Posts Tagged With: Catastrophizing

Day 2333: Trust is …

Trust is  …

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Intelligence and integrity tell me that trust is many different things to many different people.

Trust is something I felt yesterday, when I walked near our home during the day and then performed two of my original songs at an Open Mic in Boston in front of a very noisy, post-Boston Marathon crowd.

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Trust is important  if you perform in front of people.

Trust is part of expressing gratitude, so I trust you will accept my thanks for visiting my blog, here and now.

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Categories: original song, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2277: Probable

Yesterday, I shared with my boyfriend Michael the latest catastrophizing fear in my brain.  Michael listened and then responded:

That sounds probable.

It’s probable that Michael was being sarcastic and it’s probable that I will continue to seek out Michael when I’m catastrophizing because it’s probable he will say something helpful.

It’s probable that I will continue to blog daily because that helps me, too.

It’s probable that I will snap photos and share them with you.

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It’s probable that Michael is going to make something delicious for dinner, like those burritos.

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I don’t know how probable it is that we’ll get a dog some day because of, you know, the cats.

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It’s probable that comedian Pete Holmes is visiting Lexington High School in that scene from his excellent show Crashing (even though I initially thought it was probable that was my son’s high school, instead).

According to my news feed, it’s probable that  many people will be running for U.S. President in 2020.

It seems probable, to me, that unless we human beings drastically change our behaviors, the future might look like the movie WALL-E.

It’s probable that my day at work today will be different from WALL-E’s.

It’s probable that some of my readers will comment and it’s more than probable that I’ll express gratitude to all who helped me create this “probable” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2078: Preparing for the worst-case scenario

Yesterday, as I was preparing for several worst-case scenarios, I noticed this headline in a local newspaper:

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I captured that image, preparing for the worst-case scenario of people getting confused, angry, or annoyed that I was inexplicably snapping a photo of a folded newspaper in a busy restaurant, perhaps momentarily inconveniencing people going about their business.

I wanted to photograph that “Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario” headline — despite the worst-case scenario of bothering other people — because  I believe that I am not alone in preparing for the worst-case scenario, consciously and unconsciously, every day.

Preparing for the worst-case scenario that the previous paragraph was either confusing or otherwise inadequate, I will now redirect you to many blog posts about the cognitive distortion of catastrophizing (here, herehere, here, here, here, here,  here, and here).

Preparing for the worst-case scenario that nobody will look at those previous posts I’ve written, I shall now prepare a list of my current thoughts and feelings about preparing for the worst-case scenario, as follows:

  • People who want to sell you something often do so by seemingly preparing you for the worst-case scenario.
  • Action movies, like the latest Mission Impossible film (which I saw yesterday), are built on worst-case scenarios (e.g., the destruction of the world)  being thwarted, at the last possible second,  by super human actions performed by people who are much stronger and smarter than anybody I know.  My mind then goes to this worst-case scenario: what chance do actual human beings have in averting disaster in real time and real life?
  • Some reader might chastise me with this: why can’t you just enjoy a great action movie without all this thinking about worst-case scenarios?
  • It’s difficult to prepare for the worst-case scenario when so many seem possible in the moment. How do we even  choose what the worst-case scenario is, from moment to moment and day to day?  And then, how do we prepare for it amid all these shifting sands and different opinions out there?
  • Whenever I listen to or watch the news, I notice people preparing for worst-case scenarios that are often diametrically opposed from each other.
  • A nation (and world!)  so polarized and conflicted is — according to Abraham Lincoln —  a worst-case scenario: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
  • I’m preparing for the worst-case scenario that my readers might think I haven’t done my homework in preparing this post by pointing out that “A house divided against itself cannot stand” originally appeared in the New Testament.
  • Preparing for worst-case scenarios in our daily lives (e.g., my health is declining,  my money is running out, I won’t be able to survive this latest loss, I may fail miserably in this venture, people will judge and/or abandon me) may seem to prepare and arm us for difficulties, but it also depletes and sometimes defeats us, even before we’ve tried.

Should I be preparing you for any worst-case scenarios in my other photos from yesterday?

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Last night, as I watched the fabulous fireworks celebrating the opening of the new Hancock Adams Park in historic Quincy, Massachusetts, USA, I was preparing myself for the worst-case scenario that I wouldn’t capture any of the wonderful smiley-face fireworks that were a part of the display. Despite preparing for that worst-case scenario, I loved every moment of those fireworks.

