Posts Tagged With: cognitive distortions

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 2335: In a perfect world

In a perfect world,

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trees would always be flowering,

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everybody would get to live exactly where they want,

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there would be effective and meaningful communication despite skepticism, religious differences, difficult people, and cognitive distortions like blaming,

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we would be looking to the future for our children,

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the best things in life would be free,

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potato chips would be good for you,

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people would greet each other without fear,

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there would be safe places for people to work things out together, and

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every home would have a cat and every cat would have a home.

 

In a perfect world, all people would be able to express their thoughts  and feelings about their perfect worlds (which you can do, below).

Searching for “in a perfect world” on YouTube finds this

and this.

I find Phora‘s lyrics so perfect that I’m going to include them here:

In A Perfect World

by Phora

Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
See, in a perfect world it would all be so simple
Sometimes simple isn’t worth it
Cause all the hard times I’ve been through
Made me the man I am today
And I ain’t nowhere close to perfect
But I’m perfectly fine with that, I’m still breathing
So many scars and wounds that’ll never heal
I’m still bleeding, I know you see ’em
All those imperfections in yourself
You’re just stressing it too much, but life’s a lesson in itself
One day we’ll learn what it means
One day we’ll learn to be free
Baby, I’ve been trying to separate my wants and my needs
But what does perfect mean?
Lately I’ve been asking myself
If I paint you this picture maybe you’ll answer yourself
You see, a perfect world to me is no more violence
No more gunshots at night, homie and no more
Sirens
No more kids losing their life too soon and no drunk driving
I seen it a lot happen way too many times and we ain’t trying
We ain’t trying hard enough to change it, broken hearts and hatred
A perfect world to me is a world free of this racists
So who are you to judge a person by the color of skin
How hard is it just to smile and treat each other as kin
I wish, there was a world where our children could play outside
Without a drive-by, curving and watching straight bullets fly
But why, why does it feel like we’re not ready?
When I talk about change, man
Why I feel like they don’t get me?
Well, I guess I ain’t perfect enough
One day the money and jewels gon’ be worthless to us
We gonna value ourselves based of the love in our hearts
Not the cash in our pockets
I’m thinking what if we start a perfect world
Where the music ain’t downgrading our women
And they stop degrading themselves
They lost faith in our women
Trust me, I’m the one to judge, can’t stand the way that I’m livin’
We all dream of that perfect place and man, I’m way beyond vision
See, I can hear it, taste it and feel it
The scent of it is so potent
Perfect like your first love before your heart was broken
Perfect like the sound of crashing waves in the ocean
It’s perfect like the sound of music when you play it while smoking
So many, perfect imperfections in this world, still I love it here
Only 21 and I hope to make it another year
But if not, my soul will be perfectly free
She might not be perfect to you, but man she’s perfect to me
Yours Truly
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
Ain’t nobody perfect
You see, the very end of it
I didn’t know where I was
All I know it was peaceful
Almost like a place nothing could go wrong
A place so perfect
I’ve always imagined a place like this
Ever since I was young, I was
Never really able to sleep
My mom always told me:
“Close your eyes, picture the waves crashing
Imagine yourself there with no worries”
That’s the only thing that ever really helps
So much going on in this world
Sometimes I wonder if we were able to think our
Own heaven into existence
What would mine be like?
Well, I think I finally found it
Better yet, I think it’s been with me all along

I think gratitude has been with me all along, so thanks to all who helped me create this post today and — of course! — to YOU, for making my world more perfect.

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

Day 2205: Who gives a crap?

Who gives a crap about where today’s blog title came from?

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If you do give a crap, I saw that sign yesterday on the wall of a huge glass-blowing facility called Almost Perfect Glass  in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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There’s my  almost perfect friend, Deb, who was working the annual holiday glass sale at Almost Perfect Glass, which is the home of NOCA Glass School (where Deb has taken many courses, because she gives a crap about glass blowing). Deb and I give a crap about each other and have since we were in our teens. People say we look and act like sisters, and not just because we both wear the same t-shirt (which I gave her years ago because she gave a crap about what it says).

Who gives a crap about any of my other photos from yesterday?

 

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I give a crap about  talent, nature,  mindfulness, and all that’s in your head.

While we all give a crap about what’s important to us,  it also helps to let go of worry, shame, and other crap filling your brain by saying, “Who gives a crap!”

Who gives a crap about this“Who Gives a Crap” song on YouTube?

Who gives a crap about whether Who Gives a Crap is “toilet paper” or “bathroom tissue”?

Thanks to all who helped me create this who-gives-a-crap post and to you — of course! — for giving enough of a crap to read it.

