Posts Tagged With: cognitive behavioral therapy

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

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: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2336: The difference between worry and helping

As I described in last week’s post — Day 2328: A Year of No Worry — I have pledged to not worry for a year, which has been helping!  As also described in that post, I told an employee at Home Depot — who said, “It’s my job to worry” — that there was a huge difference between worry and helping.

Yesterday, in a therapy session, the difference between worry and helping came up again.

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As you can see from those lists, worry entails many negative experiences and helping includes much more positive experiences.  In some cases, the experiences are almost opposite (“frozen” vs. “warmth” and “future” vs. “in the moment”). And yet, people often intertwine worry with helping, believing that unless they worry about others, they will focus too much attention on themselves — becoming selfish jerks rather than helpers.  As usual, black and white thinking (one of the cognitive distortions found here) causes us to think it’s all or nothing — either we are selfish jerks or worrying helpers.

What I’m discovering, in my year of no worries, is that letting go of worry is helping me become a better helper to others.  Worry saps my energy and gets in the way of my being as much as possible in the moment with others and therefore more sensitive to their needs.

I’m not going to worry about whether my writing in today’s post or my other photos from yesterday are helping.

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If you need help interpreting any of those photos, don’t worry.  Ask for help and I’ll give it, worry-free.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “The difference between worry and helping”:

I think that video about differences between humans and animals is very helpful.

The  human band Golden Earring has at least two songs about worry:  “No Need to Worry”

.. and “Don’t Worry.”

 

No need to worry and don’t worry about leaving a comment, below.

Worry-free and helping thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2280: Are we having fun yet?

“Are we having fun yet?” was something I expressed several times yesterday, as I

  • started packing for my trip to L.A.,
  • grappled with money issues,
  • added a new verse to a song,
  • dealt with hurt feelings,
  • talked to people about hope and hopelessness,
  • had the self control to have the soup instead of the very fun-looking and highly caloric  pasta dish in the hospital cafeteria,
  • couldn’t find my folder filled with group therapy worksheets and exercises,
  • glanced at the news, and
  • facilitated two groups, one of which focused on fun.

Are we having fun yet in today’s blog post?

Are we having fun yet as we try to read my handwriting in today’s photos?

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Are we having fun yet as I share this story about when I decided to have fun earlier this week?

Wednesday morning, after my second night in a row of insomnia, I looked at the weather app on my iPhone to decide how to dress for the day.  I saw that the day was going to start out cold but become considerably warmer, so I decided to wear a very light coat.  When I was driving to work, I looked at the app again and noticed that I had been looking at the weather for Cupertino, California, instead of the weather for Boston, Massachusetts, which was going to start cold and stay that way.  I decided to have fun with it, so I laughed instead of complaining whenever I felt the cold.

Are we having fun yet trying to guess what music I’m going to share in today’s post?

YouTube suggests that I share this one:

 

Are you having fun yet?  If not, how might you have more fun today?  Would it help to leave a fun comment?

Have I expressed my gratitude yet for all those who helped me create this are-we-having-fun-yet post and — of course — for YOU?

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2223: Be a hero.

“Be a hero” — a sign I saw yesterday —

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reminds me of a post I wrote my second week of blogging, almost six years ago: Day 11: You might as well be the hero of your own story.

As you can see from the blog title and from the post itself, being a blogging hero, back then, meant using far more words and a lot fewer photos.

I guess being a hero changes as we grow, learn, and mature.

Be a hero, to me, and check out my other photos from yesterday.

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Last night, Michael was being a hero by making our favorite vegetable lasagna for me and my son Aaron.

Because I’m feeling nostalgic today, here’s the first appearance of my hero Michael and his heroic lasagna in my blog (starting at 1:23).


Be a hero and please leave a comment, below.

Being a hero includes expressing appreciation and gratitude, so thanks to every hero who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! — to YOU, my heroes!

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

Day 2213: Incapable

Yesterday, I was capable of posing the bloggy question, “What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?”   Readers replied with painful memories of being labelled  unkindly  by people who were incapable of seeing that the hurtful labels were unfair and untrue.

Today, my answer to my own question — “what’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you” — is “Incapable.”

I am capable of admitting that I AM incapable in many areas, including

  • getting enough sleep,
  • knowing things before I have a chance to learn them,
  • having a poker face,
  • cooking as well as my boyfriend Michael,
  • keeping my desk neat and organized,
  • wrapping presents beautifully,
  • understanding how dogs think,
  • ignoring cats,
  • giving up hope for humanity, and
  • stopping my busy mind,

but I still think that “incapable” is the worst thing anybody has ever called me.

