Posts Tagged With: coping and healing groups

Day 3307: Note to self

Note to self: Write about yesterday’s therapy group, when people sent letters to themselves starting with “Dear (your name here)” and ending with “Love, (your name here).”

Note to self: It can be very healing for people to send themselves important messages with love.

Here’s my note (or letter) to myself for today:

Dear Ann,

Remember to balance other people’s needs with your needs. And stop mindlessly snacking on popcorn and sunflower seeds to distract yourself.

Love,

Ann

Note to self: Share the images for today.

Note to self: In my groups today, do that mindfulness exercise where people hug themselves, in honor of National Hugging Day.

(Note to self: Make sure you have the date right before you publish your blog post. )

Note to self: look for a YouTube video of 97-year-old pianist Ruth Slenczynska.

Note to self: express gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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

Day 3306: Chillax

Because I can’t seem to break my habit of worrying about (1) possible catastrophes, (2) not responding quickly enough to everyone, and (3) inexplicably high numbers for my weight and my INR, I am telling myself (and anyone else who needs to hear it) to chillax.

If you don’t know what “chillax” means, chillax. Here’s a definition.

These days, I can dance to my favorite tune or chillax, but I can’t have friends over because of Omicron.

Yesterday, in a remote Coping and Healing therapy group, we helped each other chillax by consciously letting go of fears and accepting our own worth.

I recently committed to doing another remote Open Mic on Friday and doing a presentation about my groups in February, so I need to chillax about both of those. I have a tendency to get nervous about performances, even though I’ve done so many before, so (say it along with me, please) …

Chillax.

After I get up every precious morning, I chillax by creating this blog. Do any of my images for today help you chillax?

I don’t know what “World Quark Day” is, but I’m going to chillax about that. Also, I’ve been eating way too much popcorn lately, which might explain the weight gain, so instead of eating popcorn on National Popcorn Day, I’m going to chillax.

Joan chillaxes by fetching her favorite toy.

What helps you chillax?

Ending each daily blog post with gratitude helps me chillax, so thanks to everyone who is visiting here now, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 3291: Predicting the future

Predicting the future is difficult for us humans to resist.

In my therapy groups, we talk about recognizing and letting go of the common cognitive distortion of fortune-telling. When we catch ourselves predicting the future (which happens every group), we remind ourselves that we are NOT psychic.

And yet, every person I know predicts the future in one way or another. It’s as if uncertainty is more uncomfortable than deciding what’s going to happen like we know for certain. Which we don’t.

Since the beginning of this New Year, my husband Michael and I have been trying not to predict the future. Ha! My prediction is that we will keep predicting, no matter how we consciously try not to.

Last night, we watched a movie that seemed very good, I thought, at predicting the future — Don’t Look Up.

After we watched it, I, of course, tried predicting the future, by saying this to Michael:

I think that movie might help people realize what’s going on and make things better for the future.

Would anybody like to predict what Michael said or did in response to that?

He rolled his eyes.

Because certain things always happen in this blog, it’s safe predicting the future if you predict the appearance of my latest images.

I’m predicting a future where somebody on Twitter will bitch about my posting the National Days there, which I do every day.

Sometimes our experience of the past leads to better predictions, but not always! For example, I’m holding out hope that the U.S. midterms elections won’t follow the patterns of the past. If they do, I’ll be trying hard not to predict a very bleak future ahead.

I’m predicting that some of you will leave comments below.

Did anybody predict what song I’m going to include today?

Whether or not you predicted it, there’s gratitude in your immediate future.

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

Day 3288: Closure and moving on

Last night — to get some closure for 2021 while moving on to 2022 — I asked this question on Twitter:

This was a rather controversial question — some people objected to the concept of closure as a possibility or even as a helpful concept. As long as we have pain and memory, how can we truly get closure?

Recognizing that there is no perfect or complete closure, I had actually rewritten that question many times before posting it. Here are some other versions of the question that I considered:

What helps you get good-enough closure to move on to the next thing?

What helps you move on to the next thing?

What helps you move on?

That last one was simpler (and brevity can be the soul of wit), but those other versions didn’t really capture what I was trying to express for the end of one year and the beginning of another. I also considered using the term “radical acceptance” instead of “closure.”

I settled on the question I posted because I, personally, do feel some need for closure before moving on to the next thing. For example, I feel the need today to acknowledge the end of my 9th year of this daily blog, thus moving on to my 10th (way beyond my expectations when I started this on 1/1/13).

In my therapy groups, I give people the room to get a good enough sense of closure before we end the session. Since 2020, I’ve been pointing out in these groups that the lack of closure about the pandemic is incredibly stressful, so that getting some measure of closure about anything can be helpful and healing.

Closure, in my mind, is neither tidy nor final. For those of us dealing with trauma or grief, we will never lose the memories or be totally free of the pain of the losses.

I think of closure as putting the period on the end of a sentence before moving on to the next one. Doing that neither wipes out nor reduces the importance and power of the previous sentences. And I do believe that we can benefit from those “periods” — otherwise life can feel like a run-on sentence with little room to breath, pause, and get some measure of peace.

Do you see any closure and/or moving on in my other images for today?

I need to get some measure of closure about the death of Betty White yesterday, so here’s a tribute to her:

Expressing gratitude at the end of every blog post allows me to get the closure I need to move on, so thanks to Betty White and to all who are here, now, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, tribute | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 3259: What’s a story you tell about yourself?

