GRCS Weekly Social Work Support
April 28, 2020
Dear Parents and Students,
We find ourselves at the end of April, and it finally looks and feels like spring. If last week's weather put you in a bad mood, you're not alone. When it snows in April (as it often does at some point in Michigan), we might find ourselves thinking, "this shouldn't be happening!" As a result, we can feel angry or disappointed because our expectations of warmer temperatures and sunshine is not the reality.
When "shoulds," "musts," "have tos," or "oughts" pop up in your self-talk, you're likely experiencing a cognitive distortion (or thought lie). "SHOULD statements" are a type of cognitive distortion that creates unrealistic expectations or harsh criticisms of what you or someone else should or shouldn't be doing. As a result, we're left feeling unmotivated, defeated, resentful, and upset.
How often have you thought "this shouldn't be happening" throughout off-campus learning? Or "I should be doing more ______," "I must keep up with ______," "I have to do ______ every day," "my family/friends ought to be ______."
Can you see how these statements hurt instead of help?
Instead of putting rigid expectations around yourself or your circumstances during off-campus learning, try the following strategies to counter your should statements:
Quick Tip of the Week: Swap out your SHOULD statements!
- Try to catch yourself when you use a SHOULD statement: Write it down to acknowledge these unproductive thoughts, and help give awareness to reframe your thinking.
- Question your SHOULD statements: Do I feel better or worse by "should-ing" myself or someone else? Would I place the same expectations on my best friend? Is the statement true? Who is setting my should or shouldn't standard?
- Replace your SHOULD statements with an encouraging thought: Using language that is less "should oriented" (such as "I prefer" or "I am going to") can lead to more realistic thinking, positive feelings and even help you be more productive!
- Practice mindfulness: Being in the present moment helps us to cope with negative emotions. Using acceptance rather than placing judgment provides us with a greater sense of control. Here is a collection of guided mindful exercises to help practice!
- Show yourself (and others) compassion: Remember, no one is perfect — and you are not expected to be!
As we approach the last month of school, take comfort in knowing God is walking this journey with you. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."