Three and a half years ago, when I wrote Day 867: Difficult — which had a list of every unkind label people had called me that I was capable of remembering up to that point  — I was incapable of including “incapable” on that list.  However, now that somebody HAS called me “incapable,” I am more capable of realizing that I have harshly and unfairly labeled myself “incapable” whenever  I’ve made mistakes.

Also, even though nobody called me “incapable” until recently,  I got the message I was incapable when I entered 7th grade of  a public Junior High School. The administrators there decided that, because of my heart condition, I was incapable of keeping up with the smartest kids in the class.  I eventually proved that I was not as incapable as they thought, when I became class Valedictorian senior year.

As I’m writing about “incapable,”  here and now, I am capable of letting go of that unhelpful label.  Instead, I am focusing on the ways I am capable, which include the capability to take pictures and share them here.

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I am not incapable of telling stories in rhyme, including this one:

Don’t call me too weepy,

too creepy, too sleepy,

too selfish, too giving,

too sensitive from living.

Don’t call me too bitchy,

too itchy or twitchy,

too soft or too loud,

too modest, too proud.

If you’re gonna type me or hype me,

pigeonhole, assign a role,

Decide I’m a saint or some asshole,

Don’t call me.

Don’t call me too funny or too serious

I find it deleterious,

So don’t call me.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Here‘s Keyshia Cole very capably singing “Incapable.”

I know you’re not incapable of leaving a comment.

I am not incapable of expressing my gratitude to all who helped me create this “Incapable” post and — of course! — YOU, for being capable of reading it.

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

Day 2212: What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?

Yesterday, on Facebook, I posted and posed the question: “What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?”

Was that called for, to invite people to remember the worst thing they had ever been called?  I believe that if we expose and share the worst thing we have ever been called, we can

Now, somebody may call me out and ask, “Ann, what if the worst thing that anybody ever called me IS true?”  If  there is truth in it, you can decide what you want to do about it. However, in all my years of asking this question, and people answering

  • stupid,
  • lazy,
  • worthless,
  • crazy,
  • selfish,
  • fat,
  • ugly,
  • incapable, and
  • other harsh, hurtful,  and over-generalized judgments,

I have seen no helpful truth there.

We could do worse than examine today’s photos for worst things we’ve been called.

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Has anyone ever called you despicable, including yourself?

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Has anybody ever called you gross? Artificial?

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Has anybody ever called you out for  hanging on for too long?

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Has anybody ever called you weird-looking?  Scary?  Too starey?  Too expressive?   Too transparent?

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Has anybody ever called you an ass? Too distant?

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Has anybody ever called you too spacy?

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Has anybody ever called you foolish?  Greedy?  Not knowing what’s good for you?

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Has anybody ever called you vain?  Up-tight?

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Has anybody ever called you pushy?  Has anybody ever told you you’re not doing enough with your life?

 

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Has anybody called you thoughtless?  A doormat? Catty?  A baby?

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Has anybody ever called you a psychopath?

I’m working on a song called “Don’t Call Me” (and I’ve called out the lyrics here). Before I can call that song finished, here’s “Call Me” by Blondie.

Also, I found “The Worst Thing You’ve Been Called” on YouTube, which shows the same exercise I’ve done in my therapy groups.

I call that effective.

Now’s the time I call for comments.

I’ve never been called ungrateful (at least to my face). 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, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2195: What’s allowed

Because I often think about what’s allowed in this world, I just searched WordPress for any previous posts I might have written on this subject, because that’s allowed.

I can now allow, aloud, that I was surprised that the only post WordPress allowed in that “What’s allowed” search was Day 717: Interrupting.  Four years ago, I allowed myself to write that looooong post (which features, doctors, cows, and lots of interrupting) when I was dealing with some very confusing medical issues.  Writing about those medical issues daily and receiving helpful and supportive feedback from my readers allowed me to navigate through them.  Thank goodness all that was allowed.

So, what allowed WordPress to find a connection between “What’s Allowed” and “Interrupting” today?   I am allowing myself to speculate that interrupting, according to WordPress, is something that’s allowed. Therefore, I’m allowing myself to interrupt this post to share my photos from yesterday.

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According to those photos, it’s allowed to

  • get irritated with technology (and other things),
  • dress animals in outfits,
  • be welcoming,
  • gobble until you wobble,
  • use cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia,
  • make it all work,
  • spend four days in Fenway, and
  • appreciate Prince

… but it’s NOT allowed to go into stores with animals and bare feet (although maybe bare other things are allowed).

Sharing music is allowed, so here’s Prince with I Would Die 4 U.

While I wouldn’t exactly die 4 u to comment, I hope u know that all your thoughts and feelings about what’s allowed are allowed in the comments section, below.

Gratitude is always allowed here, so thanks to all who allowed me to create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

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