Posts Tagged With: letting go of unhelpful thoughts

Day 2711: 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,

IMG_3105

IMG_3107

 

  • 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.

img_3084

 

 

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

Day 2685: 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?

IMG_2523

IMG_2526

fullsizeoutput_437d

IMG_2535

IMG_2539

IMG_2527

IMG_2528

IMG_2529

IMG_2531

IMG_2532

IMG_2533

IMG_2534

fullsizeoutput_437c

IMG_2536

60744850581__229A0FC3-0EC7-4DB0-A5EC-5DEC86B2F957

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.

img_2466-1

 

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

Day 2579: Recommended daily doses

Experts recommend daily doses of

IMG_0194

  • calm and bright,

IMG_0199

 

  • self-love,
  • self-respect,

IMG_0197

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

IMG_0198

  • caution,

IMG_0202

  • strength,
  • support,

IMG_0203

  • whimsy,
  • warmth,
  • animals, and

fullsizeoutput_3f81

fullsizeoutput_3f85

fullsizeoutput_3f7f

  • BITCHING!

Here‘s the dose of YouTube music pictured above:

 

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

IMG_0195

 

 

 

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

Day 2213: 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.

IMG_1598

fullsizeoutput_351c

IMG_1605

IMG_1601

IMG_1603

IMG_1604

IMG_1600

IMG_1606

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.

IMG_1597

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?

IMG_2207.JPG

IMG_2211

IMG_2216

IMG_2215

IMG_2213

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.

IMG_4841

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?

IMG_4837

IMG_4839

IMG_4840

IMG_4842

IMG_4843

IMG_4845

IMG_4846

IMG_4848

IMG_4849

IMG_4850

What’s missing from those photos?  Captions?

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

IMG_4839

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.

IMG_4419

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?

IMG_4405

 

IMG_4406

IMG_4407

IMG_4408

IMG_4409

IMG_4410

IMG_4412

IMG_4413

IMG_4416

IMG_4417

IMG_4418

IMG_4420

IMG_4421

IMG_4422

IMG_4425

IMG_4426

IMG_4427

IMG_4428

IMG_4429

IMG_4431

IMG_4435

IMG_4437

IMG_4438

IMG_4439

IMG_4441

IMG_4443

IMG_4445

IMG_4446

IMG_4448

IMG_4449

IMG_4450

IMG_4452

IMG_4453

IMG_4457

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?

IMG_5703

IMG_5704

IMG_5706

IMG_5707 IMG_5708 IMG_5709   IMG_5710IMG_5711IMG_5712

IMG_5713 IMG_5714 IMG_5715 IMG_5716 IMG_5719 IMG_5723

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

Day 992: Wait People

Rather than use the words “waitress” and “waiter” these days, I often use the term “wait people.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to tell you why. I tend to avoid gender specific labels, like waitress.

If you want more examples of that, you don’t have long to wait, people.  Instead of saying “Chairmen,” I’ll say “Chair People.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to show you two pictures I took last night, which “Chair People” is now bringing to mind:

IMG_4970 IMG_4971

Chairs AND people, right?

My posts are like the New England weather. If you want them to change, just wait, people. And you don’t need to wait, people, for some more photos from yesterday.

IMG_4966

That’s the first photo I took yesterday, after some people waited to see me for therapy. I saw that at the hospital gift shop, where there’s often a short wait, people. If you want me to explain exactly what a “Littlest Red Sox Fan Den” is, you’ve got a long time to wait, people.

IMG_4968

People I work with in therapy sometimes wait, people, before letting go of unhelpful, critical, and judgmental things other people have said about them — like “She is taking up too much space.” Yesterday, people waited no more and let go of some of those internalized, toxic messages. Why wait, people?

IMG_4969

Wait, people!  I usually don’t swear in these posts, but that was a helpful phrase for a person I waited for in therapy, yesterday.

IMG_4972

Good health care is not something people should wait for, people.

IMG_4974

Those waiting for fall around here don’t have too much longer to wait, people.

IMG_4978

It’s been a long wait, people, since I last posted about the faces there are in pansies, if people wait long enough to see them.

IMG_4977

Bostonians need to wait, people, for reasonably priced parking for events. If you ask me what event people were waiting for at Fenway Park last night, you have a long time to wait, people. But wait, people!  Our friendly fellow-blogger Mark Bialczak might look that up and tell us, after a short wait.

