How I Stop “Should-ing” Myself

3 Incredibly Effective Tips for Fast Relief.

Alice Cunningham
2 min readFeb 9, 2021


Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash

Should I really make this the topic for my first blog post? Should I organize my desk before I begin? Should I make that Doctor appointment I’ve been putting off first? Should I stop procrastinating and get ON with it?

Well, should I?

That was my self-talk as I began writing this. You see, my mind operates like a compromised computer screen overrun with annoying personal “pop-ups” that scream SHOULD I?

Just as I’m about to be seduced by a tantalizing tale or a sublime sip of chardonnay at the end of a very long day, it happens: “SHOULD I answer that unknown caller and demand for the hundredth time to be placed on the Do Not Call list or just let it go? SHOULD I finish that project I started last month, or was that last YEAR?”

It’s a vicious cycle, but what can be done?

After much reflection and meditation, I’ve comprised a list of 3 highly effective ways that help me stop “should-ing” myself. If any of this resonates with you, I hope these tips will help you as well.

  1. I breathe deeply and intentionally — inhaling slowly to the count of 8 — holding for another count of 8, then exhaling slowly to the count of 8, and then I repeat this process 3 times. ( I increase the count to 12 if I am “super” should-ing myself or in a very stressful situation) This process slows my monkey mind, clears the cognitive cobwebs, and provides clarity. I no longer need to guess; I know what needs to be done.
  2. I mentally replay how happy I feel when I complete a project or do what I say I’ll do. So, when “SHOULD I order that sweater in a different color or SHOULD I finish this post” -pops up, I close my eyes. I vividly recall the emotional ecstasy I experience when completing a worthwhile task. The imagery and emotion I feel reveal the correct answer -Every. Single. Time.
  3. I take a physical break — stretch my limbs — and when possible, I HUG something — a person, pet, picture of a loved one who’s passed on, the big beautiful oak tree that’s perhaps more than a century old standing strong and secure in my front yard — and I feel the exchange of authentic love — which leads me to know that I’m not going to answer any more SHOULD I questions today.



Alice Cunningham

Creative. Copywriter. Blooming blogger. Breathwork enthusiast. Ghostwriter. Bohemian soul. Creative collaboration inquiries: