Posts Tagged With: fear

Day 1772: The fight, flight, or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life

Yesterday morning, when I was fighting to fly to work on time, I froze when I saw this:

The fight, flight or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life.

Before I read that article by Kate Murphy in the New York Times, I knew  it would echo many things I’ve been telling my patients for years, including:

  • fear and its companion — the fight, flight or freeze response — can save us from danger,
  • however, the level of fear we experience today is  based on the realities of the distant past — the danger-filled lives of our  cave-dwelling ancestors who lived under constant threat of  invading tribes and wild animals,  and
  • that level of fear  interferes with modern life.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“Change has occurred so rapidly for our species that now we are equipped with brains that are super sensitive to threat but also super capable of planning, thinking, forecasting and looking ahead,” said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “So we essentially drive ourselves nuts worrying about things because we have too much time and don’t have many real threats on our survival, so fear gets expressed in these really strange, maladaptive ways.”

I don’t want to drive ourselves nuts by spending too much time on that article here, but I recommend you read the whole thing.  And I do want to include a few more quotes from the article before another flight into photography.

  • Consciously activating the more measured, analytical part of your brain is the key to controlling runaway fear and anxiety.
  • Arresting an overactive amygdala requires first realizing and then admitting you’re feeling uneasy and scared.
  • “The more you try to suppress fear, either by ignoring it or doing something else to displace it, the more you will actually experience it.”
  • The amygdala is less apt to freak out if you are reminded that you are loved or could be loved. For example, seeing images of people with frightened expressions is usually a huge trigger for the amygdala, but that response is greatly diminished when subjects are first shown pictures of people being cared for or hugged.

  • Just as fear can be contagious, so can courage, caring and calm.

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How did those photos affect your modern life?

Before you take flight from this post, I will fight to express my main reason for taking that last photo — it reminded me of the song “Our Time”  from Merrily We Roll Along:

To make this our time rather than the time of cave dwellers, let’s do our best to focus on courage, caring, and calm.

Modern thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1770: What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Within the last week, I’ve heard about people who are afraid of

  • the dark,
  • heights,
  •  war,
  • people who abuse positions of power,
  • the media,
  • molesters,
  • being seen as a molester,
  • the police,
  • world leaders,
  • science,
  • ignorance,
  • doctors,
  • dentists,
  • infections,
  • sickness,
  • aging
  • death,
  • taxes,
  • failure,
  • success,
  • school,
  • working too much,
  • working too little,
  • making mistakes,
  • driving,
  • bicyclists,
  • loss,
  • certain thoughts,
  • certain feelings,
  • feeling too good,
  • going outside,
  • staying inside,
  • action,
  • inaction,
  • the weather,
  • being alone,
  • crowds,
  • social events,
  • marriage,
  • divorce,
  • becoming less attractive,
  • becoming an adult,
  • men,
  • women,
  • cats,
  • dogs,
  • mice,
  • bugs,
  • snakes,
  • phones,
  • cotton balls, and
  • peaches.

Is anyone afraid of any of these photos?

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I’m afraid that one major emotion is missing from that Time special edition cover.   Are they afraid of anger?

Here‘s how to let go of pain/fear/anger in 60 seconds.

 

Are you afraid of leaving a comment?  I hope not.

What am I afraid of?  Heights, the dark, the cold,  and forgetting to express gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to YOU.

 

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

Day 1744: What scares you?

What scares you?

The news?

The weather?

Fire?

Water?

The future?

The present?

Heights?

Depths?

Weapons?

Other people?

Yourself?

Illness?

Poverty?

Ignorance?

Information overload?

Responsibility?

Helplessness?

Evil?

Death?

War?

Loss?

Snakes?

Insects?

Physical pain?

Emotional pain?

Trying new things?

Failure?

Thoughts?

Feelings?

The phone?

Public speaking?

Animals?

Demons?

Humans?

Any of these photos?

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A search of “What Scares You?” on YouTube returns this:

 

Scary movies scare me, so I won’t watch any more of that.

When something scares you, what do you do?

Flee?

Freeze?

Fight?

Name it?

Share it?

Feel free to share what scares you, below.

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what scares you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1621: Admit One

If you were going to admit one thing, here and now,  what would it be?

I admit that it’s difficult to admit only one, so I hereby admit that

  • I’m attending a three-day group therapy conference,
  • I’ll be participating in a therapy group with other group therapists today,
  • I am the president-elect of the professional organization giving the conference,
  • I told my groups yesterday that “I’ll be a better group therapist next week, after attending the conference,”
  •  one of the therapy groups yesterday focused on the topic of “fear,”
  • the other group discussed thoughts and feelings about their names, and
  • I took only three photos yesterday.

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I admit that I just searched for “Admit One” on YouTube and found this:

I admit that I could have used that book before being admitted to the hospital.

I admit that I like to include music in this blog.

I admit that I recently posted here that I might miss a Pat Metheny concert this weekend because of the group therapy conference. I admit I made a mistake — I have a ticket that will admit one to see Pat Metheny Sunday night, after the conference is over.

I admit one more thing: I am very grateful to all who helped me create today’s Admit One post and — of course! — to you, for admitting me into your home, here and now.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1532: What are you grateful for?

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for bumper stickers that help me think and blog.

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I’m grateful for people who question  assumptions and for the National Park Service.

I’m grateful for dishwashers, dogs, and funny pictures of animals.

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I’m grateful for doctors, nurses, and other medical treaters who have kept me alive for sixty-four years of  happiness, kindness, love, and treats.

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I’m grateful for cats and cucumbers, which appear together in several videos on YouTube including this one:

 

 

I’m grateful for not being afraid of cucumbers.

I’m grateful for all  who help me create this grateful blog  and I’m grateful to YOU!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1465: Malware Where?

Yesterday morning, I asked the blogging question  Why Should I be Afraid?  Last night, right before I planned to go to sleep, I’m afraid I downloaded some malware from out there here onto my laptop.

Should I be afraid of malware?  I am, so I spent hours eradicating it here when I should have been asleep there on my pillow.

Malware was here, there, and everywhere. Today, I’m trying to feel safe enough here on this computer.

Likewise,  evil is here, there, and everywhere. Today, I’m trying to feel safe enough here on this earth.

I hear myself say, here and now,  that goodware and good people are also here, there, and everywhere. So  I believe I am safe enough here, in this moment.

Music is here, there and everywhere.

Malware is to share  but  — as Paul tells us there —  love is to share, also.

New photos where?  They’re there on my iPhone, here on my laptop, and now everywhere, shared on the internet.

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Change you can wear is where?   As I’m writing this, it’s in my drawer.  Soon, I’ll be wearing it there to work.

Here’s hoping for comments  here, there, and everywhere.

My thanks to all the good people who helped me create this blog post and to all you good people are where?

Here.

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

Day 345: Things That Won’t Kill Me

This post was inspired by (1) expat eye‘s excellent comment on my post yesterday and (2) waking up with a painful leg cramp (among other things).

So, here’s a list of Things That Won’t Kill Me (despite messages from primitive parts of my brain to the contrary):

  1. Pain.
  2. The cold.
  3. The dark.
  4. Water.
  5. Heights.
  6. Mistakes (mine)
  7. Mistakes (other people‘s).
  8. People getting angry at me.
  9. My getting angry at other people.
  10. Jealousy or envy.
  11. Not getting enough sleep.
  12. Not doing what I’m told to do (challenging authority).
  13. Being late.
  14. Losing things.
  15. Hurting somebody else’s feelings.
  16. Disappointment.
  17. Change.
  18. My feelings, in general.
  19. Other people’s feelings, in general.
  20. My heart, despite its unusual qualities.

(Note: I’ve linked everything on that list to a past post. Because I had so many choices and so little time,  I may have made some mistakes. However, see #6, above.)

Obviously, that’s a partial list. However, I need to stop the list. (Setting limits won’t kill me either, apparently.)

