Posts Tagged With: letting go of anxiety

Day 2240: What you’re not good at

Even good people seem to focus on what they’re not good at. I’m not sure if that’s good or not.

I’m not good at

  • getting enough sleep,
  • asking for help,
  • saying “no,”
  • remembering details,
  • making a fuss,
  • taking up space,
  • goodbyes, and
  • keeping to myself what I’m not good at.

Do you have a list of what you’re not good at?  If you do, does that do you any good?

If you make lists of what you’re not good at, try to get that list out of your head and down on paper (or a screen) so you can consider challenging the items on the list. For example, when I made that list above, I thought better of adding “planning parties,” even though

  • I’m anxious about planning a party right now,
  • it’s that anxiety which is inspiring this post, and
  • I often say, “I’m not good at planning parties.”

The reason I didn’t add “planning parties” to the list was that when I thought it through, I realized that I don’t have a lot of practice planning parties and also every party I’ve ever planned has turned out fine.   Therefore, it doesn’t belong on the list of “What I’m Not Good At.”  It does belong on the list of “What Makes Me Anxious.”

Also, it’s good to balance out any list of what you’re not good at with a list of what you ARE good at.

I’m good at taking photos to distract myself during stressful times,  like traveling and goodbyes.

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I’m not good at dealing with the cold, and I took that last shot as I was waiting, alone, for my luggage back in Boston. After I had said “Goodbye” (which I’m not good at)  to my ex-in-laws and my son (who remained in Orlando for a little more warmth), I texted them “I miss everyone already!” and my good ex-sister-in-law Deborah sent me this:

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It’ll be good to see my son Aaron again when he returns home from University of Edinburgh in May.

I’m not good at keeping things to myself, so here‘s Disney World’s “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” (which I saw yesterday).  If you’re not good at tolerating bugs, people screaming, or 3-D without glasses, you may not want to watch it.

Let’s assume that you’re good at making comments and that I’m good at responding back to them.

I’m also good at expressing thanks at the end of each blog post to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2206: How to get back to sleep in the middle of the night

If, like me, you often wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, try this before you go to bed:

  1. Identify what might preoccupy your mind if you did wake up in the middle of the night (like challenging relationships, unfinished business, politics, heath issues, the holidays, ghosts of the past, the news, an upcoming event, money, food,  your inadequacies, ugliness, global warming, animals, conspiracy theories, etc.).
  2. Write down one achievable action for each one.
  3. If you can’t identify an achievable action, acknowledge that the situation is beyond your control.
  4. Go to sleep.
  5. When you wake up, remember that you’ve got plans that won’t work in the middle of the night, so there’s no need for your brain to engage.
  6. If your awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night brain comes up another issue you didn’t anticipate, put it on the list of “Things to Do Tomorrow.”
  7. Go back to sleep.

I hope none of my recent photos keep you up at night.

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Here‘s something else you can try if you can’t get back to sleep at night:

 

You could also focus on gratitude. Sincerely, gratitude always helps.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, sleep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2107: Insanely calm

In the midst of insanely upsetting local and global news, it might seem insane to be calm.

Nevertheless, that is my goal: to remain insanely calm.

Taking photos helps me stay insanely calm.

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I wonder what the best solution for Person Anxiety is. In other words,  what helps you be insanely calm?

Here are the rest of my insanely calm photos for today:

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Tea helps me be insanely calm and so do sayings like “Experience will give you the power and confidence to be you” even when my photos are insanely unfocused.

I was drinking delicious and calming Yogi tea last night while Michael and I watched The Phantom Thread, which — now that I calmly think about it — featured people being insanely calm.

Here is some insanely calm music from The Phantom Thread, by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead:

I look forward to insanely calm comments from my insanely loyal readers.

Finally, some insanely calm gratitude for all who helped me create this insanely calm post and — OF COURSE — for you.

 

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

Day 1860: Love Never Dies

“Love Never Dies” is

  • the title of today’s blog post,
  • the name of the musical I’m seeing today with my ex-sister-in-law, Deborah (whom I love), and
  • true, because even when we die, love lives on.

I have undying love for the people who made my 65th birthday so wonderful, including

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Megan.  I love Megan. Yesterday, Megan and I expressed an undying wish that, before we die, we let go of worry, anxiety, overthinking, harsh self-judgments, and fears about the future. I know that love never dies, but I hope that painful and unhelpful thoughts will die (or at least become less strong).

Photos on the internet never die, so here are more photos from yesterday:

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My love never dies for chocolate, my boyfriend Michael (who bought me that yummy dessert), my son Aaron, my family, my friends, my work, and my blogging community.

Here’s “Love Never Dies” from Love Never Dies:

If you make a comment on the internet, it never dies.

My gratitude never dies for all who help me create these posts and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1729: New words 

Pre-form-ance Anxiety

The anxiety one feels before filling out a form.

