Posts Tagged With: Twitter

Day 1933: Overthinking

Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard several people in therapy express concerns over how they’ve been overthinking.

Overthinking (as described by a thinker at inc.com) “can cause problems. When you overthink, your judgment gets cloudy and your stress gets elevated.  You spend too much time in the negative. It can be difficult to act.”  Overthinking  also interferes with sleep and contributes to anxiety, depression, and self-medicating with food, drugs, or alcohol (there’s more about  overthinking over at thelawofattraction.com).

Last night, I called Michael over to go over my many worried thoughts about matters hanging over me. When my fitful monologue was over, Michael thought over what he’d heard and said, “Ann, the way you’re overthinking borders on the completely ridiculous.”   I realized that the way I was overthinking didn’t border on the completely ridiculous — it actually went over the border into the completely ridiculous.

Michael helps me get control over my overthinking.  However, I’m not over overthinking — it’s a habit that’s hard to get over.  I know I’m overthinking again this morning, because I’m anxious over decisions I made over the long weekend and I’m overthinking the consequences.  However, I’m not thinking that I might be overlinking  to that inc. article about “10 Simple Ways You Can Stop Yourself from Overthinking,” which includes

  • Don’t think about what can go wrong, but what can go right.
  • Distract yourself into happiness.
  • Put things into perspective.
  • Stop waiting for perfection.
  • Change your view of fear.
  • Realize you can’t predict the future.
  • Accept your best.

Yes, I was overthinking many things yesterday, but not my early morning tweeting:

After reading the latest dispatches in these celebrity/political feuds: When did “turn the other cheek” become hit them in the cheek 10 times harder?

And I wasn’t  overthinking when I took these photos:

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I don’t think I’m all by myself alone in overthinking, even though it drives people bananas. At this point, I don’t want to rethink anything, including my pretzel.

When this post is over, please bring over your thinking about overthinking, rethinking, and other kinds of thinking.

Here’s “Overthinking” by L2M:

The last recommendation in that inc. article about stopping overthinking is “be grateful.”  That’s why I don’t overthink my thanks, I just express them.

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

Day 1918: Number Thoughts

Here are some number thoughts:

  1. “Number thoughts” could mean thoughts about numbers OR thoughts that are more numb than others.
  2. Another thought is that the news these days can be numbing.
  3. The number in today’s title is the year that both my late parents were born.
  4. 2 days ago I tweeted these 19 words about numbers: “Doing your own taxes gives you the oppprtunity to calculate — with real numbers — how stupid you are about money.”
  5. I thought that tweet was fine but now I see that the 8th word is a mistake.
  6. My thoughts have now turned to  the number of mistakes I’ve made in my life.
  7. My thoughts about mistakes could be number (rather than more worried).
  8. One of the 1st thoughts I had this morning was to imagine my thoughts floating by in a number of beautiful clouds in a clear blue sky.
  9. A number of people have told me they find that exercise of imagining thoughts in clouds very helpful.
  10. I took a number of photos yesterday.

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Even though our cat Harley has seen me a  number of times, he still thought I was an intruder when I returned home yesterday after spending a number of joyful hours with my ex-in-laws. I had that thought because he hissed at me through the window.

Here’s the 5th suggestion from YouTube about “Number Thoughts”:

Here’s one of a number of thoughts posted on YouTube about that clip from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

At the very moment she says ’42’, guess how many minutes into the movie that is. Yep, I officially have no life.

I’m looking forward to a number of thoughts about today’s post.

No matter how numb a number of my thoughts might be, I always remember to end with thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1903: Who does that?

Who tweets on a Saturday when there are so many other things to do?

Who fires somebody right before his retirement and calls it “A great day for Democracy”? I wish I didn’t know.

Who tweeted yesterday,  worked on her taxes, AND went to a wonderful performance of Into the Woods at Brandeis University?

Who believes the United States will survive its current administration?  Who believes that pain and strife can result in growth and learning?

Who takes photos like these?

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Who believes in unicorns? Who believes that time heals all wounds and wounds all heels?

Who does “Who Are You?”

