It is every person’s right to be free. But most people living in a typical civilized society are not exactly free. Sure, we have the freedoms of speech and religion and all that, but most are still slaving away for minimum wage at a hated job. You wake up too early, work too long, and don’t do nearly as many things as you desire to do, and bed time comes too soon. The days go by too quickly. You are left salivating like a dog whose owner forgot to feed. Laying in bed at night, probably having difficulty getting to sleep, what do your thoughts consist of? Things that needed to be done, bills that should get paid, chores that should have gotten done that day? Think about this. Are most of your thoughts full of “should”? Well you should never say or think that word again.
When you think in “shoulds,” your thoughts become what other people expect you to do. Some of these are important (obviously you should pay your mortgage, or risk losing the house), but others are just dragging you down and creating excess stress. I want you to write down the shoulds you think the most during the day and circle the ones you must or need to do to sustain a living, such as work or pay important bills.
Now that we’ve excluded the needs, what remains? Chores that can be delegated? Mindless office tasks or functions? Things you’ve said “yes” to but now regret? Find ways to delegate or get rid of these things. They are just adding extra stress to your life. More importantly, in the future, don’t think about what you should do, for others. Think about what you could do, and you begin to put yourself into perspective in your own life. This isn’t being selfish, this is taking care of the most important person in your life – you. By all means help others and do your part in chores and other things, but not if you are overwhelmed and hyper-extended. Balance yourself with the shoulds and coulds, and most of all, only do the shoulds unless you want to.
The positive is to replace these things that you COULD do now. You’ve just freed up more time to do stuff you COULD do to improve yourself. You will also minimize the stress that you have left by taking care of other parts of your life.
- could you exercise for 15-20 minutes?
- could you prepare healthier meals?
- could you spend more time with family and friends?
- could you read a book and spend time with yourself?
- could you work on a special goal just for you?