Kneeologisms

New words or phrases inspired by new news stories (which may be related to knees).

Condesexsion

A attitude of patronizing disdain based on a belief in the superiority and inferiority of different sexes.

Halloweenie

Someone who gets squeamish about  death images associated with Halloween.

Seaking

Looking to the sea for inspiration and solace.

Techycardia

A rapid heartbeat induced by unpleasant technology-related surprises.

Photogsynthesis

Presenting a group of photographs together  with hopes that they illuminate, clarify, or entertain.

Eutubing

Using YouTube videos for the good of your blog.

 

Grattitude

An attitude of gratitude, especially at the end of a blog post, for all who contribute and all who read (including YOU)!


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

Day 1678: What makes you anxious?

What makes me anxious?  In the past, I’ve answered that question as follows:

  • heights,
  • flying,
  • the fear of failure,
  • mistakes that might have dire consequences,
  • stupid people in positions of power,
  • heart surgery,
  • pain,
  • people leaving,
  • getting a sore throat, and
  • singing in front of people.

Last night, I sang in front of people at an Open Mic in Arlington, Massachusetts, with almost no anxiety.

Will it make you anxious to watch that performance?

Sharing pictures on WordPress sometimes makes me anxious, but not today.

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What makes you anxious?

Calm thanks to all who helped me create this non-anxious post and to you — of course! — no matter what makes you anxious.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 1489: When we wake up in the middle of the night

When you wake up in the middle of the night, what do you do?

When I wake up in the middle of the night, I

  • think about the past,
  • worry about the future,
  • go to the bathroom,
  • try to get back to sleep,
  • listen to the sound of my new mechanical heart valve,
  • tell myself that I am safe enough in the moment,
  • answer outstanding comments on my blog,
  • compose a new blog post,
  • try to compose myself,
  • look at my latest photos:

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  • remember things I forgot to do (like put a worry doll under my pillow),
  • listen to music,

  • and feel gratitude for all that I have, including my amazing readers!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 1322: It’s not me

It’s not me who came up with this idea for a t-shirt:

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It was my co-worker and friend, Megan (pronounced Mee-gan) AND me.

It’s not Megan who is writing this blog post, it’s me.

It’s not me who

  1. is supporting Donald Trump,
  2. gets more than six hours of sleep every night,
  3. has a normal heart,
  4. chose to be sitting as far away as possible from my son on the first leg of our flight to Edinburgh Scotland later today,
  5. designed a website for flight check-in that was so confusing I erroneously indicated I had “0 bags,”
  6. wanted a five-hour lay-over in Ireland,
  7. has an uncomplicated life,
  8. never gets anxious,
  9. is deliberately cruel to other living creatures, and
  10. believes I can make it in this world alone.

It is me who

  1. is working on radically accepting all those things I cannot change,
  2. tries to live a healthy life,
  3. loves my work as a group therapist,
  4. appreciates my family and friends,
  5. uses daily blogging as a kind of helpful meditation,
  6. is excited about traveling to Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe with my son,
  7. shows up every day, here and elsewhere,
  8. is gentle with myself and others (whenever possible),
  9. tells the truth,  and
  10. took these photos yesterday:

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Three little words could be:

  1. It’s not me.
  2. It is me.
  3. I love you.
  4. Three Little Words”.

 

It is me who expresses gratitude at the end of every blog post:

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Day 1002: What makes anxiety worse?

What makes anxiety worse?

Talking about anxiety — in therapy and elsewhere — can make it worse, before it gets better.

Might any of these  photos from yesterday make anybody’s anxiety worse?

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Actually, believing that you are worthwhile right now — no matter what you are doing or have done in the past, no matter how far away you are from where you want to be — can make anxiety worse, for  people.

Why?

Changing any habitual, old belief, no matter how anxiety-provoking and toxic it is, can make anxiety much worse, temporarily.

What do you think makes anxiety worse?  Would it worsen anxiety to write about that in a comment here?

Personally, when I share my anxiety with other people, my anxiety does NOT get worse.

What makes my anxiety worse?

  • The approach of cold, dark, and snowy weather here in the northeastern USA.
  • Not enough self-care, including sleep, nourishing food, water, relaxation, and connections with supportive people.
  • Human and automatic “cognitive distortions” like shoulds, fortune-telling, catastrophizing, mind-reading, emotional reasoning, blaming, all-or-nothing thinking, etc.
  • Suppressing, denying, or stuffing my feelings, especially “unpleasant” ones like sadness or anger.
  • Doctors who tell me that my very unusual heart — with ventricles and valves doing jobs they were not designed to do — will not last as long as a normal heart.

Here’s something that helps me let go of anxiety: getting a good enough sense of closure.