Yesterday, between two therapy groups where people tell stories about themselves, I asked this question on Twitter:

Some people on Twitter pointed out that there were many ways to answer that question — is the story the truth or a lie? Is it a story you tell to yourself or to others? My story about the questions I ask is this: there is no right or wrong way to answer any of them. I deliberately made the question ambiguous, so people could answer as they chose.

Personally, I’ve been thinking a lot about the old, habitual stories we tell about ourselves and how those affect us. Many people tell negative, limiting, and outmoded stories about themselves. For example, I tell a story about myself making a mistake that might markedly harm myself and others, even though that has rarely happened in my life. This fear-filled story can make me hesitant to act and can cause me to agonize over something I might have done or will do “wrong.”

I can also get confused by the conflicting stories others tell. For example, which story should I believe: “Look before you leap!” or “He who hesitates is lost!”

What’s a story that today’s images tell?

Now I’m thinking about (1) stories that use strong language, (2) stories people tell to bartenders and (3) the unforgettable stories that movies tell us.

Also, the story I’m telling about the potato latkes Michael made yesterday …

… is that they are the best I’ve ever had.

This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “what’s a story you tell about yourself?”

I really appreciate the stories Dr. Tracey Marks is telling in that video.

What’s a story you tell about yourself?

Every story I tell here ends with gratitude for YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 3237: Nourishment

When people talk about food in my therapy groups (and they often do!), I sometimes invite them to expand the discussion to include different kinds of nourishment.

It might be nourishing to include a definition of nourishment here.

.

Do you see nourishment in my images for today?

I hope for a day when veterans everywhere get the nourishment they need.

I doubt I’ll get the nourishment of a Sundae today (because I work from 9 – 8 on Thursdays), but there’s always tomorrow!

Part of my recent nourishment has been listening to Pat Metheny’s Side-Eye NYC album, including this nourishing tune:

What types of nourishment have you been getting these days?

Gratitude is one of my favorite kinds of nourishment, so thanks to all who visit this blog, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3187: Throwing out what no longer fits

Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar is about throwing out what no longer fits.

We all have things that no longer fit — unhelpful thoughts, toxic people, harsh self judgment, second guessing, crippling fears about the future, regrets about the past, hopelessness, body shame, etc. — and wouldn’t it be great to throw those out?

At the end of every therapy group, I invite people to throw out what no longer fits them in a “magic” waste paper basket, which either holds or reduces the power of whatever they throw away. Over the years, people have thrown away a ton of trash in these magic waste paper baskets.

Because all my groups are remote these days, here’s the “home version” of the magic waste paper basket:

Next to the magic waste paper basket is the magic hat, an addition recently suggested by a group member. Out of the magic hat, people can pull whatever they want, like self love, courage, acceptance, strength, and hope.

Do you see anything that fits the magic waste paper basket or the magic hat in my other images for today?

Yesterday, I threw my rough day into the magic waste paper basket and it fit in there just fine.

This is the first thing that comes up on YouTube when I search for “throwing away what doesn’t fit”:

This is the second thing:

What do you need to throw away that doesn’t fit?

Gratitude always fits, so thanks to all who help me create these daily blog posts, including YOU.

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

Day 3153: Waiting for the next thought

Waiting for the next thought is a technique for entering the present moment, as described in a video I posted here earlier this week:

Yesterday, I used that for the mindfulness exercise in a Coping and Healing group. I told the group members to leave behind overthinking about the future and the past by asking themselves “What will my next thought be?”

Personally, I found this to be a very effective way to quiet my busy mind. The anticipation, curiosity, and wonder about the next thought focused me and emptied my mind in a way I had never experienced before.

Are you waiting for my next images?

Waiting for your next thought? My next thought is to share “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th.

I’m waiting for the next time when we can gather together in large groups like that without fear. My next thought is this: that time will come, we just don’t know how long we have to wait.

I’ll be waiting for the next comments on this blog post.

Waiting for my next expression of gratitude?

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 3147: Superstitious

Not that I’m superstitious, but sometimes I think it’s tempting fate to leave out a definition at the beginning of a blog post.

I actually don’t know how superstitious I am, even though I asked that question on Twitter last night.

I grew up in a family where it was considered bad luck to say anything positive about one’s situation — that attracted the evil eye. I rebelled against that pretty early on and this was a typical conversation when I was young:

Me: This is going to turn out great!

My mother: Don’t give a kanahora.

Me: That’s not the way it works, you know. What I say doesn’t affect the outcome.

And yes — what I said didn’t affect the outcome there. My mother, who was otherwise extremely logical and sensible, still felt compelled to say “don’t give a kanahora” when I said something too positive about the future.

I think most of us have little, automatic superstitions like that. I often witness people knocking on wood, talking about jinxing things, etc. This week in a therapy group, somebody expressed the fear that when things got too good, something bad was bound to happen.

I’m crossing my fingers that we all have a safe and happy Friday the 13th and that you enjoy my other images for today.

In honor of International Left Handers Day, this lefty is going to share a favorite song with you:

I am super grateful for every day and, also, for YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 3127: Growing old

Last week in one of my Coping and Healing groups, the older people told the younger people that growing old was not as scary as they feared. The older people talked about the benefits of growing old, which seemed to surprise the younger members of the group.

There are so many negative messages out there about growing old. Let’s see if we can balance those, here and now, with some quotes and images.

Speaking of ending the conversation, let’s see what the Daily Bitch has to say about growing old today.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “growing old.”

What are your thoughts and feelings about growing old?

I am grateful to be growing old and I’m grateful for those who are growing older with me, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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