Have you ever been sitting on the couch watching a movie and thinking of all the things you “should” be doing instead? I should be cleaning; I should be out with friends; I should be doing something productive. It may not even be while watching a movie, you could be doing anything and the shoulds could creep into your mind. My therapist put it perfectly when he said, “You’re shoulding all over yourself.” You can give yourself permission to relax sometimes and take a break from all the shoulding. In my experience, the word “should” only adds to my anxiety. There is a time and a place for should; like maybe you shouldn’t steal that candy bar, or you shouldn’t go shoot somebody. Those are pretty obvious I think, but it’s when should and shouldn’t become detrimental to your everyday functioning that a reevaluation of your thoughts may be in order. With me, I’m often thinking that I should be cleaning or I should be in the garden (which admittedly I have been neglecting this year) and find it difficult to stop and relax.
It’s ok to have time to do nothing. This is a concept that is difficult for me. In order to sit and “relax” I end up playing on my phone trying to ignore all the worried and suicidal thoughts that race through my brain. I’d like to be able to sit and listen to music and simply relax and I have been trying to practice this when I can. I need to be kind to myself and ignore some of the shoulding that goes on. Stay positive and be kind!