Posts Tagged With: letting go of unhelpful thoughts

Day 3540: Obsessing

This morning, I’m obsessing about re-packing my stuff and leaving Disney World to meet my old friend Deb at the Jacksonville Airport to start phase 2 of my September vacation adventure on some islands off the coast of Georgia. Usually, I might be obsessing about the content and clarity of that first sentence, but I’ve got to keep moving before the rental car pick-up time of 8:15, so let’s see if today’s Daily Bitch calendar has anything to say about obsessing.

Here is what I’m obsessing about in the moment:

  • Whether I’m repacking things in a way that will make them accessible to me when I need them.
  • How my phone plan emailed me that I have already used 80% of my data for the month, which makes no sense.
  • Whether I’ll remember to make myself available to the people who are covering my groups next week in case they need an access code from me when they try to start a remote group.
  • How I keep getting a message on my laptop that my disk is almost full.
  • Technology in general.
  • Decisions about how to remodel our upstairs bathroom now that we’ve gotten the go-ahead from the insurance company.
  • Insurance companies in general.
  • Decisions in general.
  • How likely it is I’ve caught COVID again hanging around crowds of people at Disney World.
  • The health and well-being of everybody I care about.
  • Whether I’ll be prepared for a virtual meeting the day I get back from vacation about doing groups to help prevent doctor burnout.
  • How clumsy my thumbs are typing out this blog post on my phone.

Whenever I’m obsessing, I write the thoughts down to get them out of my head so that I can move ahead with a clear mind, like now.

Do you see obsessing in any of my other images for today?

Happy National Swap Ideas Day as perhaps we’ll swap ideas about obsessing, below.

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

Thanks to all who help me stop obsessing every day, including YOU!

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

Day 3523: What sticks

I tell people in my Coping and Healing groups that what sticks in our minds tends to be negative, so we need to consciously let go of unhelpful and distorted thoughts and reinforce helpful reframes.

What sticks for me, here and now, is

  • the new harness for my cat Joan, which uses strips of Velcro for easy on and easy off,
  • that somebody on Twitter unexpectedly blocked me, and
  • my gratitude for all the people who do keep me in their lives.

What sticks in my images for today?

If I stick to my healthier eating habits, I won’t be having any sticky waffles or pies today.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “what sticks”:

Please stick any thoughts and feelings you choose to share in the comments section, below.

What sticks at the end of my posts is my thanks to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 2675: What to think about in the morning

What to think about in the morning, for me, includes

  • blogging,
  • those I love,
  • work,
  • what’s not working,
  • possible disasters related to what’s not working,
  • reasonable reframes of my fears,
  • group therapy,
  • my obligations,
  • the birds singing outside,
  • Oscar,

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  • the health of others and myself,
  • how much sleep I got and need,
  • staying safe during the pandemic,
  • achievable next steps,
  • who is in pain,
  • what might help,
  • the news,
  • the immediate future,
  • the past,
  • the present moment, and
  • how to improve the present moment.

I’m improving the present moment by sharing  “What to Think About in the Morning Before You Remember the Sad State of the World” by Eugenia Viti, from the New Yorker.

What to think about this morning includes the virtual Jam’n Java Open Mic this Friday, May 1, 7PM- 9PM USA Eastern Time, which will feature me, my ukulele, and my song “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready.”  If you think you might want to attend, sign up using this link by Thursday, April 30.

What to think about these images I captured yesterday?

 

What to think about this morning, for me, includes my first performance of “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” at the Jam’n Java Open Mic, when I forgot the words and somehow recovered:

What to think, here and now?

What to think about, any time, is expressing thanks to others, including YOU.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2649: Coping strategies during a pandemic

Yesterday, after I was sharing coping strategies with a Coping and Healing online group, I found this online article “How to look after your mental health during a pandemic.”

The coping strategies in that article include

  • Coping with loneliness.
  • Tools for coping with anxiety.
  • Open communication and simple relaxation.

Here are some quotes from that article:

“Physical distancing and isolation measures, the closure of schools and workplaces, are particularly [challenging for] us, as they affect what we love to do, where we want to be, and who we want to be with.” —Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe

” Routine is very important for well-being, so … write a list of people and activities that lift your spirits; be sure to prioritize time for connecting with others and doing things you enjoy every day.”  —  Tania Diggory, founder of Calmer.”

… we can also reconnect with those hobbies and relaxation techniques that don’t require a screen — reading, taking a bath, gardening, listening to music, playing music, journaling, writing, arts and crafts, cooking new recipes, stroking your pet,  daydreaming … so much to savor and enjoy.” — Kat Hounsell, founder of everyday people.

