Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Unmasking Five Common Cognitive Distortions

A silhouette of a person holding scissors against a wall

A silhouette of a person holding scissors against a wall. Click image to license. © Evan's Studio, 2016.

Cognitive distortions are unhelpful ways of thinking that can make us feel bad about ourselves and others. Identifying these destructive thought patterns is the first step in addressing them. After you have identified your thought as a cognitive distortion, you can work on replacing it with a more rational explanation. Writing down your automatic thoughts, cognitive distortions, and rational responses under three different columns is known as the triple column technique advocated by Dr. David D. Burns.

Five Common Cognitive Distortions

  1. All or Nothing Thinking - you see things in shades of black and white devoid of any nuance. For example, you tell yourself "I am a total loser" after not being promoted.

  2. Overgeneralizing - you conclude that because one bad thing happened to you it will keep happening and it will always be that way. For example, after being rejected for a date, you conclude that you will always be alone and that nobody will ever want to be with you.

  3. Mental Filter - you focus exclusively on a negative detail and filter out the positives. For example, you read about a massacre in the news and conclude that all people are cruel and evil.

  4. Jumping to Conclusions - you make snap judgments that aren't based on facts. For example, you see a friend of yours repetitively yawn during a conversation and conclude that you must be boring them. Instead that friend was up all night and you didn't bother to consider that explanation.

  5. Disqualifying The Positive - you turn positive or neutral experiences into negative ones. For example, after someone says that they like your artwork you tell yourself that they are just being polite and really don't think that way. 
Want to read more? Check out my recent post about five more common cognitive distortions!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

An Effective CBT Technique For Depression Relief

Licensable Stock Image: Shadow of Human Hand on Wall - Reaching Out for Help

A stock photo showing a shadow of a human hand reaching up for help. Click image to license.
© Evan's Studio, 2016

Depression is a serious and complex mental health disorder. There are many different types of depression including:

  • Major Depression 
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) 
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Prenatal and Postpartum Depression

To read a full description of each one of these disorders click here.

This blog post will be about a specific technique that I have developed, which I find useful in controlling the symptoms of depression. The technique is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be effective in treating depression in many studies. CBT helps you refocus your thoughts, which hopefully leads to behavioral and mood changes. The premise is that you can change your behaviors, emotions, and mood if you are able to change the ways that you think. In other words, our emotions, behaviors and thoughts are interconnected and we can train ourselves to learn more helpful thought patterns.

This specific technique is effective because it forces you to focus your thoughts on what you like to do. Writing down and reviewing these activities reinforces these positive thoughts. Mindfully spending more of your time doing the things on this list will help change your mood.

The Evan's Studio Like List Technique

  1. Make a list of things you like to do i.e., cooking, running, walking the dog, sex, watching movies, listening to music etc. 

  2.  Review and add likes to this list every day.

  3. Spend more of your time doing the things on this list.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Caring for Your Money Tree: The Essentials

Stock photo of a money tree available for licensing. It is in direct sunlight with some yellowing of the leaves.
  Stock photo of a money tree available for licensing. It is in direct sunlight with some yellowing of the leaves. Click image to license.
© Evan's Studio

Money trees (Pachira Aquatica) are superstitiously known for bringing you good luck and wealth.  Ensure the ideal environment for your money tree with this brief guide.

Brief Guide: Caring For Your Money Tree

1. Pot and Soil: 

Place the money tree in a well-draining container with multiple drainage holes and a peat moss based potting mix.

2. Light:  

Place in indirect and bright light (the one pictured above has scorched leaves due to being placed in direct sun light.) Avoid direct sun and deep shade. Rotate occasionally for even growth.

3. Watering:  

Water thoroughly every 1-2 weeks and allow the soil to completely dry in between watering. Pour out any excess water from the tray.

4. Temperature and Humidity: 

The ideal temperature range for money plants is between 60°F and 75°F, Money trees enjoy humid conditions, which you can simulate by misting. Be careful not to over-saturate the plants!

5. Pruning: 

Remove yellow, brown, dead, and dying leaves.

6. Fertilizing:  

Fertilize during the spring and summer with balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. Fertilizing isn't necessary in the fall and winter.

7. Re-potting: 

Re-pot when the roots start to overcrowd the container, usually every 2-3 years, and ideally in the spring.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Simple Independent Contractor vs. Employee Determination

A pile of basic landscaping tools, including shovels, rakes, and pots in front of a reserved parking space..

Landscaping supplies in front of a reserved parking space. Click image to license. © Evan's Studio

Independent Contractor vs. Employee Determination

Answer the following questions to determine your employment status:

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Yes No

Note: this is a simple interactive program designed to give you a basic idea of whether you are an employee or independent contractor. Different jurisdictions have different guidelines and employment law is complex. It should not be considered legal advice and it is important to contact a qualified labor attorney if you think that you may have been misclassified.

Sources & Further Reading: