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Do You Wish To Reduce Your Reliance On "Should Have," "Must," And "Ought To"?

Written by: Terés Salmi, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Terés Salmi

Many of us live our lives in a perpetual rush, moving from one task to another. We often view these tasks as energy-draining and can become frustrated, even feeling like victims of life's ongoing demands. This constant busyness can deplete our energy reserves, leaving us with little enthusiasm for enjoyable activities. At times, we might not even understand why we subject ourselves to this relentless cycle.

a photo of a happy woman

The encouraging news is that there are strategies to alter these feelings and thought patterns, and it's possible that you don't need to fulfill all these obligations after all.

I'll discuss various approaches to this issue; the one that resonates most with you is your starting point. Remember, we are all unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Grant yourself the freedom to choose the method that appeals to you the most. Or, if you're the type who wants to experiment with everything, go ahead! There's no compulsion here.

Willingness over obligation

Have you ever felt compelled to do laundry, go grocery shopping, or commute to work, as if you had no alternative? These are often characterized as "shoulds," "musts," "oughts," or "have-to."

You're not alone; one of the ten most common Automatic thoughts* is referred to as "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda." These three words tend to evoke guilt and negative emotions regarding tasks, your past, or your future.

One effective way to shift this perspective is to associate a "willingness to" with your tasks. For instance:

Instead of saying, "I should do the laundry," you could rephrase it as "I am willing to do the laundry because I prefer having clean clothes."

Rather than viewing your commute to work as a "must," consider it as "I am willing to commute to work because it enables me to pursue my chosen profession."

What truly matters to me?

We often act according to the norms, and expectations, of our culture, environment, and habits. Wisch could make it harder to find a willingness to or a sense of purpose in our tasks.

Neenan and Dryden explain in their book Life Coaching, a Cognitive-Behavioural Approach** that is it important that the majority of our daily tasks are important and meaningful for us "This emphasis on what is important to you may smack of selfishness, but we would suggest it more accurately called enlightened self-interest. i.e. you put your own interests and goals first most of the time while putting those of others, particularly significant ones, a close second. Being at your best is more likely to bring out the best in others".

For many of us, it's challenging to discern what truly matters to us. We keep running from one task to another. Fulfilling expectations and Should have, must, ought to. We often fail to stop the relentless cycle long enough to ask ourselves the question, let alone listen to our responses.

Injecting fun into your life

Breaking free from the daily grind can be achieved by engaging in enjoyable activities with loved ones who truly know, love, and appreciate you. Spending a day in the park, sharing laughter over coffee, or any enjoyable activity can disrupt the monotonous cycle of daily tasks. This pause allows you to reconnect with what is most important and meaningful to you, rather than immediately moving on to the next task. It raises your dopamine levels, and slows down the spinning wheel of negative thoughts, and helps you choose what to do next rather than just jump on to the next task.

Planning for fun times is a way to keep in touch with your inner compass and get out of your head for a while. Dopamine also helps your learning skills, memory, attention, and focus, so having fun makes you smarter, and makes it easier to make smarter choices,

Connecting with your heart

Another approach is to connect with your heart.

A way to do this is to pause for 5 minutes and seek solitude if possible. Then close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and focus on your heart. Put your attention in the heart as if you breathing in and out through your heart. Now recall a happy memory (this will open your heart chakra) and send kind thoughts to your heart. Express gratitude to your heart for the love it holds and the love you can feel.

You may even sense your heart responding with feelings of love and joy that spread throughout your body. In this moment, ask yourself: "What is most important and meaningful for me?" This question can be tailored to the present situation, a specific person, the current year, your job, your relationships, or your life as a whole. Then, be still for a moment and await the answer, which may manifest as words, images, feelings, or sounds. It might come instantly or take some time. This practice interrupts the task-driven cycle and aids in discovering what truly matters to you.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these strategies or any personal approaches you have for handling "should-haves," "must-dos," and "ought-tos" that work for you. Can you share more fun activities to break the daily routine?

Feel free to leave a comment on my LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook posts about this article or contact me via email.

Be true, be you!

* The Ten dumbest mistakes smart people make and how to avoid them, Arthur Freeman, Rose DeWolf

**Life Coaching: A Cognitive-Behavioural Approach, Michael Neenan, Windy Dryden

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Terés Salmi Brainz Magazine

Terés Salmi, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Terés Salmi is a Psychological Coach, Intuitive Coach and an author. Terés worked as an engineer and manager before she ended up burning herself out. This forced her to stop and rethink how to live her life going forward. Terés learned from her own change process that science AND spirituality both are big parts in self-management and in developing life skills. Terés possesses degrees in both areas. She has since then dedicated her life to empower people, supporting them in becoming their true self and achieving their aspirations. Terés own company, FreeGrowing, is helping individuals to overcome obstacles in life and strengthening their self-esteem. Her mission: Be true, be you!



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