Think of a time recently when you have said you should so something. How would that same statement sound if should was replaced by could? By shifting this single word, we can shift a barrage of emotion attached to the thought.
Should has a connotation of expectation and can imply the perspective of others; we can be doing things because we think this would meet societal norms. When we don't follow through with a should task we can find ourselves berating ourselves.
By making a single change of one letter we can completely change the meaning of our thoughts. Substituting could for should turns our thoughts into choices. We can choose what we REALLY want to do rather than what we think we should be doing.
Example: I should wake up and go for a run in the morning.
Instead: I could wake up in the morning and go for a run. Let's see where the morning takes me as it could end up with a beach walk instead.
With the should go for a run scenario, it's highly likely I will feel guilt, frustration and cascade into plenty of negative self talk if I have placed the emphasis on should.
It's a simple change but one that we can catch ourselves in our self-talk and try using the could word instead!
* Over the course of the day, listen to any should statements and try replacing them with could.