Posts Tagged With: self improvement

Day 1073: Visualizing

I was just visualizing a post I may have already written about “Visualizing,” here at my camel-staring-at-the-pyramids blog site. In order to help in my visualization, I’m asking myself questions, such as: What would a post titled “Visualizing” look like? What words, pictures, colors, textures,  and other details might it have? How do I see it, in my mind’s eye?

A “Visualizing” post does not yet exist,  here at this adventure-journal-on-wood-background site. Therefore,  I am now in the midst of visualizing and creating today’s post,  which I’ll soon send out into the world (which I’m visualizing as a green and blue sphere floating in a vast blanket of stars).

Yesterday, if you can visualize this, I facilitated a therapy group in my Boston office where people visualized the effects of shame.

How might you visualize shame?

To help you visualize my office, here are some recent photos people have visualized here before:

Here are some ways the group in that office was visualizing shame, yesterday :

  • eyes down and averted,
  •  face hidden,
  • becoming smaller,
  • drawing oneself inward,
  • a child bullied by others, and
  • the colors brown and yellow.

Then, yesterday’s therapy group visualized some affirmations:

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Can you visualize your own affirmations? Can you visualize all the effects of believing all the affirmations on that page?  Can you visualize me, yesterday, choosing to recite this affirmation in group?

I am already worthy as a person. I don’t have to prove myself.

Here are three other images I visualized yesterday:

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Now I’m visualizing the comments I might get about this post.

Thank you, my dear readers,  for visualizing the possibility of visiting here, today.

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

Day 1072: One label fits all

I’ve written before (here, here, here, here, and here) about the cognitive distortion of labeling:

Labeling or Name-calling.
We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. 

I often witness people labeling themselves harshly.  Whenever I hear an unhelpful label, I invite people to consider changing that label to something less toxic and more conducive to growth and healing. 

Yesterday, in therapy, when I heard the labels “lazy” and “stupid,” I suggested an all-purpose, one-size-fits-all  replacement to any unhelpful, habitual label.

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Human.

Let’s see if this works.  Imagine, for the moment, any harsh label you apply to yourself, especially during times of anxiety, depression, and stress.  Now, replace that label with this:

Human.

Did that work?

How might you humans label any of these other photos I snapped yesterday?

How might you label this whole post?

Thanks to all humans who helped me create this one-label-fits-all post and special thanks to all those who are  finding this blog fit to visit, here and now.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1059: Awesome Sauce

Yesterday, during group therapy, somebody said

Awesome Sauce

to express positive feelings.

Awesome Sauce

quickly went viral within the group.  Every time somebody said

Awesome Sauce

people felt better.

It’s

Awesome Sauce

to me, how two little words can cheer up an entire room.

Throughout the day, I took these awesome sauce pictures.

In case you’re wondering, the awesome sauce on that swordfish is made with mustard, horseradish, and cranberries.

Awesome sauce!!

After I publish this awesome sauce post, I’m doing some awesome sauce work and then I’m seeing an awesome sauce play with some awesome sauce people (one of whom made the awesome sauce in that last picture).

Awesome Sauce!

What makes you say “Awesome Sauce”?  What simple words or action do you think might cheer up an entire room?

Thanks to everybody who said “Awesome Sauce” yesterday and thanks to you — of course! — for being so awesome sauce, today.

 

 

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 47 Comments

Day 1057: Phew

“Phew” is a sound of relief.  It’s one of a few sounds I make — to myself and out loud to others — that  I call “comic book noises.”   Another comic book noise I make is “Eeeek!”

Because “Eeeek!” is a sound of fear, “Phew” is a good balance for that one.

Phew!

It’s a relief to have balance in my life.

When I woke up this morning, I realized I had lived through another  November 22nd.

Phew.

Now it’s time to think about

  • my new psychotherapy office in Newton, starting on December 1,
  • the holidays,
  • my almost-full-time work at a major Boston teaching hospital where I provide group and individual therapy,
  • my 17-year-old son’s college application process,
  • the increasingly cold weather,
  • blogging every day, and
  • lots of events and obligations, coming up soon.

For everything in that list, I could say

Eeeek!

or

Phew

… depending on my mood and my perspective.

I’m much more likely to say “Phew”  if I

  • focus on the present moment,
  • take one step at a time,
  • identify what is achievable,
  • exercise self-care, and
  •  connect with others.