“Personally, I’m sticking to what has worked for me in the past when I want to be calm — for example, learning and practicing simple relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, mindfulness [and] meditation [which] can all be very helpful in alleviating mental distress.”  — Dr. Hans Kluge

Most of these issues and coping strategies came up in my Coping and Healing online group yesterday, which included one member theorizing that the pandemic was caused by a conspiracy of house cats, who want us to be home more.  Several cats were attending the group (including Oscar) and none of the cats denied it.

Do you see any coping strategies in my recent photos?

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I think letting go of self-judgment, guilt, shame, and worry are important coping strategies, especially during a pandemic.

Music and dance are wonderful coping strategies, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater has posted this on YouTube:

For a limited time only, as part of Ailey All Access, you’re getting access to watch Alvin Ailey’s ‘Revelations’ in its in entirety from your own home. We hope this rare opportunity brings you a moment of joy during these uncertain times.

Please share your coping strategies during a pandemic in the comments section, below.

Gratitude is always a coping strategy for me, so thanks to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2543: Recommended daily doses

Experts recommend daily doses of

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  • calm and bright,

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  • self-love,
  • self-respect,

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  • letting go of judgment, guilt, dread, worry, and other unhelpful habits,

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  • caution,

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  • strength,
  • support,

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  • whimsy,
  • warmth,
  • animals, and

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  • BITCHING!

Here‘s the dose of YouTube music pictured above:

 

Now it’s time for my daily dose of gratitude!

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

Day 2177: Incapable

Yesterday, I was capable of posing the bloggy question, “What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?”   Readers replied with painful memories of being labelled  unkindly  by people who were incapable of seeing that the hurtful labels were unfair and untrue.

Today, my answer to my own question — “what’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you” — is “Incapable.”

I am capable of admitting that I AM incapable in many areas, including

  • getting enough sleep,
  • knowing things before I have a chance to learn them,
  • having a poker face,
  • cooking as well as my boyfriend Michael,
  • keeping my desk neat and organized,
  • wrapping presents beautifully,
  • understanding how dogs think,
  • ignoring cats,
  • giving up hope for humanity, and
  • stopping my busy mind,

but I still think that “incapable” is the worst thing anybody has ever called me.

Three and a half years ago, when I wrote Day 867: Difficult — which had a list of every unkind label people had called me that I was capable of remembering up to that point  — I was incapable of including “incapable” on that list.  However, now that somebody HAS called me “incapable,” I am more capable of realizing that I have harshly and unfairly labeled myself “incapable” whenever  I’ve made mistakes.

Also, even though nobody called me “incapable” until recently,  I got the message I was incapable when I entered 7th grade of  a public Junior High School. The administrators there decided that, because of my heart condition, I was incapable of keeping up with the smartest kids in the class.  I eventually proved that I was not as incapable as they thought, when I became class Valedictorian senior year.

As I’m writing about “incapable,”  here and now, I am capable of letting go of that unhelpful label.  Instead, I am focusing on the ways I am capable, which include the capability to take pictures and share them here.

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I am not incapable of telling stories in rhyme, including this one:

Don’t call me too weepy,

too creepy, too sleepy,

too selfish, too giving,

too sensitive from living.

Don’t call me too bitchy,

too itchy or twitchy,

too soft or too loud,

too modest, too proud.

If you’re gonna type me or hype me,

pigeonhole, assign a role,

Decide I’m a saint or some asshole,

Don’t call me.

Don’t call me too funny or too serious

I find it deleterious,

So don’t call me.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

Here‘s Keyshia Cole very capably singing “Incapable.”

I know you’re not incapable of leaving a comment.

I am not incapable of expressing my gratitude to all who helped me create this “Incapable” post and — of course! — YOU, for being capable of reading it.

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

Day 1654: What’s wrong with me?

What’s wrong with me, that I keep writing posts with similar titles?

What’s wrong with me, that I feel the need to link to those past posts here, here, and here?

What’s wrong with me, that when I read posts I wrote when I was dealing with so many health problems, I cry?

What’s wrong with me, that I’m having so much trouble sleeping as we prepare to move?

What’s wrong with me, that when I write these blog posts, I have to close one eye to see better, unless I’m wearing my glasses?

What’s wrong with me, that I don’t immediately put on my glasses when I start writing these posts?

What’s wrong with me, that I keep catastrophizing about what’s going to go wrong with the move and with our new place?

What’s wrong with me, that I second guess so many of my decisions, including those I’ve made so far in writing this post?

