Are you leaping out of bed in the morning, excited about doing your gratitude practice?
Or are you dragging yourself to it, because you feel you ‘ought to’ or ‘have to’ do it?
If it’s the first option, then that’s great! Maybe you could pop by the forum and see if anyone needs some encouragement and moral support?
But if you’re in the ‘should’ and ‘have to’ zone (I know we’ve touched on this before, but it’s really vital to your gratitude success to sort this one, so I’m back! 🙂 ), then you could be suffering from ‘should-itis’.
Does your gratitude have a case of ‘should-itis’?
It’s often an early warning sign that you’re following your head, rather than your heart. And chances are that it will be impacting much more than just your gratitude practice.
Common symptoms include:
- With a mild case of should-itus, there’s just a general feeling of dis-ease. You’re generally ok and happy, but you’re aware that something is missing.
- As should-itus progresses, the symptoms get stronger. The sense of dis-ease increases and the knowing that something is missing gets stronger.
- Then we squash it with avoidance tactics – and eventually addictive behaviours. These range from “little” things like sugar, chocolate, caffeine or Facebook 🙂 to narcotics, exercise addictions and other behaviours that can destroy our self-esteem and relationships.
‘Should-itis’ is a modern epidemic. We fool ourselves into thinking that we ‘have to’, ‘ought to’ and ‘must’. But it’s all in our minds. It’s not real. The Truth is that we can always ‘choose to’ and could even ‘want to’, no matter which task is at hand. And that’s the key to freedom.
You’ll spot ‘should-itis’ in the way you talk to yourself; in the language you use:
I have to…
I ought to…
Where’s the choice and freedom in that?
What’s the point in experimenting with gratitude practices, if we’re forcing ourselves to do it?
You’ll end up training your mind to feel trapped. You’re letting your ‘should’ and ‘have to’ steal your freedom.
But what’s the answer?
It is as simple as flicking a switch, to make that shift. I have lost count of the number of times I have used this technique with clients and it works every time – if they choose it to!
Here’s the secret:
Swap your ‘should’, ‘have to’, ‘must’ and ‘ought’ for ‘choose to’.
Try it out now – even with something mundane!
“I have to do the laundry.”
“I choose to do the laundry.”
Which one feels better?
Now try it out on thinking about your gratitude practice today:
“I have to do my gratitude practice.”
“I choose to do my gratitude practice.”
Which one feels better?
And, over time, “I choose to” will grow into “I want to” and, before you realise it, you’ll just be doing it, without having to talk about it first 🙂
How about really diving into your gratitude practice today?
And if you’d like to share how you’ve been playing with ‘should-itis’, we’re talking about it over at the forum now.
Week 3 Gratitude Project & Useful Links
Mindful Breathing – With Gratitude
Here’s a transcript of the meditation:
The Gratitude Breath Meditation
Start by sitting with your back fairly straight. Imagine a thread pulling through the crown of your head, gently lengthening your spine, allowing a space to form between each vetebra. You’re not looking for ramrod straight; you’re looking for gentle, natural curves, with a relaxed stretch. And as that thread draws up through the crown of your head, gently lengthening the lumbar spine, all the way up to the thoracic spine, and the neck… tucking the chin under slightly, to elongate the back of the neck and release any tension… Then we’ll start with three deep sighing breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, with an ‘ahh’ sound.
3 sighing breaths.
Feeling the tension melting away…
For the next few moments, I’d like you just to let your awareness – focus – your attention – rest on your breathing; accepting your breathing and not trying to change it in any way…
And if your mind wanders, how about giving it a job? Bringing your awareness back to your breath… and this time, as you breathe in, consciously choosing to think: Thank you for my life-giving breath; and as you breathe out: Thank you for my life-giving breath…
And for the next few moments, I invite you to really connect with the organs and the muscles and other bits and bobs in the body that allow you to breathe; and as you breathe in and out, saying a silent ‘thank you’ to your diaphragm… to your lungs… all of the muscles and the tendons… and everything else that allows you to breathe… whether breathing is effortless for you… or whether sometimes it’s more of a challenge… Thank you diaphragm… Thank you lungs… Thank you body… Thank you breath…
And allow that sense of gratitude to grow… as your breath fills your body with life-giving energy… and the out-breath carries away the old by-products and toxins… allow that thank you to flow through every oxygenated cell in your body…
And when you’re ready… it’s time to release today’s practice… making sure your feet are flat on the ground, imagine you’re growing roots from the soles of your feet, deep into the earth… and these roots are connecting you with the earth beneath you… breathing in from the earth… breathing out into the earth… and you might see those roots; you might feel them physically; you might even hear them as they grow… and when you have a strong sense of those roots, anchoring you into the earth, take a deep sighing breath… a little stretch, keeping your eyes gently closed… rubbing the palms of your hands together, creating some warmth… and when you can feel that warmth, cupping that warmth over your gently closed eyes… opening your eyes behind those hands and gently spreading your fingers, to let the light in, bit by bit… rubbing your face… a good stretch and a good yawn! Thank you… That’s your “Thank you breath” meditation. I wish you a wonderful day!
When you have had a chance to play with the week three Gratitude Project, please remember to pop by the forum and share your experiences: Week 3 Discussion Thread