Posts Tagged With: cognitive behavioral therapy

Day 2782: First guess, best guess

What’s your first guess about why today’s post is titled “First guess, best guess”? Let’s find out if it’s the best guess.

Since the first day I met my best friend/husband Michael, he’s been saying, “First guess, best guess.”

One of my other best friends wrote to me the other day, when I felt insecure about how I had run a board meeting:  “I’m not sure 2nd guessing is helpful.”

Is it your first guess, best guess that both those pieces of advice — “First guess, best guess” and “I’m not sure 2nd guessing is helpful” — mean the same thing?

I love guessing and I don’t stop with my first guess. If I DID stop with my first guess, our ailing and adorable cat Oscar would not be alive today.  Also, Michael’s first guess was that the Social Security office had his correct birthday on file and they did NOT.  My next guess about filing our taxes is that we’ll have to do that by mail, which is not exactly a catastrophe (although my first guess — when the IRS rejected our e-filing this weekend because Michael’s birthday on the form did not match Social Security’s record — was that it WAS a catastrophe).

Catastrophizing is a common cognitive distortion (which we talk about in my Coping and Healing groups) where our first guess is that a catastrophe is imminent, even though it isn’t.

Since catastrophizing is a first guess, not best guess, I’m now guessing that “first guess, best guess” is not always best.

However, my first guess about Michael, when I first met him on okCupid, was that he was a wonderful person I wanted in my life.  I’ve had similar first guess, best guesses about other people, including the other best friend I quoted above.

My best guess about guesses, here and now, is that it’s best to trust our intuition AND also be open to new evidence that comes along.

What’s your first guess, best guess about what’s next in this blog post?

If you guessed photos, your first guess was the best!

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In today’s Daily Bitch Calendar, auto-correct’s first guess was not the best guess.

This is the first song I heard by The Guess Who, which I think is their best:

My first guess was that the title of that song was “She’s Come Undone” but my best guess is that it is “Undun.”

My first guess, best guess is that there will be great comments about today’s post.

First guess, best guess, constant guess is to express gratitude every day.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2639: Metaphors

As an English literature major and a clinician practicing narrative therapy, I often notice metaphors, including thinly veiled ones:

If you read carefully that comic strip by Levni Yilmaz, you’ll also discover cognitive distortions including shoulds, emotional reasoning, labeling, and blaming.

Do you see any metaphors in my other captured images from yesterday?

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I wonder if it’s a metaphor that on this Presidents’ Day weekend my phone and my laptop are not communicating and are refusing to share images with each other. Maybe it’s a metaphor that I’m working harder to create these posts, starting on my phone and then completing my daily blog on my laptop.

Nevertheless, it’s easy enough to share this metaphor-filled song, performed by The Temptations and UB40:

I look forward to any metaphors, similes, or other figures of speech in your comments, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create this “Metaphors” post, including YOU!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2608: My readers

Yesterday, one of my readers (my bass-playing dentist Dr. Del Castillo) sent me this “for your blog”:

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Speaking of mugging, another one of my readers (my long-time friend Deb) sent me this wedding gift, which arrived yesterday:

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What do my readers understand about my other photos for today?

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Those last two photos are for my readers who like dogs.

I believe it would help my readers to change this very unhelpful thought …

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… to these thoughts instead:

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Another one of my readers sent me this, hoping it would help people:

 

I hope my readers will enjoy what I’m listening to, right now.

 

I don’t know what I would do without my readers, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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 2502: How to feel less anxious

Yesterday morning,  I asked my readers “What are you feeling?”  Later in the day, I learned that everybody in my Coping and Healing group was feeling anxious.

Just in case you’re feeling anxious, here’s the list the group created together about how to feel less anxious.

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I got a little anxious, just now, when I momentarily couldn’t read the last entry in the middle column, above.  I feel less anxious remembering that it says “balloons” —  somebody in the group shared their anxiety-reducing technique of imagining fears attached to balloons that float away.

What would you add to that brainstormed list of “How to Feel Less Anxious”?

Might any of my other photos from yesterday help you feel less anxious?

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Personally, I feel less anxious when I

  • am  all that I can be,
  • own my leadership qualities,
  • imagine new leaders for our country,
  • find the safety in the moment,
  • recognize that everybody has mood swings,
  • show up,
  • am gentle with myself and others,
  • tell the truth,
  • avoid the cognitive distortion of black-and-white (all-or-nothing) thinking by seeing shades of gray,
  • enjoy Michael’s nourishing food,
  • sit outside,
  • wear cool socks,
  • accept that sometimes I’ll be running late,
  • hang around with nice kitties, and
  • share my anxieties (like,now, in this daily blog).

Here‘s a video titled “How to be Less Anxious.”

As I mentioned in group yesterday, one person’s anxiety reducer might be another person’s anxiety increaser, as you can see in these comments about that video:

Maria ER
3 years ago
This video stressed me out

Ian P
3 years ago
I’m not sure ‘the indifference of nature’ is making me feel less anxious, lol.
Laura Thomas
4 years ago
I feel like this isn’t so much about being less anxious as it is about being more mindful. Still good, though.
Survive the Jive
5 years ago
The sea is so primal, even the mountains are younger. It evokes visceral feelings of man in context to the earth. Strange that meditating on the comparative insignificance of our lives to the span of nature should actually be so life affirming.

Ashley Valentin
2 years ago
Reading the comments made me more anxious than the video…

Experiencing and expressing gratitude make me feel less anxious, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2399: You can’t change other people’s behaviors

 

You can’t change other people’s behaviors.  You can only change your reactions to them and/or your own behaviors.

You can’t change my behaviors, including

  • blogging daily,
  • working hard, and
  • sharing my photos, including these:

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I can’t change Michael’s behaviors, which include monogramming my slice of left-over gelato cake last night.

You can’t change my flying to Chicago today to spend the weekend with group therapists from the American Group Psychotherapy Association, but you can wish me a safe trip.

We can’t change Brian Wilson‘s behaviors, but we can wish him a happy belated birthday and appreciate his music.

 

Keep an eye on summer, because it begins today!

I can’t change your commenting behaviors, but I’ll appreciate any comment you leave.

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

Day 2378: Practicing happiness

Yesterday, at a Coping and Healing group where we were practicing reframes, forgiveness, the serenity prayer,  acceptance of ourselves and others, and some new perspectives,  one of the group members spoke about the concept of practicing happinesss — much like one practices a musical instrument. We practiced that by going around the room and naming specific ways we could practice happiness, starting now.

One of my named ways to practice happiness was listening to music I love.

I heard “Down the Line” last night by Jacob Collier (who has obviously been practicing a lot) as I was walking down the line through the Fenway after work.

I’ve also been practicing happiness daily by blogging and by taking the photos I share here at The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally.  Can you see any examples of practicing happiness in today’s pictures?

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Voila!  When you practice happiness, just like when you practice anything else, you get better at it.

I look forward to practicing happiness later by reading comments, below, about how you might practice happiness, here and now.

Practicing happiness includes expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me write this practicing-happiness post and thanks to you, for reading it.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | 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

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