Day 276, How Can I Root Out Should Statements?

Day 276, How Can I Root Out Should Statements?

“As you think about your own thought patterns in order to lessen the shoulds, oughts, and musts, beware as well of comments from others (sometimes referred to toxic people) such as “you need to,” “you should,” “you have to…” that can be defeating your peace of mind as well.”

Wednesday Morning

Below, is my progress record for green drinks in May.  My intent is to make and consume a green smoothie at least every other day.  I accomplished that in May.  For more information on how to do this, along with accountability, using JV Life Tracker and The Journal, here is a free copy of my ebook, Joyful Vibrance:  Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood!
Green Smoothies
Start Date:
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
End Date:
Friday, May 31, 2019
Trigger Event:
Intrinsic Rewards:
Weight loss
Hunger satisfaction
Most complete nutrition of any food in my data base
Omega-3 fatty acids
Hair pigments
B Vitamins
Vitamin A, C, K
Other Minerals
Dietary Fiber
Lutein and Zeaxanthin for the eyes
Extrinsic Rewards:
Estrogen cream for better sex
Maca for better libido
Progress Notes:
11 of 18 days so far or 61% – very good
13 of 24 days so far or 54% – still good
14 of 28 days so far or 50% – good
17 of 31 days – 54.8% – quite all right
17 of 31 days – 54.8% – quite all right

Wednesday Afternoon

Today, I have been reading more of Dr. David Burns’ book, Feeling Good.  He claims that if you are depressed, it is because your thinking is distorted.  View life without distortions, and your depression will disappear.  I am going to see if believing him will work for me.
One of the distortions I have experienced a lot is should statements. Should statements are thinking that I or somebody else should do something or be some way.  Even having a set of goals is a type of should statement.  Leo Babauta, a popular blogger, lives his life without setting goals.  He does what feels right to him and is in line with his principles.  His blog has become very successful without goals.
Obviously, with my progress records and JV Life Tracker, I have not gotten away from goals.  I was raised to set goals, and I think I got quite good at it.  However, I do not know that goals always got me where I ultimately wanted to go.  I would lose sight of the big picture and just go after a number or two.  Perhaps one goal I should not set (there I go with should again) is how many blog posts I do per month.  Leo does about seven or eight.  I have been doing about that many lately.  However, I have felt guilty because I thought I should be doing more.
I have a goal of losing weight, but saying I want to lose so many pounds in so many days does not seem to be working for me.  I am already at a normal weight: 54.65 kg for 167 cm.  Losing more weight is kind of a vanity thing.  There is nothing and nobody saying I should lose more–only my blog and my goal from last September.  I have been feeling frustrated about losing weight so slowly, and I already look fine.  If I do not think I do, it is because my thinking is distorted, which is probably why I have had some depression.
I could ask myself what I should do, but that would be defeating myself.  Would I be better off if I were to go with what feels right to do rather than striving for a specific number?  My lifelong conditioning seems to say that would steer me off course.  However, the purpose of being goal-less is to eliminate the guilt from not measuring up to a set of standards that were possibly unrealistic to begin with.  Babauta says, “goals can mask the fact that sometimes we’re not headed in the right direction.”
Here is my set of values or principles, which could also be revised if needed:
Productive creativity
Energetic vibrancy
As a mnemonic to remember this, consider the sentence:
Cold coffee can impose jitteriness not peace to each woman.

What in line with these principles can I do tonight?

I had a great conversation with my niece today.  We are making plans to get my things moved from Utah to Colorado.  She is living in my apartment.  She said she has been reading my blog, which is a huge compliment to me.
I am ready to root out the distortions in my thinking and overcome depression for good.  Maybe it is not that simple, but I did start by memorizing the cognitive distortions.
They are:
All or nothing thinking
Mental filter
Discounting the positive
Jumping to conclusions
a. Mind reading
b. Fortune telling
Magnification or minimization
Emotional reasoning
Should statements
Labeling or miss-labeling
Personalization or blaming

Cognitive Distortions in Grief

I got caught in personalization during my father’s illness before his death.  As a health coach, I felt personally responsible for figuring out what diet and supplements would reverse his Alzheimer’s.  I found some information and shared it with Mom.  She was not interested.  I also felt personally responsible for not being able to convince her to listen to me.
Now I realize that I was not personally responsible for getting my father well.  Whether anything could have been done, I do not know, but it was not my responsibility.
Emotional reasoning
Another distortion was emotional reasoning.  Since I felt depressed when I went to see my father in a care center, I assumed he would get depressed from seeing me.  Since he did seem a bit depressed, I did not correct my hypothesis.  However, I think I correctly discovered that he was happier visiting me when I went with a group, so I did that as often as I could.
Should statements
I got caught in should statements because I initially set a goal to visit my father twice a week, and when my emotional situation made that nearly impossible, I felt guilty and reprimanded myself into a depression, making it even more difficult to see him.
Discounting the positive
Another distortion was discounting the positive.  I did not see that my visits were good for my father, nor did I see how much his great personality was shining through the illness.  However, the staff enjoyed his personality, and he was a favorite there.  My uncle who visited him every week said, “I don’t know that I did any good.”  He discounted the positive as well; it was clear even to me that my father loved spending time with his brother.
Fortunately, right after my father died, I did not feel depression.  I had already gone through most of the grieving process.  However, now that I am reviewing these cognitive distortions, I see how I got caught in several of them.  I kind of wish I could do it over again, but to be realistic, I did okay.  Having a parent with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is a tough thing to go through.  To say, “I should have handled it better,” is a distortion itself.
Now that I have worked through that, I feel a little freer, a little happier.  Grief and depression have many of the same symptoms.  It is possible that grieving actually does cause depression in many people.  Maybe by rooting out cognitive distortions and straightening out our thinking, the grieving process can be made lighter.
I felt some grief over the passing of my sister last month.  Part of it was guilt over not responding to her when she wrote me, asking me to send her some cash in the mail.  I could feel like I should have, but that will do me no good now.

