Trading “Shoulds” for “Coulds”

It’s time to say no to autopilot “shoulds”. If I can rephrase the “should” thoughts into “could” thoughts, I will open up my options and can see the “suggestion” in light of my existing priorities.

“Shoulds are hard to eradicate, since their origin and function is actually adaptive. They are simple rules to live by that have worked in the past. They are templates for survival that you can access quickly in times of stress. The problem is that they become so automatic that you don’t have time to analyze them, and so rigid that you can’t modify them to fit changing situations.
Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of your Moods & Your Life — by McKay, Davis and Fanning, p. 19

I have finite time and emotional energy. Why waste them on autopilot when I have all this freedom to choose?!