A remedy for the ‘shoulds’

Research tells me that we think about 60,000 thoughts a day. (Wow, right?)

Confession: Some days I let my life become “shouldy.”

  • I should get to the bank before it closes.
  • I should get gas in the car before the warning light comes on.
  • I should never have lost my temper with him.
  • I should get a bicycle or roller blades or hiking boots or a swim suit so I’ll exercise more.
  • I should spend time meditating to calm my chattering, shrieking monkey mind.

My usual optimistic mood deteriorates and spins toward the dark abyss. My heart races and I feel anxiety clouding my judgment. The committee is my head is shouting to be heard and triggering a headache. The committee is my head is shouting to be heard triggering a headache.

If I don’t do something to change my attitude, I know how this story will end: Depression.

Rather than focus on “shouldy” thoughts, I can choose to push out that limited, negative thinking with positive thoughts of gratitude. That is one of the marvelous advantages of keeping a gratitude journal: to re-read entries before I cover myself with “shouldy” thinking and ruin my day.

heartMy gratitude journal is filled with blessings and unexpected mercies. Reading it fills me with joy.

As my cousin Barbara constantly reminds me: “You are God’s precious child.” (Say those words aloud three times. My experience is, they have an extraordinary power of changing negative attitudes into positives.)

When my day begins to fill with “shoulds,” I remember a quote by Maria Robinson: “Anyone can start today and make a new ending,” so I pause, become grateful for God’s blessings and mercies, and begin again with an attitude of gratitude.