Now, you might argue that some of the things on that list MIGHT kill me.  Just to quell those disagreements (although disagreements are another thing that won’t kill me), let me change the title of the list to this:

Things That Won’t Kill Me, Today

Does anybody still want to argue?

Before I end this post, I would like to add one more thing to that list:

Compliments.

Why am I adding that to the list, now? Because I have new and exciting proof of the non-deadly-ness of compliments; namely, all the positive feedback I’ve been getting here.

Also, by adding “compliments,” I can introduce some photos I took yesterday, on my walk after work, past a construction site I pass all the time.

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As I took those photos, I thought, “These words apply to a lot of people I know.”

Anybody want to own those for themselves, now?

After all, it won’t kill you.

Thanks to everybody who is still surviving (despite all the things that could kill us), including all of my wonderful readers today.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 301: Bearing up

Yesterday, I met my old friend Lawry in Harvard Square, Cambridge, for brunch, with some members of his family.

It was great to see everybody.  I loved talking to Lawry, his wife, his daughter, his sister, his brother, and his brother’s wife.

It was particularly special for me to spend time with them, because I had been feeling some anxiety, over the weekend, about my health (and some about the Boston Red Sox, too).

And it was wonderful to be back in Harvard Square. (See “What’s the problem?” and “Random Images (paired)“, two earlier posts, for more adventures in Harvard Square.)

Here’s a little photo essay, about my time in Harvard Square yesterday.

A Little Photo Essay

by Ann

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On my way to meet Lawry and his family for brunch, I saw this amazing tree.  I had to stop and take a picture. Thank you, tree.

It was another beautiful autumn day. Those of us who live in the Greater Boston area have been remarking, this year, about how friggin’ great the fall weather has been.  Those of us who dread the onset of winter in the Greater Boston area have been wondering whether this is a good or bad omen about how painful it’s going to be, too soon. (Actually, I can only speak for my own thoughts about this.)

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Moments after  I took that first shot of the tree,  I had to stop and take the above photo. Why?  It’s a sign about a group, people!

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Here’s a closer shot of the sign (and some of the flags) that you can see in the background of the previous photo.

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As I said, it was a beautiful day. Look at those trees and that sky.

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Another sign in front of the church. I snapped this, as a is Note To Self:  “Ann, make sure you sing more (especially as the cold and dark descend)!”

After I took that photo, I stopped dilly-dallying, and focused on getting to brunch with Lawry and his family.

I didn’t have any photos of Lawry or his family members to show you today, because I was too focused on interacting with each of them, in the moment. Right now, I wish I had some visual proof of how great they all are, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

After brunch, I went to Urban Outfitters because I needed a scarf and gloves — that is, gear for winter,  coming too soon to a location near me.

And …  I DID find a great scarf and some colorful gloves there, which definitely cheered me up. (My philosophy: If I’m going to be cold, I might as well look cool.)

While I was shopping  in the store, I couldn’t help but notice this:

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I had never seen anything quite like THAT.  I’ve noticed lots of children — and adults — wearing animal hats in these parts, but a full-bear winter coat?  I was very intrigued, but assumed it was most likely just for display. (I mean, it’s almost Halloween, for heaven’s sake.)

However, when I was in line to pay for my merchandise, I noticed that the people in front of me — a woman and her son —  had just bought one of those bear coats, which was being stuffed into a bag. I blurted out, “Wow!  You got one of those!  Can I see it?”

The woman paused, but then kindly took it out of the bag, to show me. She told me it was for her son, Asa, who was a student at Boston College. “Will you try it on for me?” I asked Asa, as I told them both about this blog.

This was Asa’s reply:

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How cool is THAT?

Now it’s a day later, and I’m still feeling better.

Many thanks to Asa and his mother, Lawry and his family, Christ Church Cambridge, Urban Outfitters, all things that make life bearable, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 287: Opening a can of worms

“Opening a can of worms” is an idiom.

“Idiom” is a word I avoid, sometimes, because it sounds like the word “idiot.”

When people use this idiom, it’s a warning about a possible negative result of change.

