOU, for your time, effort, great energy, and whatever!!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2251: What am I?

“What am I?” recently showed up on my office white board.

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What am I that I didn’t write the discussed follow-up to that question: “Chopped liver?”

What am I if I don’t explain that “What am I?  Chopped liver?” is a way some people express feeling expendable, unappreciated, and less-than.

What am I if I don’t link to this entry from knowyourphrase.com and quote this from there?

WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER?

Meaning:

A rhetorical question used by a person who feels they are being given less attention or consideration than someone else.

Synonyms: None.

Origin Of ‘What Am I, Chopped Liver?’
​The origin of this phrase is not really clear. I have, however, heard of two theories that may indicate how this expression came to be. The first is that liver is not always viewed on the same level as others foods. For example, if a person is cooking a chicken, they’ll oftentimes throwaway the giblets, you know, like the liver or gizzard. Or instead of throwing the giblets away, the person will cook them, not for themselves, but for their pets to eat. Hence, since liver is not usually as desirable to eat as other foods, the expression might spring from such an idea.

Another explanation, as Wikipedia explains, is that “chopped liver was traditionally served as a side dish rather than a main course.” So the idea would be that sometimes, a person might feel like their thoughts or feelings are not being considered as fully as they should, so they feel like they are being treated as if they were a side dish.

Example Sentence(s)

1. Jake, a friend of mine, asked what my sister and I thought of his new clothes, but he seemed to specifically ignore my comments… what am I, chopped liver?

Have you read my similarly titled blog posts — Day 1313: Who am I? and Day 625: Where am I?  Why not?  What am I, chopped liver?

What are my photos, chopped liver?

 

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What is that, chopped liver?  No, it’s delicious salmon, brussels sprouts, and quinoa.

What are these videos (found here and here)? Chopped liver?

What are you, chopped liver?  No, you are my valuable and much appreciated readers, so many thanks!

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Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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