Who does her best to thank those who help her create these blog posts (including the Who) and all who read them, including YOU?  Who?IMG_5757

 

 

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

Day 209: Two sides of the same coin

This post was inspired, somehow, by watching the show “Breaking Bad” with my son and my bf last night.

Not sure what I’m going to write today. That’s not an unusual situation when I sit down to write a post, but it’s true, even more so, this morning.

Several years ago, when I facilitated writing groups, at a Psychiatric Day Program, I would often suggest that people write freely without editing. Sometimes I suggested people write with their non-dominant hand.

Not sure how to “free-write” with my non-dominant hand when I’m typing, today! But I will do my best.

I’m noticing that my left leg is bouncing as I’m writing this.

One of the people in one of my therapy groups, last week, pointed out that my foot was bouncing — air-tapping — when I was making a point that felt important.

Later in that same group, when we were doing a writing exercise about the topic of “Worry,” I made the suggestion that somebody, who was stuck, try “free writing” and maybe try writing with their non-dominant hand. They kept writing with the same hand, but the suggestion seemed to help.

I think the bouncing leg/tapping foot thing is a sign of two sides of the same coin: Fear/Anticipation. Anxiety/Energy.

I’m not sure if my leg and foot are bouncing and tapping more lately, or if I (and others) are just noticing that more.

Right now, I want to write about something that happened last week, when I woke up in the middle of the night and had trouble getting back to sleep.

When that happened, I tried something new, based on what I’ve read so far of this book (which I’ve referenced in a previous post, here):

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The author of that book, Peter Levine, writes about how people who have experienced trauma (and he says that many of us have experienced some form of trauma) often have the normal, animal physiological responses to that trauma frozen in their bodies.

I often think of the “deer in the headlights” response, when I read his book:

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Peter Levine also cites the “Flight or Fight” fright reaction.

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(Note: The above illustration came from a blog called “The Atomic Meme,” in a post about the biology of stress.)

Peter Levine, in “Waking the Tiger,” says that our primitive, protective reactions to fear-inducing traumas get stuck in our bodies.

I am not sure how Peter Levine is going to “prescribe” — in his book — how people dispel those frozen impulses. I haven’t gotten that far, in my reading.

But I came up with my own prescription, in that middle of the night, last week, when I couldn’t sleep.

Here’s what happened: I woke up and the calf muscles in my legs were hurting me. They were painful. They were tight.

Why were my legs doing that, I wondered? It was possible that I had walked too much that day, in too-new shoes. It was possible that I needed to drink water. It was possible that I needed more potassium.

All of these were possibilities. The reality was: I couldn’t get back to sleep, no matter what I tried.

And I thought about something I had read in the book: Peter Levine’s life-changing experience as a treater of trauma.

Here are some excerpts of how he describes that important encounter, in “Waking the Tiger”:

I was asked to see a woman, Nancy, who was suffering from intense panic attacks.

She appeared paralyzed and unable to breathe.

I became quite frightened.

I had a fleeting vision of a tiger jumping toward us.

I exclaimed loudly, “You are being attacked by a large tiger. See the tiger as it comes at you. Run toward that tree; climb it and escape!” To my surprise, her legs started trembling in running movements. she let out a blood-curdling scream.

She began to tremble, shake, and sob in full-bodied convulsive waves.

She recalled a terrifying memory from her childhood. When she was three years old she had been strapped to a table for a tonsillectomy. The anesthesia was ether.

Nancy was threatened, overwhelmed, and as a result, had become physiologically stuck in the immobility response.”

So, when I couldn’t get back to sleep, after a couple of hours, my legs still cramping (they felt like they were saying, “We want to run!!”), I decided to try an experiment.

I got out of bed, in the dark, and stood there, thinking about that passage above.

My son was asleep downstairs. My boyfriend was awake, downstairs. The cat was downstairs, too. So I knew I wouldn’t be frightening anybody with my experiment. No one would be able to hear me, I was sure.

As is often true when I do a mindfulness exercise, I wasn’t sure what exact form this experiment would take. I gave myself the following instructions, “Run as hard and fast as you can, in place, like your life depends upon your running, on your getting away from what you’re scared of.”

And I ran in place, really, really fast. I didn’t scream. I didn’t need to. The running was intense, hard, and fast.

I didn’t “get anywhere” because I was running in place. But in ways, I covered a lot of distance. I released a lot of energy. And I felt like I might be able to get back to sleep.

When I went back to bed, my legs weren’t hurting as much. They felt a lot better.

A little while later, I was still awake, and my legs still felt stiff. So I tried that exercise one more time.

Then, I tweeted the following:

Cure for insomnia + leg cramps + anxiety + weight gain = Run like you’re being chased by monsters. Rest, repeat.

And I went back to sleep.

Now, I want to end this blog post, so I can meet my old friend, Barbara, on time. (I’ve mentioned Barbara, before, including this post about some “monsters.”)

Thanks to Peter Levine, tigers, “Breaking Bad,” my son, my boyfriend, Barbara, and to you, for reading today.

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

Day 199: I dared to tweet some tweets

I’ve been tweeting!

That’s something new for me, this year. And starting anything new means excitement and adventure, but also overcoming The Fear of Screwing Up, a/k/a The Fear of Making a Fool of Oneself, a/k/a The Fear of Not Being Good Enough At Whatever The New Thing Is.

I started This Tweet Process two months ago, when I wrote a blog post called “To Tweet Or Not To Tweet (is that the question?” (here). Then, on a day where I wrote about Twitter again, I did venture to tweet, and the tweet was about the very venturing. I chose a literary allusion, harkening back to my English Major days, at an Old Ivy League School:

“Do I dare to eat a peach? No. Tweet? Yes.”

My targeted audience? I guess people who (1) have read T.S. Eliot, (2) have heard that quote, and/or (3) have some opinion about peaches.

The next tweet, three days later, was inspired when a Group Therapy Professional Organization started following me on Twitter. The tweet:

“I used to think that life was always High School, but now I think it’s always Group Therapy. Progress?”

That was also a Tweet Out/Shout Out to my loyal friend, Lawry (who not only attended Junior High School with me, but also the same Old Ivy League School). One day when we were in our 20’s, Lawry, who was having a reaction to some people’s immaturity, said, with disbelief, that it was like we were still in high school! I replied (with the full gravitas of age), “Lawry. Life is always high school.” Lawry loved that quote, which made me feel proud and witty.

So I figured, for that second tweet, I would use something that had worked well in the past (although I wondered whether it had aged as well as both me and Lawry).

My next tweet came three weeks later (the gap due to self-doubt about the merit of the previous tweets and/or my being overwhelmed by other matters.). This tweet was inspired by that day’s blog post, which had referred to having patience while sitting in traffic.

“Sitting in traffic is just like sitting on your living room couch, but with a better view. (Especially if you have cars in your living room.)

That day, I had some visions of becoming some sort of Multi-Social-Media Renaissance Gal, interweaving daily blogs posts and tweets in an intricate tapestry of Internet Interconnectedness.

I guess that vision didn’t stick, because a week went by, and the next tweet was this:

“I’m working too hard, at the hospital where I was born. If it kills me, at least that would be a nice narrative arc.”

As I analyze this today, this tweet seems to combine a kind of Cry For Help with detached irony and that English Major in me. I wrote it on July 4th, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by work (as I wrote about here and here.)

I’ve been working on reducing stress and increasing self care. Working on it, right now.

The next tweet came two weeks later, on a Saturday, where I was taking a breather and eating lunch at a new restaurant, on my own. (I like going to restaurants on my own, which comes in handy in lots of situations.)

When I was in my late 20’s, I had a conversation with a friend about eating in restaurants alone. He said, “Wow! I could never do that. I’d be afraid that people would look at me and think, ‘What a loser!’ I said to him, “What would you think if you saw somebody else in a restaurant eating alone?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe, that they were a food critic, or somebody who had a really interesting life, who has to travel a lot for business …..” He stopped, startled. I said, “See?” (This may be the first instance of my using The Double Standard Method to help change somebody’s self-judgment.) (See here for that antidote, among others, for Cognitive Distortions.)

Anyway, where was I, before the digression in italics? Oh, yes, my tweet, last weekend, as I was sitting in a restaurant, by myself, hungry, blowing on the too-hot food, waiting for it to cool down:

“Something I never see on “Chopped” or “MasterChef”: tasters needing the food to cool down first. Do food judges have asbestos mouths?”

What I notice about that tweet, right now (besides the possibly misplaced “:”): I was wondering, at the time, whether other people blow on their food to cool it down or whether that was something “weird” or “uncouth” of me. (Arrghh! All those self-judgmental, doubting thoughts!)

Also, I watch a lot of cooking shows with my bf, who was a professional cook for many years.

OMG! Here’s something else I’m noticing about that tweet, RIGHT NOW. MasterChef re-tweeted that tweet! I had no idea. My first re-tweet, and a celebrity one, no less!

Where was I, after that exciting discovery/digression? Oh, yes, my chronological list of Ann’s Tweets. (It’s coming to an end, dear reader. I promise.)

After a 3-day Twitter Break, I had a burst of three tweets in one day! That was yesterday. I must have been feeling more confident/not caring about Tweet Perfection.

Tweet # 1, in the morning:

What happens when you put the earphone labelled “L” in your right ear and vice versa? Does your brain get scrambled?”

I tweeted that because I was preparing for my daily dose of Personal Medicine — my walk-to-work-while-listening-to-music, making sure that I was putting my headphones on the “right way,” and then asking, “Why?”

Another note about that last tweet: Beth, a wonderful woman from my high school, answered it, on Facebook, like so: “Maybe it comes out as Hebrew!” I thought that was hilarious.*

Tweet #2, on my way home from a long-overdue therapy appointment:

Everything we do is a rehearsal for something else we’ll be doing in the future. And there’s only one closing performance.

More background about that one: I’m in the middle of helping to plan a 43rd year high school reunion (which is coming up this Saturday). It’s not going perfectly, of course, and it sometimes helps me to think of this (as well as many other things) as a rehearsal for the next one.

One more thought about that tweet: as my dear friend Maria pointed out to me, when we were in our 20’s, I think about death a lot (which is becoming more age appropriate, all the time).

Tweet #3 (and the final tweet of this post, ladies and gentlemen) was inspired, last night, by this beautiful conure, at a local pet store, whose eyes were twitching as it was sleeping:

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“Since humans dream of flying, maybe birds dream of driving a car.”

One last thing: My also beautiful (in many ways) ex-sister-in-law, Deborah, answered back to that one on Facebook: “maybe riding a bike.” I wrote back, “The ecologically aware ones, yes.”

Okay, that wraps up this post for today. May we all dare to tweet some tweets, speak our minds, make some jokes, and eat at a restaurant by ourselves!

Thanks, everybody.

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* English is written left to right; Hebrew, right to left.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 153: Do I Dare to Tweet a Tweet?

Yes.

A few days ago, I wrote a post called “To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?),” where the “real” topics included aging, resistance to change, fear of the new, embracing life, dealing with illness, and the d-word (death).

However, Twitter was definitely in there.  And several of the much-appreciated comments I got on that post (including a few from fellow blogger Charmin) have kept Twitter On My Mind.

And then, in another peep of synchronicity, Twitter sent me a friendly, freakishly timed e-mail saying, “Hello, Ann!  We haven’t seen you in a while!”

Because I did sign up for Twitter a while ago.  (My memory is that my son was interested at that time, and we had some kind of mass, household sign-up).

And I have Tweeted twice before, I realized this morning.

The first tweet, quite a while ago, was something related to “Top Chef.” (I confess: I  love me some reality shows where the contestants — or in this case, “cheftestants” — are good at and passionate about what they do.) (Note to self: possible future blog post topics: (1) Reality Shows, (2) Passion and Skill, (3) Made-Up Words and What They Do To Our Souls.)

The second tweet was A Celebrity Tweet. I had tweeted my guitar hero, Pat Metheny, thanking him for the music he’s given us.  (I expressed that intense gratitude to him in person, too, many years ago, at this building:

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which used to be a Tower Records.) ( I re-encountered that building, in April, when I felt ready to walk down Boylston Street, after the Boston Marathon bombings.)