Thursday Morning


Getting Outside

I took my husband out on the ramp and sidewalk the other day when it was slightly cool, and a breeze was blowing.  The spring growth of the tree leaves and pampas grass around the condo buildings was green and fresh.  It smelled good too.  My husband kept saying it was beautiful and how he loved the fresh air.  I was happy to finally get him out of the condo.  Pushing his transport chair up the hills and ramp strengthened my muscles.

Seeing a Chiropractor

Today is another beautiful day.  I am visiting the chiropractor for the first time since living in Colorado.  Yesterday, I decided to live by values rather than specific goals.  I decided to relinquish my goal of losing a certain number of pounds.  Surprisingly, I lost quite a bit of weight last night, even though my calories were high yesterday.  I think if I set my sight on my value of energetic vibrancy, my weight will take care of itself.  I had a green smoothie yesterday, which probably increased my energetic vibrancy.
Going to a new medical facility today is going to involve some courage.  It may lead to more energetic vibrancy as well.  

Friday Morning


Dysfunctional Thoughts

The chiropractor found far more wrong with my body than I anticipated.  He may or may not be able to help me.  He will tell me more on Monday when I see him again.  Below, is a daily record of dysfunctional thoughts as I am trying to process some of the things he told me.  My “rational” responses may not be 100% knowledgeable.  There is still more I need to learn.
Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts
Briefly describe the actual event leading to the unpleasant mood.
1. Specify sad/anxious/angry, etc.
2. Rate degree of emotion 1-100%.
Automatic Thoughts
Write the automatic thought(s) that accompany the emotions(s).
Cognitive Distortions
Identify the distortion(s) present in each automatic thought.
Rational Response
Write rational response(s) to the automatic thoughts.
Specify and rate subsequent emotions, 0-100%.
The chiropractor told me I had osteoporosis.  I learned on the Internet that Risperdal increases the chances of osteoporosis.
Angry – 60%
Depressed 70%
Sad – 100%
No one told me Risperdal could do that!
That’s implying someone should have told me.
Should statements.
I have many other risk factors for osteoporosis.  Risperdal may not have done it.
The chiropractor could be wrong.
Angry – 59%
Depressed – 30%
Sad – 10%
The chiropractor told me I had osteoporosis.
I should have taken bioidentical hormones when my doctor prescribed them.
Should statements
I could not afford them.
Those hormones may have prevented this, maybe not.  They could have caused other problems.
I have a book on bones.  I can finish it.
Depressed – 10%
Sad – 40%
Years ago, I turned down Medicare Part D.  Now I have to pay a penalty to get it.
Sad – 70%
Angry – 70%
I should have accepted Part D.  Now I cannot afford my medication.
Should statements
Years ago the insurance was more expensive than the medication.
The penalty might be worth it now.
Maybe I can afford my medication now.
I could possibly use my husband’s insurance, even though I may have to wait until next year to start.
Hopeful 20%
The chiropractor told me I had osteoporosis and numerous subluxations in my spine.
This did not change my emotion much.  I kind of expected it.
It’s too late to do anything.
All or nothing thinking.
The body has a huge innate ability to heal.
Hopeful 10%
The chiropractor said he did not take Medicare, and he might not be able to help me.
Sad – 100%
Anxious – 90%
Angry – 10%
Nothing can be done for me!
The chiropractor will not even treat me.
All or nothing thinking
Fortune telling
He said he would reduce the cost if I paid out of pocket.
I do have some money.
Hopeful 40%


afternoon Prayer
Dear Lord,
Bless my body to heal.  The human body is so complex. No one understands it entirely.  I am concerned that the medical system is so fragmented.
I can take a pill for my mental health, and it can hurt my bones, and my doctor will not even be alert to it.
I have been concerned about Risperdal in a number of ways, including in my recent post, where I wrote about its potential for causing pituitary tumors, which can damage the optic nerve and cause blindness.
I need to talk to a professional about Risperdal.  It was probably tested for a few weeks in a drug trial and approved.  No one mentioned what would happen to me if I took it for 20 years, as I have done.
In Recovering Sanity, Dr. Edward Podvoll describes a method of treatment that involves getting psychotic patients off their antipsychotic medicines.  I thought that would be too risky for me.  However,
the risk of staying on my medication is great too.  Fortunately, I was able to reduce my dose lately, though I suspect that even that amount could still have these adverse effects.
At this point, I am not going to commit to staying on Risperdal forever, and I am not going to commit to going off of it.  I want to learn more and see what my options are.  Seeing a lawyer may be even more informative than seeing a doctor.
Lord, I am happy my marriage is going so well.  I am also appreciative of Dr. David Burns’ work.  I am rooting out cognitive distortions and freeing myself from believing depressing thoughts.
As an experiment, I am focusing on my values rather than goals.  I have not had enough time to evaluate if that approach will work for me.  I could set a goal to evaluate it by a certain date.  However, that would defeat what I am doing.
Lord, bless my readers to live by their own values.  Help them to choose beliefs that will bring about in them what they value.
If you would like to join me in this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.
KaeLyn Morrill



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