Stalked by the Ottas and the Gottas … or …

Is Your To-Do List Bigger Than Your Life?

I feel so stressed, overwhelmed  …  am just too busy …  too much to do … .  feeling panicky …  feel so guilty …  it’s too much … sometimes I just want to give up!      Sound familiar?   Do you stress in this way?

Most of us are stalked by Ottas and Gottas.  The ought-to’s, the shoulds, I really should ….  and also the got-to’s, the musts, I really must …   As a panda, I know what it is to be stalked by predators.  And let me tell you, compared to the Ottas and the Gottas, a lion is small potatoes.

The Os and Gs force us to create a huge and ever expanding To-Do lists filled with items, both conscious and subconscious.  For example:

  • I should /ought-to:   pay my bills, clean the bathroom, call Aunt Beatrice
  • I must / got-to:  take mom to the doctor, lose weight, get more exercise, study harder, take the kids to soccer
  • I should (again):  be smarter, kinder, more generous, sexier, thinner

As a result of this endless set of shoulds, oughts and musts, we wind up feeling overwhelmed, out of time, and always playing catch-up. These feelings, in turn, keep us from sleeping well or make us choose to deprive ourselves of sleep  … to live in a perpetually sleep-deprived state.    And if that isn’t the very definition of stress, I don’t know what is.  We wind up using alcohol to dull the edge of our stress and then caffeine to get us back ‘up’ so that we can have the energy to continue the whole vicious circle.

And sometimes we do have occasional periods of peace when we let go of the Ottas and Gottas and take a break from it all. Often these are forced on us by illness or sheer exhaustion.  But such periods are usually brief.   And before we know it, we’re back in the hamster race again … running the treadmill, racing against time, trying desperately to keep ahead of our shoulds, musts, and ought-to’s … back in Stressville again.

So how to break the circle?  How to get off the treadmill?  Here is a simple process you can use to work with the anxiety and overwhelm that often come with a bad case of the shoulds.  Begin  by clicking on the Part 1 link below to do the first part this process.  When the audio clip ends, click your browser’s back arrow to return to this page.  Then click on the Part 2 link to work with the second audio clip in this process.

Shoulds and Oughts – Part 1.

Shoulds and Oughts – Part 2.


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