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2123: All your feelings are okay

Yesterday, in a therapy group, people talked about uncomfortable feelings, including anger, fear, and sadness. Some had  “secondary” feelings about their feelings, including guilt and shame.

Because negative thoughts and feelings can stick,  I felt it was okay to ask people to write helpful phrases on yellow stickies. I feel that it’s okay to share some of those yellow stickies here:

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It’s okay that I was feeling rushed when I took that photo of “This too shall pass.”

All your feelings are okay about my photos in this post.

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All my feelings are okay, including anger — which I’m expressing in my new song, “I’m Mad About You” — and confidence about performing that song a week from Friday.

“This Feeling” by The Chainsmokers featuring Kelsea Ballerini comes up when I search YouTube for “all your feelings are okay.”

All my feelings are okay about this comment after that YouTube video:

MITA DAS
1 week ago
I think 0:00 0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04 0:05 0:06 0:07 0:08 0:09 0:10 0:11 0:12 0:13 0:14 0:15 0:16 0:17 0:18 0:19 0:20 0:21 0:22 0:23 0:24 0:25 0:26 0:27 0:28 0:29 0:30 0:31 0:32 0:33 0:34 0:35 0:36 0:37 0:38 0:39 0:40 0:41 0:42 0:43 0:44 0:45 0:46 0:47 0:48 0:49 0:50 0:51 0:52 0:53 0:54 0:55 0:56 0:57 0:58 0:59 1:00 1:01 1:02 1:03 1:04 1:05 1:06 1:07 1:08 1:09 1:10 1:11 1:12 1:13 1:14 1:15 1:16 1:17 1:18 1:19 1:20 1:21 1:22 1:23 1:24 1:25 1:26 1:27 1:28 1:29 1:30 1:31 1:32 1:33 1:34 1:35 1:36 1:37 1:38 1:39 1:40 1:41 1:42 1:43 1:44 1:45 1:46 1:47 1:48 1:49 1:50 1:51 1:52 1:53 1:54 1:55 1:56 1:57 1:58 1:59 2:00 2:01 2:02 2:03 2:04 2:05 2:06 2:07 2:08 2:09 2:10 2:11 2:12 2:13 2:14 2:15 2:16 2:17 2:18 2:19 2:20 2:21 2:22 2:23 2:24 2:25 2:26 2:27 2:28 2:29 2:30 2:31 2:32 2:33 2:34 2:35 2:36 2:37 2:38 2:39 2:40 2:41 2:42 2:43 2:44 2:45 2:46 2:47 2:48 2:49 2:50 2:51 2:52 2:53 2:54 2:55 2:56 2:57 2:58 2:59 3:00 3:01 3:02 3:03 3:04 3:05 3:06 3:07 3:08 3:09 3:10 3:11 3:12 3:13 3:14 3:15 3:16 are the best parts.

All your feelings are okay, and I hope you express them in a comment, below.

All my okay feelings, here and now, include gratitude towards all those who helped me create today’s all-your-feelings-are-okay post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2121: Making noise

Is making noise making things better or worse? Today, I’m making noise about the fact that some news columnists are speculating that how the USA opposition party is making noise might be hurting their chances in the upcoming midterm election.

Lately, I’ve been making noise in my therapy groups, inviting people to be making noise when we do a mindfulness exercise that focuses on listening.  This is the noise I’m making when I introduce that exercise:

In this mindfulness exercise, we’re going to focus on the sense of hearing. After you hear the sound of the chime, do your best to listen to all the noises in the room. Feel free to make noise to make the exercise more interesting for other people.

That’s my attempt at making it safer for people to be making noise, since many of us can be self-conscious about the noises we’re making, especially when other people are listening.

I’ll be making noise soon with these Right & Wrong Buzzers:

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Even though I’m often making noise about letting go of  unhelpful concepts of wrong and right, I’ll be making noise to encourage people to change old habits of thinking (including the cognitive distortions described here).

It’s okay to be making noise or to be silent about the other images I captured yesterday.

Because the wind was making so much noise yesterday, I didn’t go for my usual walk. Instead, I was making noise by making ukulele chords for  my latest original song “I’m Mad About You.”

With that song, I’m making noise about anger (especially towards politicians).

It’s time for me to be making noise about gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this “Making noise” post and — of course! — to YOU, for all the noises you’re making.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 2080: Negative filter

After filtering the positive and the negative for two thousand and eighty consecutive days here at The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, I’m amazed that I haven’t written about the common cognitive distortion of Negative Filter before today.

Negative filtering (also known as “Disqualifying the positive”).
This is when we focus on the negative, and filter out all positive aspects of a situation. For example, you get a good review at work with one critical comment, and the criticism becomes the focus, with the positive feedback fading or forgotten. You dismiss positives by explaining them away — for example, responding to a compliment with the thought, “They were just being nice.”

