happyThe title did not originate with me, but I don’t think it originated with the woman on the Dr. Oz show who talked about this concept a couple weeks ago either, so I feel no particular obligation to attribute it. Titles can’t be copyrighted anyway.

But a good idea is still a good idea, and I appreciated her bringing to the forefront several things I’ve long-known. After all, I studied to be a life coach in 2005-2008, and in the interim, I’ve applied the majority of that learning to my own health and welfare.

I’ve even (briefly) considered having a t-shirt printed with the slogan “Don’t ‘should’ all over yourself” as a reminder that the word “should” automatically makes one feel both guilt and shame.

Saying one “should” do something destroys our sense of well-being. We beat ourselves up for not having done the task already. Saying one “could” do something, gives us back a sense of balance—we have options! As I write this, I’m presented with a tangible and relatable example. There’s a noisy bird bathing in the gutter above my office window.

Saying “I should clean out my gutters,” makes me feel like I’ve dropped the ball in the home maintenance department, but saying “I could clean out my gutters” allows me the flexibility of choosing to do it now or later, without all the guilt.

“Should” makes me feel like I’m not good enough, and it causes me lots more stress.

To combat my stress, I keep a daily Gratitude Journal in which I write down what’s going right in my life. When I am in gratitude, I am happier, and more calm. And calm is good.serenity-2

At my age, I don’t need a rush of excitement to feel good. All I need is the joy of knowing things are going well—or well enough. And if they aren’t, then I “COULD” choose to do something different.

Either way, my Happy is restored!