Posts Tagged With: unhelpful thoughts

Day 2081: Live Free or Die

Yesterday, I noticed this New Hampshire license plate  with the official state motto “Live Free or Die.”

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Who knew that hairy aliens lived in New Hampshire, parked in Boston and felt so strongly about freedom?

According to Wikipedia (which is free):

“Live Free or Die” is the official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. It is possibly the best-known of all state mottos, partly because it conveys an assertive independence historically found in American political philosophy and partly because of its contrast to the milder sentiments found in other state mottos.

As I have lived free for many years, I have noticed that flashy assertiveness gets more attention than milder sentiments.  Here are some of the milder sentiments displayed on U.S. license plates:

The Natural State

Colorful

World Famous Potatoes

Visit

It’s That Friendly

Smiling Faces

Is  OK!

Sounds Good to Me

Peace Garden State

The Hospitality State

Seat Belts Fastened?

Drive Carefully

Do you agree that those other state license plates are not as lively or as to-die-for?

Today, as I live free and do not die, I would like to share something I said to my sister, last night, over dinner, after a very difficult day where I died several psychological deaths because of worry, projection, mind reading, fortune telling and other cognitive distortions:

I would like to declare that, as of now, I will never, ever again assume that other people are having harshly negative and judgmental thoughts about what I’m doing or not doing.  Tomorrow morning, I will wake up, free of that old and unhelpful habit.

This morning, as I try to live free of those old patterns and habits, I’m noticing this:  So far so good.

Actually, “So Far So Good” would make a good (if not entirely memorable) license plate.

Shall we live free and/or die for my other photos from yesterday?

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It looks to me like that pineapple and broccoli are living free, undyingly.

Here‘s “Live Free or Die” by Hayes Carll:

Live free and/or comment below, please.

Gratitude is free, here and now, for all those who helped me create this “Live Free or Die” post and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2047: A thought is just a thought

Yesterday, in a therapy group where many thoughts were expressed …

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… I said, “A thought is just a thought.”  One of the group members thought that thought was important, so I wrote it up on the board:

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The group members thought that was helpful, because the thoughts people expressed in the group included fortune telling, catastrophizing, mind reading, personalization, all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalizing, jumping to conclusions, labelling, shoulds, and other cognitive distortions.  For example, my expressed thoughts included, “The plane might crash on Saturday!”

As I’m writing this blog post, my thoughts include this one: “My shoulder, after my fall in January,  will never be right.”

We all have lots of thoughts. Thoughts are NOT the same as actions or accurate forecasts of the future. I’ve thought, many times, to challenge a thought with this question, “Is that a helpful thought?”

A thought is just a thought and a photo is just a photo.

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A thought is just a thought, a barrier is just a barrier, a verb is just a verb,  a memory is just a memory,  and a theme song is just a theme song.

Feel free to express your just thoughts in a comment, below.

Gratitude is just gratitude, so thanks to all whose thoughts helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to thoughtful YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 1860: Love Never Dies

“Love Never Dies” is

  • the title of today’s blog post,
  • the name of the musical I’m seeing today with my ex-sister-in-law, Deborah (whom I love), and
  • true, because even when we die, love lives on.

I have undying love for the people who made my 65th birthday so wonderful, including

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Megan.  I love Megan. Yesterday, Megan and I expressed an undying wish that, before we die, we let go of worry, anxiety, overthinking, harsh self-judgments, and fears about the future. I know that love never dies, but I hope that painful and unhelpful thoughts will die (or at least become less strong).

Photos on the internet never die, so here are more photos from yesterday:

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My love never dies for chocolate, my boyfriend Michael (who bought me that yummy dessert), my son Aaron, my family, my friends, my work, and my blogging community.

Here’s “Love Never Dies” from Love Never Dies:

If you make a comment on the internet, it never dies.

My gratitude never dies for all who help me create these posts and — of course! — for YOU.

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

Day 1553: It’s all about me

It’s another day, here at the Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, when it’s all about me.

For example, this photo was taken by me:

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Yes, it’s all about me, all day.

How should Me Me Me Day be celebrated by me?

Me, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my health, which includes letting go of unhelpful thoughts about me, like these:

  • Nobody understands me.
  • Other people don’t care about me.
  • The world doesn’t appreciate me.
  • Things will never work out for me.
  • You’re not listening to me.

Whenever it’s all about me and my unhelpful thoughts, that’s a miserable “me, me, me” day for me.

To further celebrate Me Me Me Day, here are more photos taken by me.

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Because it’s all about me, here’s a YouTube video created by my son Aaron — who is a person who was created by me — and which includes a scream, by me, in the first few minutes:

There are other things in that video that are all about me:

  • Many of the scenes take place in a home which is all about me.
  • The lines “I’ll pass!’ and “What about William Henry Harrison?” are delivered by Michael, a man who is loved by me.
  • The bird salt shaker was purchased by me.
  • One of the watches in “Watch” belongs to me.
  • The “No Judgment” on the blackboard is a reference to me.
  • There’s an acknowledgement to me in the credits.

Since it’s all about me, why not leave a comment for me?

Bunches of thanks to all who helped me create this all-about-me post and to you — of course! — from me.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1550: Worrying and Planning

Earlier this week, I spoke to somebody in therapy who believed  worrying was a necessary part of planning.

I replied, without worrying about it, “No, no, no, no. Worrying is never helpful.  Never.”

While I rarely plan to use all-or-nothing statements like that, I do believe that worrying never helps. People often believe that worrying helps motivate planning. Actually, worrying wastes valuable time and energy while you’re planning.  Planning is much more productive and fun without the burden of worrying.

Even though we weren’t planning on it, we had a good discussion about the uselessness of worrying.  At the end of the therapy session, we both said, “No worries.”

Right now, I’m planning

  • to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” accompanying myself on a Kalimba and
  • to see a house by the water, which we might make an offer on.

I’ve been planning to write today’s blog post in order to let go of any worrying about all that.

I’m planning on sharing all the photos I took yesterday, without any worrying.

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Are you worrying about what music I’m planning to include here?

If you’re planning on leaving a comment, I’m not worrying about that, either.

I’m always planning to end each post with gratitude to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — no matter what you’re planning today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 932: What do you need?

I was just looking at the five photos I took yesterday, trying to identify a unifying theme.

Do I really need a unifying theme for those photos or for today’s post?

What DO I  need?

I need:

  • Water to drink.

  • Good and reliable transportation.

  • An awareness of the challenges and obstacles ahead.


  • An openness to change.

I also need to breathe and let go of

What do you need, right now?

I need to take my car in to my mechanic this morning, so I need to end this post.

Before I do, here‘s “Agua De Beber,” to go along with that very first need I mentioned above.

And here‘s another song about a different need, not previously mentioned in this needfully short post.

Obviously, I need YouTube.

Do I need a comment from you? I don’t want to seem too needy, but that would be nice.

Finally , I need to thank all the statues, healers, musicians, composers, evolvers,  and  humans  who helped me write this post. I also need to thank you — of course! — for reading it (whether you needed to or not).

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 182: So What?


“So What?” means many things to me.

“So What?” Take One.

“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.)

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

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