So I guess that’s the best I can do, these days: realize that my mind is going to naturally be preparing for the worst-case scenario but also getting as much as I can from every moment I’m still alive.

I’m now preparing for the worst-case scenario that people will notice all the flaws I see in this performance of my second original song “Catatrophizing” from two months ago …

… and this more recent performance, listed under the title “How not to be a busker, by Ann Koplow” on YouTube (and starting at 4:04):

How are you preparing for the worst-case scenario, these days?

As always, I’m preparing for the worst-case scenario by focusing on gratitude for what I do have. Thanks to all who helped me prepare this worst-case scenario post and — of course! — YOU, from the bottom of my catastrophizing heart.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2014: How do you stop catastrophizing?

When there are so many catastrophes around, how do you stop catastrophizing?

Do you share what you observe?

When the cupboard is bare, do you stock it?

Do you imagine a world without cancer?

Do you keep calm and carry on?

Do you get in touch with your strengths?

Do you change your life?

Do you try to see your way through all the clutter?

Do you let go of judgment and cognitive distortions, focusing on what helps?

Do you try meditation?

Do you turn to music?

Do you share your catastrophizing with other people?

Do you forgive yourself and others for mistakes? Do you gird yourself for the next catastrophe? Or, do you focus on gratitude?

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1988: It’s all in the details

Here’s a detail about how I got today’s title:

Do you agree that it’s all in the details?

I love these details about how to live life:

  1. Show up.
  2. Be gentle (with others and with yourself).
  3. Tell the truth.

I’m telling the truth about the details of the first verse of my second original song, “Catastrophizing.”

Now that I’ve started this song

So many things could go wrong.

What if I make a mistake?

This string or that string could break!

I think I sound out of tune.

You look like you’re leaving soon!

©️Ann Koplow 2018

Here are the details of my other photos from yesterday.

Nothing says fun like this video where it’s all in the details.

It’s all in all the details for comedian Todd Barry, whom my son saw Friday night.

I noticed that some of the details in Todd Barry’s routine are about Chicago. It’s all in the details when you travel and I’m traveling to Chicago with my son in two weekends.

I’m looking forward to all the details in your comments below.

It’s all in the details when you express gratitude, so thanks to everyone who helped me create today’s detailed post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1983: My mind’s a blank

“My mind’s a blank” is a line from the second original song I recently wrote, “Catastrophizing.”

My mind’s a blank when I try to find things to say about these photos I took yesterday:

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My mind’s a blank when I try to describe how Michael transforms a blank plate into a lovely feast.

My mind’s a blank when I hear some people’s ideas about how to keep a school safe.  Guns?  Metal Detectors?  Panic buttons?  Cameras? Cupcakes?

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My mind’s a blank when I

  • eat too much sugar,
  • catastrophize,
  • am really impressed,
  • get very nervous,
  • am in pain,
  • have to deliver a speech,
  • consider current American politics,
  • try to meditate,
  • look at a hostile or disapproving face,
  • need to fill out a form,
  • feel overcome by emotions,
  • wonder what I’m going to blog about in the future,
  • wonder about the future in general,
  • don’t get enough sleep,
  • am about to perform in front of people,
  • can’t find the right words,
  • encounter cruelty or stupidity, and
  • think about people I love who are dying.

When is your mind a blank?

“My Mind’s a Blank” by Wiretaps gets blank reactions on YouTube.

Is your mind a blank here and now?  If so, will you leave a blank comment?

Even when a card is blank inside ….

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… it can still say “Thank You.”

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Thanks to all who help me create these posts even when my mind’s a blank and — of course! — to you, for temporarily blanking out everything else to read this blog.

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

Day 1962: It’s not the end of the world

It’s not the end of the world.  We know this, because you are reading this blog.

“It’s not the end of the world” is something my parents used to say to me in the 1960s, especially during times when I thought the world was ending.

“It’s not the end of the world” is a phrase I repeat to myself and others, to reduce the cognitive distortion of catastrophizing.

It’s not the end of the world, even when you visit a place called World’s End, which could have been the site of the United Nations or of a nuclear power plant, instead of the park and conservation area it became in 1967.