Speaking of reasonably priced parking, last night I found a free parking space in Harvard Square without a wait, people!  I went to Harvard Square to see this new musical.

IMG_5001

I won’t make you wait, people, for a great song from the wonderful Waitress.

While I was waiting for the play to start, I revisited a lot of places where I used to wait, people, when I was in college and (afterwards, too).

IMG_4986

IMG_4987 IMG_4988

I used to wait, people, in those three locations to

  1.  have meals with friends,
  2. see Jackie Chan movies and
  3. take several adult education classes, including percussion, jazz theory, cartooning, and “Stand Up Comedy” with Ron Lynch (and if you can’t wait, people, to read more posts about Ron Lynch, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

I rarely wait, people, to get chocolate or to connect with sweet people.

IMG_4992 IMG_4994 IMG_4995 IMG_4996 IMG_4997IMG_4998

That’s Lina. She was kind enough, as she waiting on me, to tell me she took the job at L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square because “I like the way people talk about chocolate here.” As I was waiting for her to ring up my purchases, I took this photo:

IMG_4999

and said to Lina, “I’m always taking photos for my blog.”  Lina didn’t wait to say this, “That’s the way art works.”

I didn’t wait, people, to eat the chocolate Lina sold me …

IMG_5004

… while I was waiting for Waitress to begin.

IMG_5002 IMG_5003

After I saw Waitress, I couldn’t wait, people, to see my boyfriend Michael, who was waiting for me in Harvard Square after helping his brother wait on people for five long days. While I was waiting for Michael last night, I took pictures of places we waited and where wait people had waited on us on our first date, five years ago:

IMG_4979 IMG_4982 IMG_4983

Wait, people!  There’s one more thing I want to say, before I publish this Wait People post.

Tonight, after five months of planning and 45 years of some people waiting to see each other, I’m going to my high school reunion.

No more wait, people!

I won’t wait, people, to thank all those people who made this post possible. And special thanks to you — of course! — for waiting, people, for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 965: Getting unstuck

Do you ever get stuck in a behavior, a feeling, or a thought? Do you ever repeat patterns of acting or thinking you KNOW are neither positive nor helpful?

If you answered “yes,” you are NOT alone in your stuck-ness.

If you answered “no,” could you let the rest of us know how you stick to being unstuck?

Here’s why I’m stuck thinking about getting unstuck today:

  1. Tomorrow I go back to work helping others get unstuck in their lives, after two weeks of being wonderfully unstuck from my regular routines, on vacation.
  2. One article I read while in Social Work graduate school — that has stuck with me for decades — suggested that all mental/behavioral health diagnoses could be replaced with a single, one-word diagnosis: “Stuck.”
  3. While I’ve made a lot of progress in my own life, I still get stuck in certain ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving  I KNOW are unhelpful, outdated, and automatic.

Let’s stick to the title of this post — “Getting Unstuck.” How do those of us who know we get stuck start unsticking from  old, unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving?

Before I share some getting-unstuck advice,  I invite you to stick to your own wisdom and experience.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life about getting unstuck, even temporarily?

Stick with that question, for a moment. What memories, images, or other associations about getting unstuck are sticking with you, now? If you stick any of those in a comment here, you might help others get unstuck, too.

Because I’m stuck with that promise I made to share something I have learned, in my long life,  about getting unstuck, here it is:

When you feel stuck, get in touch with your experience and your intuition and do ONE THING differently. Then, notice the other changes that one simple change creates. 

With all of you as my witnesses, I now pledge to do one thing differently when I return to work tomorrow.  In order to get unstuck from old and unhelpful post-vacation habits, I  am going to consciously allow the many wonderful feelings, thoughts, and images from eight glorious days in Edinburgh, Scotland to stick around, for a long time.

We’ll see how long I can stick with that.

If I had brought my Scottish walking stick back with me to U.S., perhaps that stick would help me stick to sustaining and change-inspiring  memories of freedom, creativity, beauty, and growth. However, I left that stick behind on the streets of Edinburgh, stuck with the hope that walking stick might help somebody else — who might need support — move forward through that cobble-stoned city.

Because I have no pictures of that stick, I’ll stick to other images, old and new:


                                                                    
       
What music might help us all stick to those things that help us get unstuck in our lives?


I’m sticking with a song that’s familiar to me:  the Scottish Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel performing “Stuck in the Middle with You,” stuck back in the United Kingdom circa 1973.

Unsticking thanks to all who helped me stick to this topic, today, and to you — of course! — for sticking around for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.