Sometimes anxiety can become so powerful that it distorts our perception of reality. One of the things that increases stress within us is how we phrase things to ourselves. Many of us have the “I gotta” disease as I call it. We say to ourselves, “ I gotta get this report done by three and have it on Mr. Jameson’s desk.” Then we say, “I gotta rush over to pick up my son by four this afternoon”. This followed by, “Then we gotta grab a quick bite to eat”, followed by, “ And then I’ve gotta get Johnny to Karate practice by six this evening”. (Whew…I’m stress just writing it.) But the old joking truth goes something like this. The only thing we “gotta” do is live, die, and pay taxes.
So what do we say to ourselves if not “I gotta”? I hope this question will help you clarify the actual importance of what you think you “gotta” do.
I suggest you learn three levels of importance and apply them to your various tasks and responsibilities. Level one is “I want to…”. Level two is “I need to…”. And level three is “I (feel like) have to…”. There are few things we really have to do even though we tell ourselves we “gotta”. The reason is that we don’t have control of as much as we would like to think we do. In any one of our tasks we could have an accident and end up in the emergency room at the hospital with a broken leg.
So keep in mind when you feel yourself becoming stressed, tense, and uptight, especially with so many things you “gotta” do, what would happen if you didn’t? Would the Earth move off it’s course? Would the Sun not come up in the morning? There are few things that can’t be corrected or fixed over time. ( A few but not as many as we think)
When you feel yourself getting stressed about so many things you think you have to do, take a deep breath and using this card ask yourself objectively do I want to, need to, or (feel like I) have to do this?
Use these cards to…
- Clarify how you cause some of your own stress
- See your tasks and responsibilities more objectively
- Lessen your stress by reframing things in your mind
- Prioritize the importance of various tasks