 

 

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It’s not the end of the world when your Global Positioning System initially takes you to a neighborhood in a nearby town instead of the real World’s End, especially because there was beauty there, too.

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It’s not the end of the world when you can’t find the perfect song for a blog post, like I did today.

It’s not the end of the world when you temporarily lose your phone and can’t share  photos you collected the day before, because in this life, you often get a second chance.

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Thanks to World’s End, my late parents, my GPS system, the late Emilio Navaira, and — of course! — YOU, for making it to the end of this post.

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

Day 1907: A grain of salt

People I love keep telling me to take things with a grain of salt, even though I should be restricting my salt intake.

If you don’t know the meaning of the idiom “a grain of salt,” take this!

“(With) a grain of salt”, (or “a pinch of salt”) is an idiom of the English language, which means to view something with skepticism or not to interpret something literally.

In a pinch, here are more grains of wisdom from that Wikipedia page:

Hypotheses of the phrase’s origin include Pliny the Elder‘s Naturalis Historia, regarding the discovery of a recipe for an antidote to a poison.[2] In the antidote, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats involving the poison were thus to be taken “with a grain of salt”, and therefore less seriously.

The phrase cum grano salis (“with a grain of salt”) is not what Pliny wrote. It is constructed according to the grammar of modern European languages rather than Classical Latin. Pliny’s actual words were addito salis grano (“after having added a grain of salt”).

An alternative account says that the Roman general Pompey believed he could make himself immune to poison by ingesting small amounts of various poisons, and he took this treatment with a grain of salt to help him swallow the poison. In this version, the salt is not the antidote. It was taken merely to assist in swallowing the poison.

The Latin word salis means both “salt” and “wit”, so that the Latin phrase “cum grano salis” could be translated as both “with a grain of salt” and “with a grain (small amount) of wit”. The phrase is said “with a pinch of salt” in British English and said “with a grain of salt” in American English.

 

These days, we could all use grains of wit, salt, and other antidotes to poisons.

Lately, I’ve been encouraged to take gloomier forecasts about my rotator cuff injury with  grains of salt. Those grains of salt are more helpful than rubbing salt in that wound.

Also, I should have taken yesterday’s forecasts about a “four-easter” in Boston with a grain of salt. I woke up early to find very little snow on the ground, which means fewer grains of salt on the highways and byways today.

Michael, who sometimes tells me to take things with a BIG grain of salt, just said, “I don’t think there’s going to be anything to shovel, baby. If you need any help with your car, wake me up.”

What do you take with a grain (or a pinch)  of salt?  Any of these photos?

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You may take this with a grain of salt, but I think New England ducks have fun in the salt water.

There are at least three “Grain of Salt” songs on YouTube (here,  here, and here).

I look forward to the grains of comments about today’s post.

Grainy thanks to all who helped me write today’s salty post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1572: What’s the worst that could happen?

What’s the worst that could happen?

That’s something I ask my patients, to invite them to face their fears and to consider how likely it is that those fears will come true.

What’s the worst that could happen to you, here and now?

Is the worst that could happen to you related to

  • money?
  • harm coming to somebody you love?
  • work?
  • technology?
  • people in power?
  • illness?
  • legal issues?
  • family?
  • friends?
  • strangers?
  • time?
  • transportation?
  • the weather?
  • sports?
  • food?
  • expectations?
  • language?
  • the media?
  • the internet?
  • local politics?
  • national politics?
  • global politics?
  • natural disasters?
  • man-made disasters?
  • fire?
  • water?
  • change?
  • taking risks?
  • going outside?
  • staying inside?
  • accidents?
  • making mistakes?
  • misunderstandings?
  • malice?
  • something else?

What’s the worst that could happen, at this point, in this post? Would it  be my defining “catastrophizing” AGAIN?

Catastrophizing.
This is a particularly extreme and painful form of fortune telling, where we project a situation into a disaster or the worst-case scenario. You might think catastrophizing helps you prepare and protect yourself, but it usually causes needless anxiety and worry.

Would the worst that could happen in this post be seemingly random pictures?

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I hope that the worst that could happen to my son today will be his mother posting a picture of him on her blog.

Here’s  “The Worst that Could Happen” music from YouTube:

 

The worst that could happen, right now, would be my forgetting to thank all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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