Why do people disqualify the positive?  Why do we focus on the negative?  When I try to filter through experience and answer those questions, my best guess is that the negative gets our attention because our survival has depended on our being hyper aware of danger and fixating on problems until we solve them.

However, negative filter can lead to depression, hopelessness, and an inability to enjoy the positive.

How can we filter our experiences more effectively, letting in the positive AND the negative? And how can we deal with all the information around us, which can clog up our filters?

As usual, I don’t have all the answers but I do have lots of questions, like what kind of filters do you see in my recent photos?

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Let things come to you, but please don’t filter out the positive.

Last night, when I was working on letting go of my own negative filter, I positively  and completely enjoyed this tap routine on the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance (if you want to filter everything else out, the dancing starts at 2:30):

 

Gratitude helps clean out the filter, so thanks to Evan DeBenedetto, Lex Ishimoto,  choreographer Anthony Morigerato, everyone else who helped me filter through recent experiences to create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2070: What’s your super power

Yesterday, I used my photographic super power to take a picture of this:

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What’s your super power?  Do you have more than one? Are you so super modest that it’s difficult to own your super powers?

Here’s a super incomplete list of my super powers:

  1. Taking pictures (see above).
  2. Blogging daily.
  3. Facilitating group healing.
  4. Coming up with new ideas.
  5. Finding cool socks.

I recently told a  super co-worker that helping a patient find a psychiatrist was NOT one of my super powers. I’m super secure that it’s super helpful to be aware and accepting of our super powers AND our limitations.

Speaking of limitations, I recently had the super idea that I stop using the super-judgmental  label “stupid” about myself or anybody else and use the superior word “limited” instead.

Do you see any super powers in my other super snapshots from yesterday?

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We think you deserve a treat, no matter what your super powers or limitations. I shall now attempt to find a super treat on YouTube for my super readers.

There’s a super number of videos on YouTube asking and perhaps answering the question, “What’s your super power?”  However, I’d rather share some super music like Super Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” and “Superwoman.”

I hope you use your super power of making comments, below.

It’s time to use my super power of expressing thanks to all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.  And I shall use my super powers to get back here as quickly as possible.

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

Day 2047: A thought is just a thought

Yesterday, in a therapy group where many thoughts were expressed …

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… I said, “A thought is just a thought.”  One of the group members thought that thought was important, so I wrote it up on the board:

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The group members thought that was helpful, because the thoughts people expressed in the group included fortune telling, catastrophizing, mind reading, personalization, all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalizing, jumping to conclusions, labelling, shoulds, and other cognitive distortions.  For example, my expressed thoughts included, “The plane might crash on Saturday!”

As I’m writing this blog post, my thoughts include this one: “My shoulder, after my fall in January,  will never be right.”

We all have lots of thoughts. Thoughts are NOT the same as actions or accurate forecasts of the future. I’ve thought, many times, to challenge a thought with this question, “Is that a helpful thought?”

A thought is just a thought and a photo is just a photo.

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A thought is just a thought, a barrier is just a barrier, a verb is just a verb,  a memory is just a memory,  and a theme song is just a theme song.

Feel free to express your just thoughts in a comment, below.

Gratitude is just gratitude, so thanks to all whose thoughts helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to thoughtful YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2028: Comparisons

Not to make comparisons, but I’ve written at least two previous posts about the cognitive distortion of comparisons (here and here).

Comparisons.
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.” Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before. We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we focused on comparisons.

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I believe the human mind is built to make comparisons, in order to make meaning of what’s around us.  However, when we compare ourselves to others, the resulting blows to our self-confidence and self-esteem can be beyond compare.

I’ve been making a different type of comparison lately.  I compare the blog posts I’ve written after and before the November 2016 USA presidential election and I see differences. Less joy.  Less hope.  Less confidence in the future.  Less faith in humans to be respectful and kind.

Some might compare me to a snowflake.  Personally, I don’t mind being compared to a snowflake — each one is beautiful, intricate, and unique.

Let’s see how the rest of my photos compare to the one I’ve included above.

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When I search YouTube for “comparisons,” most of the results have to do with money and wealth — not particularly useful comparisons.

If we don’t realize all animals are beyond compare, we will continue to lose more and more to extinction.  Here’s a video showing comparisons of animal size:

The most recent comment on that video includes this: “Fake news.” I now compare my life to how it was before I heard that phrase so frequently.

Here‘s one result for “comparisons music.”

I look forward to comparisons in comments, below.

Now it’s time to compare  two ways of my expressing gratitude to all who helped me create another “comparisons” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

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