What’s wrong with me, that I’ve taken to heart some critical comments one person made about my writing when I was in college, which I rediscovered when I was going through old papers in the basement?

What’s wrong with me, that I always share photos I took the day before?

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What’s wrong with me, that I’ve saved old get-well cards and my son’s old Halloween costumes, like when he dressed up as static cling?

What’s wrong with me, that I try to include relevant music in my posts? What’s wrong with me, that I thought the title of this song was “(What’s wrong with) Peace Love and Understanding?”

What’s wrong with peace, love, and understanding?  Nothing.

What’s wrong with ending every post with gratitude, when I’m so grateful to all who help me create these posts and to my readers, too?  And I hope you know there’s nothing wrong with you (or with me).  ❤

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 1339: What’s missing?

Whenever I facilitate a therapy group, I write all the themes I notice up on the board. Because the discussion is always so rich, the themes I don’t miss will cover the entire board, from top to bottom and side to side.  Then, I ask the group, “What’s missing?”

Yesterday, when I asked that question, one of the group members did not hesitate to respond: “Love.” I didn’t miss the opportunity to add “love” to the themes I’d already written on the board.

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What’s missing from that photo?  Dozens of other themes we discussed yesterday in that therapy group.

What’s missing from this post?  Perhaps my other photos from yesterday?

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What’s missing from those photos?  Captions?

What’s missing for me is an explanation of this photo:

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That was an assignment I gave somebody (and myself) yesterday:  Whenever you imagine that people are angry at you, visualize that angry face changing into a neutral face.  What’s missing for many people is the ability to reality-test their fears that other people are having negative reactions to them.

What’s missing from this post?  Music?

What’s missing, now?

For me, it’s this: Since I’ll be missing six weeks of work when I go out on medical leave starting September 17, I have not missed opportunities to discuss with my patients how missing people can affect them.

What else is missing from this post?

Gratitude, of course, to all those who helped me create this what’s-missing post and to you, especially, for not being among the missing, today.

Categories: personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 1330: Defying convention

Greetings from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which  has been defying convention for sixty-nine years.

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I often follow certain conventions in my blog posts, including choosing a title that relates to a photo I’ve taken the day before.  Obviously, I am NOT defying that convention today. However, I’d like to think I’ve been defying convention for almost as long as the Edinburgh Fringe (five and a half years shorter, if I do the maths).

Here are some conventions I defy:

  • Fearing people who are “different” from me.
  • Assumptions about how long people born with abnormal hearts (like me) are supposed to live.
  • Slowing down as  I get older.
  • Judging myself or others.

What conventions do you defy?

Do you see any conventions defied in my other photos from yesterday?

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I am unfamiliar with the conventions of shows like The Lady Boys of Bangkok, so I don’t know if they were defying any conventions last night by having people dressed like cats on stage or by using this song as the finale:

 

If you don’t usually leave a comment, please defy that convention today.  If sharing your thoughts here is conventional for you, I suggest you do not defy that convention today.

Many thanks to all who helped me create this defying convention post and to you — of course! — for reading it.

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

Day 1010: I talk to myself

If you — like lots of other people — have automatic negative thoughts, some therapists recommend that you talk to yourself.

Here are some examples of how I talk to myself, challenging habitual and unhelpful thoughts:

That person seems to have a negative opinion about me BUT I ACTUALLY DON’T KNOW THAT.

If that person has a negative opinion about me IT WON’T HURT ME AS MUCH AS I FEAR.

My writing sucks right now BUT IT’S GOOD ENOUGH, AND I CAN MAKE IT BETTER.

I feel like I look really weird BUT NOBODY NOTICES THAT.

I’ve made a mistake BUT IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.

I may feel like I’m alone with this problem BUT I CAN ASK FOR HELP.

I just talked to myself and told myself those were enough examples.

If you have this thought:

People are going to think I’m nuts if I’m talking to myself!

… take a look around and talk to yourself like so:

Don’t most people look like they’re talking to themselves, these days?

And who cares what they think, anyway?!?!?!

Can you imagine how I was talking to myself, yesterday, as I was taking these pictures?

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Now, I’m talking to myself about what music to include in this post.

There’s this, with Clint Eastwood singing to himself:

And there’s this, with the Smothers Brothers talking to (1) Judy Garland, (2) themselves, (3) each other, and (4) a TV audience:

Don’t talk to yourself about this post; instead, share that self-talk in a comment.

I talk to myself all the time about how grateful I am to have this blog. Today is no exception! Talk to yourselves, please, about how much I appreciate you for visiting here today.

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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