What makes you say “Eeek”?  What makes you say “Phew”?

Do any of my  photos evoke comic book noises?

If I don’t include music in today’s post, will that cause an “Eeek!” or a “Phew”?

It’s a relief (Phew) to thank people, cats, personal produce (Eeeek!)  and you — Yay! —  no matter what noises you’re making, here and now.

Categories: blogging, health care, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Day 1051: Who loves ___?

Who loves the title of this post?

Who loves an explanation of what inspired “Who loves ___?”

This lovely morning, as I was thinking about writing a post about anger (and who loves anger?), my boyfriend Michael (who loves me) said, “Oscar loves you.”

Who loves Oscar?

IMG_6832

Who loves change?  Who loves unexpected change?  Who loves changes in WordPress, this morning?

Who loves these photos?

Who loves expressing love?

 

Who loves music?

 

Who loves this post?

Who loves the way I always express gratitude at the end of my daily posts?

Who loves Michael, Oscar, taking pictures, music, being a psychotherapist, today’s changes to WordPress, and you?  I do.

Categories: inspiration, love, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 348: Signs (continued)

As usual, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about this morning.  As usual, I considered and let go of several ideas.

Some of those ideas were related to love; some of the ideas were related to loss. Some were related to connection with others; some were related to being alone.  Some of the ideas were heavy; some of them were light.

This is what I settled on, after checking my iPhone for recent photos:

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After I saw this sign at work yesterday, I realized there were (at least) two different interpretations of the phrase “Help Yourself”:

  • Share in this gift (in this case, coffee).
  • Only you can change your life.

Signs are amazing, aren’t they?

Thanks to all who have visited here today, no matter where, who, or how you are*.

_____________________________________________

* And whether or not** you drink coffee.

** If you’re wondering if this was good grammar, check this out.

*** Aren’t footnotes fun?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 299: Why haven’t I published anything (outside of here)?

This morning, I am posing questions about where I am in my life, right now.

I have enough expertise and skill to be a published author. Why haven’t I made that happen, so far in my life?

What’s gotten in the way of that?

Here are some things I can think of:

  1. Doubts about my (previously mentioned) expertise and skill.
  2. My ability to think of a kashmillion things I would rather be doing other than writing something for publication.
  3. Concern (and perhaps some other feelings) that other people would  have the control to accept or reject something that was important to me (and what makes THEM such friggin’ experts, anyway?!??)
  4. My short attention span. (Look!  It’s a baby wolf!)

baby_wolf_cub-600x618

Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was asking the question:

Why haven’t I published anything, so far in my life?

Oh, I wanted to state the obvious, at this point.  I’m not counting what I’ve published here, at WordPress. Because if I did, I’ve published almost 300 times.

I’m discounting that.

Hmmmm. I’m wondering if I’m discounting anything else?

Because, recent data suggests that I can forget things that I’ve done.  By “recent data,” I am referring to my blog post, two days ago, where I forgot that I had actually taken a photo of Carl Yastrzemski, when I was at the 1st game of the World Series, at Boston’s Friendly Fenway Park.

So, let’s see. have I published anything, outside of  these blog posts?

Hmmm. I guess you could say I have.

About 20 years ago, when I was in Social Work school, I wrote a paper about how people with disabilities were portrayed in the media. I interviewed people from a local chapter of (I believe) the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and they asked if they could publish a version of my paper in their national publication. Which they did.

And in years past, if you Googled my name, that article appeared. But I can’t find it now, to check my facts (and support my bragging).

So maybe I’ll see if I can find that article, later.

But in the meantime, it’s a beautiful day!

Which means, I would like to wrap this post up.

Before I do, here’s what feels left undone.

I want to ask  myself another question:

Do I WANT to publish (or do I just think I SHOULD publish)?  (Psssst!  The word “should” can indicate a cognitive distortion.)

Hold on, I’m thinking ….

Here’s the answer.

I do want to publish, if it’s something:

  1. I feel passionately about, and
  2. I think would be helpful to share with others.

So what might that topic be?