If you […insert change here….], you’ll be opening a can of worms!

I hear this a lot, from within and without.

If you try something new, and it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like an idiot!

If you ….

  1. change a process, at work or elsewhere,
  2. talk to somebody about something upsetting,
  3. introduce somebody new into your life,
  4. move, one way or another,
  5. take a risk, of any kind

… you might be opening up a can of worms.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeek!   Worms!!!

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Last week, at work, we were discussing a possible change, and a manager used that expression.

Yesterday, at home, I was discussing a possible change with my boyfriend, and he used that expression.

I’m not kidding, people, I hear that expression a lot.

This is what I said to my boyfriend, though:

Wait a minute!  We might be opening up a can of worms, it’s true.  But, Michael!  It’s just a can!

Because I was picturing a can of this size:

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and so was he.

So I asked,

Why are people so scared of opening a can of worms, then?

Here’s a quote, from Mental Floss, about the idiom:

Metaphorically speaking, to open a can of worms is to examine or attempt to solve some problem, only to inadvertently complicate it and create even more trouble. Literally speaking, opening a can of worms, as most fishermen can attest, can also mean more trouble than you bargained for.

Here’s another one, from Yahoo Answers:

Opening a can of worms means to start to reveal something that will be messy and hard to conceal. A literal can of worms would be filled with hundreds of squirmy worms that would fall all over the place. Attempting to catch all of them and get them back in the can would be very difficult. The same goes for so many things in our lives. Sometimes there are things that we say that can’t be reversed or put back in the can, as it were. And like the worms that spread out everywhere the thing in question will spread out and impact other people.

Hmmm.  So I guess the fear makes sense, doesn’t it?

But, as I said to Michael,

What if the worms DO all escape?  How can they hurt us, really?

I mean, it’s not like we’re opening up a Tanker of Tarantulas.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not so scared about opening up a can of worms, right now.

Thanks to Michael, grasshopper_ramblin, spaghetti in cans, worms everywhere, people considering a change, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 260: DOA (Dread of Anger)

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately:

Why do I have so much dread about the possibility of other people getting angry at me?

It really doesn’t make sense.

How can I figure this out?

Let’s start with a definition of the word “dread”:

dread (drd)
v. dread·ed, dread·ing, dreads
v.tr.
1. To be in terror of.
2. To anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance: dreaded the long drive home.
3. Archaic To hold in awe or reverence.
v.intr.
To be very afraid.
n.
1. Profound fear; terror.
2. Fearful or distasteful anticipation. See Synonyms at fear.
3. An object of fear, awe, or reverence.
4. Archaic Awe; reverence.
adj.
1. Causing terror or fear: a dread disease.
2. Inspiring awe: the dread presence of the headmaster.
[Middle English dreden, short for adreden, from Old English adrdan, from ondrdan, to advise against, fear : ond-, and-, against; see un-2 + rdan, to advise; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]

When I use the word “dread,” I’m usually thinking of definition #2 (“to anticipate with alarm, distaste, or reluctance”) rather than definition #1 (“to be in terror of”).

But maybe all definitions apply, because sometimes I CAN feel terror about other people’s anger.

And that doesn’t really make sense, because — unlike a lot of other people I know — I’ve never (in person) witnessed the traumatic results of violent anger against another human being.

I’m very lucky, that way.

So why so much dread about other people’s anger?

Here’s a piece of data: I don’t feel that Dread Of Anger all the time.

As a matter of fact, I like telling people in therapy that all of their feelings — including anger — are welcome. And, when people have gotten angry in therapy, I have authentically experienced those times as helpful for all involved.

Hmmmmm.

I don’t know if I’m going to figure this out today. And I’m going to have to leave for work, very soon.

I’m still baffled by my Dread of Anger.

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(If you’re baffled by that photo, see here.)

However, at least I took a first step, this morning, by posing the puzzle in public.

Thanks to Andy Rooney, to other people who have posed (or are otherwise dealing with) puzzles, and to you, for reading today.

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

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