Posts Tagged With: cognitive distortions

Day 2735: For now

For now,

  • Oscar seems to be feeling better, perhaps due to his steroid medication,
  • friends and family seem to be well,
  • I am not suffering,
  • a lot of people are in pain,
  • I am facilitating a telehealth version of my Coping and Healing groups five times every week,
  • I am using the word “mute” and “unmute” way too often,
  • I’m working from home for the foreseeable future,
  • I am still President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy,
  • pasta is still my favorite food,
  • the weather in Boston is beautiful,
  • I am living near the water,
  • most people in my neighborhood are wearing masks when they are outside,
  • I see a lot of white male rage,

  • I love Melissa Villasenõr,
  • I believe in skill, perseverance, flexibility,  and luck,
  • I was inexplicably able to fix an inexplicable and annoying display change on my laptop,
  • when somebody calls me “annoying” or any other critical label, I have trouble letting go of that,
  • I think saying “hello” and “goodbye” are both very important,
  • focusing on the future often raises anxiety,
  • I’m trying to avoid fortune telling, mind reading, and the other cognitive distortions,
  • I prefer to live in the now,
  • I am very grateful for all that I have, and
  • I am sharing all my photos from yesterday.

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For now and forever, I don’t drink wine because I’m on Coumadin for the rest of my life. For now, I am totally fine with that.

For now, I need to end this post and get ready for work, so thanks to all who helped me create another “For Now” post, including YOU!

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Categories: heart condition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2675: Nuts! We’re all nuts!

Hello, my fellow nuts!  Today’s title is inspired by the very first photo I took yesterday:

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We’re all nuts because people are still

  • ignoring requests from governments to maintain social distancing,
  • hoarding certain provisions,
  • acting in old ways in the face of major new realities, and
  • personalizing, labeling, minimizing, magnifying, blaming, fortune-telling, mind-reading, negative-filtering, and all those other nutty cognitive distortions.

I hope that we nuts can figure out how to save ourselves and the planet before it’s too late, so we can keep being nuts together in less nutty ways.

All my photos today are nuts!

 

If you’re nuts about any of those photos, you can click on them to enlarge them.

Here‘s one of my favorite songs about how we’re all nuts (from before the days of social distancing):

 

If you’re nuts like me, please leave a comment below.

I am grateful to share this nutty blog with you, every day!

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Categories: health care, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 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 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 2565: What could possibly go wrong?

These days, I don’t ask myself “What could possibly go wrong?”  because I know the answer might be:

  • every little (and big) thing one’s catastrophizing mind might think of and
  • other things, too.

Asking myself “What could possibly go wrong?”  is not my favorite waste of time, because expected and unexpected things go wrong every minute, every hour, every day.

However, there is a way of asking that question that assumes a positive outcome. For example, what could possibly go wrong if I share all my photos from yesterday?

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And what could possibly go wrong if I share another version of “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time”?

Finally, what could possibly go wrong if I ask for comments and express gratitude to all my readers, including YOU?

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 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 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 2392: What am I supposed to do?

What am I supposed to do about

  • creating a blog with very limited time this morning?
  • the state of the world?
  • other people’s opinions?
  • unhelpful thoughts?
  • unfairness?
  • injustice?
  • imbalance?
  • a smudged and difficult-to-clean white board?
  • punctuation?
  • spelling?
  • nutrition?
  • climate change?
  • other changes?
  • stress?
  • pressure?
  • insomnia?
  • difficult decisions?
  • self care?
  • care of others?
  • mixed feelings?
  • other people’s feelings?
  • thorny problems?
  • physical pain?
  • emotional pain?
  • distractions?
  • interruptions?
  • fear?
  • worries about the future?
  • living in the past?
  • invasions?
  • goodbyes?
  • my latest photos?

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What am I supposed to do about British Invasion Week?

What am I supposed to do about “What Am I Supposed to Do?” by Whitey Morgan?

What am I supposed to do about  an important discussion from last night’s Coping and Healing group, in which we focused on radical acceptance?

Radical Acceptance means completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting you suffer less. (From “Three Blocks to Radical Acceptance” by Karyn Hall, PhD.)

What am I supposed to do about asking for comments?

What am I supposed to do about gratitude for all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for YOU?

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 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 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: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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