Yesterday, I decided to get some closure with two doctors at a major teaching hospital in Boston who, last April 1, told me:

  • my heart was deteriorating,
  • the non-invasive procedure my doctors were planning would not work,
  • my doctors had “done me wrong” by not replacing my leaky valve years ago, and
  • my only hope to live longer and not “die a miserable death” was to quit my doctors, work with them instead, and get a valve replacement, STAT.

That meeting, as you can imagine, made my anxiety much worse.

After months of anxiety,  I decided to stay with my doctors and get the non-invasive procedure — the implant of a pacemaker/defibrillator combination ICD (Implantable Cardiac Device) — instead of the much more dangerous (for my unusual heart) valve replacement.

However, it has still worsened my anxiety whenever I’ve remembered the doctors who told me how that procedure would be useless, foolish, and ultimately dangerous for me.

Yesterday, I wrote this brief email to those two doctors:

On April 1, 2015, both of you met with me to discuss my cctga and possible future treatments. I wanted to let you know that I did have an ICD implanted at Tufts Medical Center in May and, as of the writing, I am feeling better.

Thank you for all your help and best wishes to both of you.

Putting closure on that experience definitely helped my anxiety.

Now, I just need to get a good enough sense of closure about the New England weather.

Here’s some music that lessened my anxiety as I was walking to work yesterday:

Many thanks to Stevie Wonder, to human beings everywhere who do their best to lessen anxiety, and to you — of course! — for reading this anxiety-focused post, today.

Categories: health care, personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 974: It bugs me

It bugs me that the two plants in my office —  where I do individual and group psychotherapy — have bugs.


It probably doesn’t bug you that you can’t see those bugs, a/k/a soil gnats. It bugs me that I’ve been trying for weeks to get rid of those bugs, which look like tiny fruit flies, to no avail.

It bugs me that I bought this “natural” bug spray at Whole Foods Market:


…and when I tried to use it, according to directions …

… that resulted in …

… buggy directions I couldn’t read, at all.

It bugs me when I can’t follow directions, no matter how hard I try.

It bugs me that what I could read in the directions — including many warnings about usage for bugs — indicated that Anti-Pest-O might bug eyes, lungs and other parts of non-bugs. So, I decided to bug neither my patients nor myself and I did not spray that bug spray in my buggy office.

It bugs me when I can’t use a product that others have bugged me to buy. It bugs me to have to return ANYTHING to any store, buggy or otherwise.

It bugs me that spraying the bugs with soapy water (not pictured) hasn’t worked, despite my being bugged by promises that it would.   It bugs me a lot less to battle bugs with something as benign and straightforward as soapy water, but those bugs have seemed totally unbugged (and perhaps a tad brightened) when I’ve bugged them with soapy water.

It bugs me that once I allow myself to be bugged, lots of other things can bug me, too.

For example, litter left behind by buggy Bostonians bugged me yesterday.


  
  
  
  

Buggy marketing schemes and slogans bugged me, too.

Other directions I couldn’t understand bugged me.


Things that slowed me down bugged me (and others).


 


 
Yes, I can be cross here, there, and everywhere, when I’m feeling bugged.

Would it bug you if I listed even more things that can bug me, if I’m in a bugged mood?

  • Not being able to photographically capture a big, yellow, beautiful moon.


  • Not understanding how to perfectly operate new technology (including phones and cars).

  • My inability to portray our cat Harley sitting unbugged on a table,  because he always gets bugged and  jumps off (the little bugger).

  • Somebody wearing a graphic t-shirt, one buggy day after declaring he’s bugged by them.

  • Buggy parking rules, around here.

  • Things that make loud noises, like buggy construction projects.


  • Difficult thoughts and feelings that bug people I treat.


  • People I love to bug leaving (not pictured),  like my wonderful and esteemed co-worker Mary, this week.
  • My not being a good baker and therefore needing to end this blog post early, to pick up sweets for a going-away party for Mary today.
  • Having to leave work early today to bug my dentist about some fillings  that have been bugging me.
  • My sleep apnea machine, with yet another mask that’s been bugging me.

  • Having so many cardiac-related tests and appointments scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at a hospital (where they treat lots of different types of bugs), that several doctors, medical technicians and I will be bugging each other for about four hours.
  • Getting bugged by buggily insignificant decisions, like which sign-in book to use at a 45th high school reunion (which might include bugs, because it’s near the ocean).

  • The automatic and painful assumption that I bug other people, when I really don’t.

After all this bugging, maybe it’s time to de-bug this bug-filled blog post.

One of my patients did NOT bug me, yesterday, when she brought in this:


If you can’t read all those 18 rules of living by the Dalai Lama, please don’t bug me too much about that. I photographed them the best I could, at the end of a long and buggy day.

What music might I bug you with now?

The Beatles are suggesting that we not bug them, in “Don’t Bother Me.”

If anything in this post has bugged you in any way, please bug me about that in a comment, below.

Buggy and bugged thanks to all bugs and humans that helped me write this post and special thanks to you, no matter what bugs — or is bugged by — you, at any time.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

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