Could, not Should


“I should do this…”

“I should be that…”

How often have “Should” thoughts got you feeling guilty and stressed about something? These kinds of thoughts don’t help us progress toward greater happiness.

Self-critical “Should” based thoughts are inherently negatively framed, usually triggering an equal and opposite emotional resistance to the associated thought/task.

“I should do this, but, why should I? No, I won’t do it just yet because of this new excuse I just made up!”

Should thoughts are like being nagged by some imaginary rule, which no-one responds to well.  Instead, we can reframe them as “Could” thoughts.

The connotations of “Could”, highlights our choice in the matter. The “Could”, empowers the thinker and removes that paralysing emotional resistance that comes with the guilt-ridden “Should” feelings. We can then reinforce “Could” thoughts by considering the consequences of the options available:

“I could do A, and the results are probably similar to X, or I could not do A and the results are more likely Y. Or I could do B…etc.”

Instead of guilt-ridden obligations, we see we have options. 

When we practice identifying thoughts of “Should”, we can start training the mind to step away from the emotional paralysis and objectively consider the options. No guilt, no cyclical emotional confusion, just options and estimated consequences.

We become empowered to make positive, objective decisions to live however we chose to live.

You could do that too.


A Good Way To Think is a happier mindset training community using practical exercises and proven methods like this Happy Idea to empower you and your world live even happier.  Passing on this little “Hi” is a great way to share our mission of making the world an even happier place, one thought at a time thanks for being a part of the community!

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