Posts Tagged With: stress reduction

Day 3273: What feels left unfinished?

At the end of every group I facilitate, I ask people what feels left unfinished, so they can get a good enough sense of closure for the group session.

I finished my day yesterday by asking this question on Twitter:

Everything can feel left unfinished, because we are all in the middle of our journeys through life. I think the best we can do is to celebrate whatever closures we can attain.

My blog posts feel left unfinished to me until I share my other images for the day.

It looks like the Daily Bitch is finished with people.

One thing that feels left unfinished to me is an explanation about our cat Joan’s recurring ear infections. Today I am taking her to the vet and am hoping for some closure about that.

These posts feel left unfinished until I share some relevant music.


I love this comment on YouTube about Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony:

Of, course my blog posts feel left unfinished until I express thanks to all who help me create them, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 1748: Keep calm and carry on

Several years ago, a calm co-worker carried this gift from London to my office:

I need that reminder as I carry on at work, sipping calming tea from that cup which I carry on my way.

Today, I shall do my best to keep calm and carry on through

  • the news,
  • loss,
  • obstacles,
  • miscommunication,
  • mistakes,
  • injustice, and
  • everything else.

I hope my other photos from yesterday help us keep calm and carry on.


Last night at the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour in Boston, Lex found it difficult to keep calm and carry the pizza when he saw Koine. Here‘s a reprise of the video from yesterday’s blog post:

How do you keep calm and carry on?

I keep calm and carry on with the help of others, including you!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 1342: Subjective Stress

Last week, I got my yearly review at work, which could have been a source of subjective stress.

Instead, my subjective opinion is that it was an excellent review, which reduced my stress.

My supervisor objectively stressed my need to reduce my subjective stress, as follows:

Goal for next year: Decrease subjective stress level. Keep mindful of her strengths and accomplishments and resource limitations while managing the intense level of requests so she can continue to provide excellent patient care with less stress to herself.

I subjectively want to stress this, here and now:

  • I subjectively think that “decrease subjective stress level” is an important subject for my supervisor to bring up.
  • The hospital where I work can be very stressful, subjectively and objectively.
  • I constantly explore the subject of stress reduction in group and individual therapy.
  • Like many health care professionals, I am better at helping others decrease stress than my own subjective self (which has been the subject of many articles in the health care field).

How is your subjective stress level?  What increases it?  How might you decrease it?

I’ve been thinking about the subject of stress a lot lately. My subjective opinion is that my stress level is higher than usual because my  son is leaving home to attend Edinburgh University this month and I’m having open heart surgery soon afterwards. Both these sources of stress of  have been the subject of many recent blog posts here.

Subjectively, it occurs to me that both those stressful events are objectively stressful. That is, most people would agree they would cause stress to anybody.  “Subjective stress” is the stress I might add to that stress by worrying about subjects I can’t control (like whether my son will receive his student visa in time before his scheduled flight on Saturday), or by subjecting myself to fortune telling, catastrophizingblaming, comparisons, all-or-nothing thinking, personalizing,  mind reading, and all the other cognitive distortions common to human subjects (which have been the subject of many of my previous blog posts).

I’d like to stress that I often decrease my subjective stress level by taking subjective pictures of my surroundings and sharing them here, like so:













Did any of those subjective photos increase your subjective stress level?  Decrease it?

Subjectively, I believe this number from Stephen Sondheim’s Company is a good example of subjective stress making an objectively stressful situation (a wedding) more stressful:


You leaving a subjective comment on any subject might reduce my subjective stress level.   Shall we find out?

Objective thanks to all who helped me create this subjective post and to you — of course! — for subjecting yourself to my blog, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 179: Wasting Time

In my post yesterday (which took me a LONG time to write, believe it or not), I was struggling with many things, including trying to create a pie chart to illustrate a point.

I’ve never created a pie chart before, so I was having the inevitable struggle of The New. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was trying different things, and I was making mistakes.

I was writing a post that was about frustration and impatience, and I was getting frustrated and impatient with myself and with many different Free On-Line Pie-Making Places.

I couldn’t get what I wanted. And what’s the natural, human response to not getting what you want? Anger, and all the different shades thereof (e.g., annoyance, frustration, irritability, peevishness, etc.)

So, while writing a post about a pet peeve — throughout the day and evening — I was getting peeved. And doing some ranting and railing at The Pie Chart Programs and their limitations (which did not make it to the post).

Finally, I just used the Pie Chart I Disliked The Least, so I could put the post to bed.

And I tossed off this statement:

Not the best pie chart, but I didn’t want to waste any more time on this.

I noted that immediately; I used language about “wasting” time. (Actually, my whole rant, yesterday, was about wasting time: re-listening to voicemail messages where people say their phone numbers too quickly.)

That’s ironic, because when I work with people as a therapist, I sometimes pose this question:

What if there were no such thing as time wasted?

(I tend to ask people questions like that. Here’s another one: “What if the concept of failure did not exist?

Perhaps, when I ask a question like that, I am an annoyer, rather than an annoyee.*)

I will repeat the question, to you: What if there were no such thing as time wasted?

What if, indeed?

What if every moment served some purpose, even if we weren’t aware of it?

Last night, at a group I was facilitating (with a co-facilitator I like very much, who will be leaving the group soon), we were talking about goodbyes, among other things. We were also talking about stress reduction.

One of the members said that she was making a lot of progress reducing stress. She brought in this book:


and she read a wonderful story from that book which had the title (or the moral) “It’s Not The End of the World.”

But, she said, there was one area that continued to stress her out.

Sitting in traffic.

Something that stresses lots of people out.

My co-facilitator, after the group was over, told me that she’d read somewhere that the #1 predictor of job satisfaction for people was ….

A predictable commute to work.

Not the length of the commute — one that was predictable. In other words, one where one knew what to expect. Where there weren’t fluctuations in traffic delays.

I want to brag about something, right here.

I have made a lot of progress in my life, letting go of stress about traffic.

I remember, about twenty years ago, giving advice about that to my then-business partner, Jonathan, as we were stuck in traffic on the way to pitch our advertising and marketing business to a client. He was talking about how much he hated traffic, and I said, “Why don’t we just pretend that we’re sitting on a couch somewhere, hanging out?” And it helped me, to picture “sitting in traffic” just that way. As another form of sitting around — one that you might choose.

This year, my commute to work does NOT meet the criteria cited by my co-facilitator. That is, the traffic — through some major thoroughfares to and through Boston — does fluctuate, quite a bit, from day to day.

But it doesn’t bother me.

What’s my secret?

  1. I usually leave enough time, in the morning, for most traffic permutations.
  2. If I don’t leave enough time, I have a “Plan B” (parking closer to work, eliminating my much-beloved morning walk).
  3. If I still haven’t left enough time, I can let people know I’m a little late.
  4. If I’m a little late, it’s not the end of the world.

And, last but not least:

5. Sitting in traffic does not feel like a waste of time.

Especial thanks, today — to group members, co-facilitators, and readers like you, who have all spent time with me.


* a made-up word, meaning “one who is annoyed.”

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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