I’m interested in communication of all kinds, verbal and nonverbal. Maybe I should write a paper on something like this:

The people in the following image (from a national TV broadcast) are having an experience that most would consider joyful:

Slide3 (2)

That is, they are attending a World Series Game, where their home team is leading by a score of 8-1, one strike away from victory.  What emotions are they communicating, non-verbally? What are the factors influencing those non-verbal communications, from the stand-point of those sending AND receiving the communications?

That’s definitely an interesting topic.

However, I can think of another topic, that’s probably a better fit for the two criteria I listed above: The therapy groups that I have created and facilitate, where I work.

So I would like to take steps to publish, about those.

One last thing, before I end this post: I believe it helps, once you have identified a goal, to make a commitment for action, ideally witnessed by others.

Therefore, I hereby commit, to my group of WordPress readers, that I will take a measurable step, by the end of this year, to publish about those therapy groups.

Okay!

Thanks to  Dan Shaughnessy (the author of “One Strike Away: The Story of the 1986 Red Sox”), thatcutesite.com,  baby wolves (and other distractions), the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, verbal and non-verbal communicators everywhere, and to you — of course! — for witnessing today.

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

Day 291: Introducing a New Member/Cat to a Group/Household

This is one of those posts, dear readers, where I try to be clever, with a topic that applies to more than one situation.

As a group therapist, I have some wisdom about effective ways to introduce new members into established groups. As a cat owner, I am now dealing with the experience of introducing a new cat into a household that includes one other cat.

So let’s see how I do, today, being clever (I wish) and helpful (I hope).

Here we go ….

Ann’s Helpful Tips for

Introducing a New Cat/Group Member

into an Established Household/Group

Phew!  Even the title was exhausting. Nevertheless, let’s continue ….

Tip #1.  Be respectful of the differences in each member’s/cat’s experience of the situation.

A group member/cat who is familiar with the group/household is going to be more comfortable. A new member/cat is going to be less comfortable and (we might assume) more anxious in the group/household.

Therefore, it is helpful to skillfully leave room for each member/cat  — new and  old —  to be where he/she/it needs to be.

I don’t know, readers.  This post might be too ambitious/complicated.  What do you think?

Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.

The best I can do, right now,  is to provide an image that, somehow, helpfully illustrates something in this blog post.

I hope this works (fingers crossed):

.

.

Image

Thanks to new (and established) cats and group members, everywhere. And special thanks to you, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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!!!

Image

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:

Image

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.

Image

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 284: We never know how we affect people (The Ta-Da Pose)

I think, within the last 283 days,  I wrote another blog post about this:

We never know how we affect people

However,  I can’t locate that post right now.

But that’s not really important. Here’s what I wanted to write about, today.

Many years ago, I was driving alone at night, feeling low and discouraged about something.

I can’t remember what the hell I was feeling bad about, now.  (Isn’t that usually the way it works?  Problems that seem so important at the time often fade away, as time passes,  to nothing.)

I remember I was about to exit a supermarket parking lot, and I was waiting for a pedestrian to walk by.

I remember that pedestrian, quite well.  I wish I had a picture of him that I could share with you.

But I don’t.

Let’s see if I can capture and convey the experience to you.

I think the guy was wearing something unusual. I don’t have a great visual memory, so I can’t tell you what kind of clothing he had. But I think it was casual.  Maybe it was colorful.

He wasn’t  a serious, conventional business person. I know that. He looked like a “free spirit.” Again, my visual memory, for details, is fuzzy.

Here’s what I do remember clearly. As he crossed in front of my car, he caught my eye.

And without missing a beat, he made a “Ta-Da!” gesture.  That is, he stopped, smiled, put his arms out, and maybe even jumped a little, as if he was hearing, or making, a silent, triumphant trumpet noise.

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(Just for fun,  I’m going to Google-Image “Ta Da Pose” and see what I get.  Amazing!  Here’s the first thing that comes up:

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Here’s another one, with eye contact:

Image)

That night, after the guy struck that Ta Da Pose ever-so-briefly,  he moved on.

I remember smiling back, then. Maybe I even laughed a little. (I’m not sure, because I was, after all, feeling very down.)

But I do remember this: I drove away, after this brief encounter, feeling changed.  Feeling better.

And to this day, when I am walking down the street, feeling and showing joy, I often think about that guy I met, many years ago.

He made a difference to me.

And who knows?  Maybe I sometimes make a difference like that, too.

Thanks to that guy, Endorphin Dude,  pose-strikers everywhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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