Today, I did a Tweet With A New Attitude.  The new attitude was less tentative, less Twitter Toe In The Water. (That idiom — putting your toe in the water to indicate trying something carefully, reminds me of a FABULOUS blog I encountered here recently: Toemail, where people send in wonderful pictures that include a toe somewhere in the scene.)

This time, I jumped in with both feet.  I sent a Tweet, Intentionally, to reach people.  (The content of the tweet doesn’t matter. Suffice to say: it was goofy. I love me some goofy.)

Whenever I do that:  try to reach people — whether it’s through blogging, speaking, tweeting, writing, mailing, calling, at my work, or in my dreams — it can be hopeful, exciting, rewarding, frustrating, and scary, too.

What are my fears about doing this?

I don’t have messages that are important enough, that justify asking for people’s attention . I don’t want to “bother” them, in the midst of all the other things they need to pay attention to.

And, I can experience shame, too, when I act  like I AM important enough (to send messages, bother people, etc.).

(And here’s another one, that my friend Joe just reminded me about, in his explanation of not accepting my invitation to join Twitter. If I send a message, will kind and thoughtful people be concerned about my reaction, if they decide to set a limit and not to engage in this way?)

But these are all things I’m working on this year, dear readers.

And I guess I’m making progress, because I’m Bothering People here in the Blog-o-Sphere, every single day! (And who knows how often I’ll be bothering people through Twitter?)

Thanks for reading, for not being bothered, and for spending your valuable, important time with me.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 149: To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?)

(This post is dedicated to my good friend, Newell.)

Like most people my age (I assume), I resist some new things.

Like most people (I assume), I resist some new things.

Resistance to new things is pretty common, isn’t it? I mean, it would make sense, that we would resist something unknown.

Change engenders both hope and fear. How could it not?

I’m not sure whether I’m any more resistant to new things now, than I was when I was younger.

I can’t remember!

That’s not exactly correct. I can remember a lot of things. I’m just not sure how to interpret all that data, regarding this particular question: Am I more resistant to change — now that I’m older — than I was before?

My guess, right now, is that I’m more resistant to change if I have some fears about the changes.

And the more secure I am in my competence and skills in adapting to change, the less fear I will have, and the less I will resist a change.

And, actually, dear reader, I’ve been thinking lately that the trend, for me, is to become MORE secure as I get older.

I confess: I like getting older. Whenever somebody asks me, what age would you like to be? I always answer, “This one.” I never name an earlier one.

This makes me feel weird, to tell you the truth. Because I hear so much noise, out there, regarding fear of aging. And I understand it. I do! Because the more we age, the closer to (the big D) we are.

(I didn’t want to freak people out, by using the D-word.)

But, for some reason, aging doesn’t make me feel closer to death, for the most part. (Ooops! I used the d-word.)

Actually, I know the reason. It’s because I was born with a heart “defect”, and I got that message loud and clear from people around me: You probably won’t live very long.

And about two years ago (when I was 58 years old), a doctor finally said to me, “You know what, Ann? I think you’re going to live as long as anybody else.”

So this unusual life of mine has given me several gifts (I assume):

  • I am often in the moment.
  • I am grateful for being alive (almost always, although I lose track of that sometimes)).
  • I enjoy aging.

Just so you don’t think my mind is filled with rainbows and unicorns, I will say this: I’m still afraid of death (although I’m working on that). And there are down sides to being as much in the moment as I am. (I have trouble planning ahead, for one.)

However, I do see My Unusual Life as bringing many more gifts than drawbacks.

Now, some of you, at this point, may be thinking:

What the hell is the deal with the title of this post? What does THIS have to do with Tweeting?

Good questions, astute readers!

Well, my intent when I started writing this was to discuss how I have resisted getting on Twitter, and to wonder whether this reflected (1) resistance to change, in general and (2) resistance to a (relatively) new-fangled technology, from me, an older person.

But, as Dr. Seuss said ….

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Thanks for reading, everybody.

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

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