In therapy, when people feel overwhelmed, I ask them to identify an achievable next step.
For me, here and now, achievable next steps include:
sending an email inviting somebody to connect with me via ZOOM,
opening up 2020 tax preparation software for the first time,
entering some tax data,
sending my video of “Vaccinated Women” to another TV show,
calling my health insurance company about family coverage,
calling a new company about my flexible spending health accountability account,
sharing these images with you:
According to the CDC, achievable next steps are definitely changing. Change is stressful, even those changes you desperately want. I would suggest choosing and practicing an achievable next step for reducing stress.
For me, sharing music I love is an achievable next step. Here are international women taking achievable next dance steps to “So What” by Miles Davis.
Is an achievable next step for you leaving a comment about this achievable-next-step post?
Gratitude is always an achievable next step for me.
Pardon me for noticing, but people seem very concerned about appearances.
Pardon the appearance of two signs of that in today’s blog.
Are there appearances of anything that need pardoning there?
Pardon me for this: When I’m not at my best, I often want to be pardoned for my appearance.
Please pardon the appearance of the ten pounds I’ve gained since my heart surgery in September.
Pardon the appearance, here, of Judd Apatow‘s explanation for recent weight gain:
“It’s very hard to lose weight in the Trump era, I’m trying so hard to have it not turn into 30 pounds. I think it tests our ability to not want to numb out. There’s so many things that are hard to hear every day that you do want to have some Oreos. Like people say, what do you invest in during the Trump era? I feel like, Hostess Cakes. Most of us are just scared and eating ice cream.”
Pardon the appearance of other photos I took yesterday.
While I do have my moods of joy, sadness, fear, anger, and shame, I don’t think I’m particularly moody. However, I may be moody when I return to work tomorrow and the weather finally turns beautiful and sunny, which will probably improve other people’s moods.
Yesterday, during a moody and gray day, I was in the mood to see a movie. So I drove to Waltham, Massachusetts, USA, which has this moody street:
As I walked through moodily quiet Waltham towards the movie theater, I took these moody photos:
When I saw that sign for the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation, I got into a reminiscing mood, remembering a few years ago when my son Aaron and my boyfriend Michael were at that museum, enjoying all the interesting moods of a Steampunk festival.
“So What?” is an amazing tune by Miles Davis, which I’ve loved (and played on the piano) since I was 16 years old.
Your ears and eyes might tell you how “simple” that tune is. Yet, I’ve listened to it countless times. And I expect to keep listening, as long as my ears hold out.
“So What?” Take Two.
“So what?” is something I say to myself when I’m feeling discouraged, down, depressed, disenchanted, and other words that begin with the letter “d”.
As in, “So what if I do (or think, say, write, or feel) this, or anything else? What does it matter, ultimately? What can it really change? Who cares?”
“So What?” Take Three.
“So what?” is something I can say to myself in a freeing, liberating way, to get myself unstuck.
It’s actually one of my favorite ways to challenge cognitive distortions (which are unhelpful and automatic thoughts):
The So What? Technique. Consider that an anxiety-producing possibility (even the worst case scenario) might not be as bad as you fear. For example, “So what if this one person doesn’t like me? Not everybody is going to like me.” or “So what if I lose my cell phone? It’ll be an incredible hassle, but I’ll be able to deal with it.”
See here for a complete list of handy-dandy antidotes to cognitive distortions.
When I wrote that description above, I used the example of losing my cell phone, because I was feeling anxious about losing things. (See here for a post about THAT.) Since then, I’ve lost many things, including my credit card and checkbook (some temporarily, some not), but I haven’t lost my cell phone. Yet.
If I do, I’ll just use that antidote.
It’s a very simple remedy. It’s one that I’ve used many times before. And I expect to keep using it, as long as unhelpful thoughts hold out.
“So What?” Final Take
Here’s something my mother used to say:
“So what? Sew buttons.”
Thanks for reading today. (So what if you did?) (Sew buttons.)