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My “I Should Be Doing More” Monkey Mindset

Trying to relax | Happy Simple Living blog

Lately I’ve been aware of how often I walk around this beautiful world with a vague shadow that no matter what I am doing or how much I am doing, it’s not right and it’s not enough.

I seem to be accompanied by a little monkey whose mission is to provide ongoing feedback throughout the day, like:


You should be blogging more.

You should be writing more.

You should be reading more.

You should be exercising more.

You should be volunteering more.

You should be calling your friends more.

You should be going out more.

You should be vacuuming more.

You should be organizing your photos better.

You should be eating more fiber.

You should be building your social media platform.

You should be answering your emails faster.

You should be pulling more weeds.

You should be meditating more.

You should be growing more of your own food.

You should be earning more money.

You should be cooking more foods from scratch.

You should be giving your son more educational experiences.

You should be living greener.

You should be getting more involved in the political process.

You should be learning Spanish.

You should be giving more.

You should be doing more.


Last week a dear friend told me that she feels much the same way. She’s an amazing wife and mother to four children, and she said, “I feel like I spend the entirety of every day letting someone or something down.”

Perhaps many of us walk around with this vague sense that we’re never doing enough. “Live in the moment” is a popular quote, but how do we balance that ideal with the external and internal pressures that surround us?

So this morning I seek to quiet my monkey brain. My prayer and meditation is simply this: Help me today to have a more balanced day. Help me to do my best, let my heart be open, and give me insight about what truly matters so that I can let go of all my “shoulds” and feel more at peace.

Do you ever feel this way? For those of you who do, may you experience true purpose and peace today — and may you know just how amazing you are.


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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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16 thoughts on “My “I Should Be Doing More” Monkey Mindset”

  1. Perfect timing, Eliza — I was just emailing a friend about how I “should” start dating again, but would much rather nap and eat chocolate. Right now just accomplishing the basics of life is enough. Thanks so much for the thoughtful post at exactly the right time!

    • Barb,
      Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed this, and Iโ€™m glad you found reassurance to honor your true heart and have this time to care and nurture yourself. Chocolate and naps sound just right!

  2. My problem is that I rush through everything because I feel there is always something that needs to be done next. Last night I caught myself rushing through a project so I could get further along. This takes away from the enjoyment of what you are doing. I don’t have a solution yet, but the first step is admitting the problem right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m guilty of that, too, Lisa…
      “My name is Eliza, and I’m a rushaholic.” ๐Ÿ™‚
      Here’s to slowing down a bit and savoring our moments. I’m pulling for you. xo

    • You, too, Diane? You’re one of the calmest, most centered, most productive people I know — which just goes to show you that the monkey chatters to many of us. Thank you for your kind words. xoxo

  3. Oh, absolutely! There just aren’t enough hours in the day, and somehow, I always feel like I’ve failed in one area or another. It warms my heart to see you taking time for you. I really need to take my own advice. LOL

    • Sue, you are so good at focusing and getting the important things done — and especially setting aside time to be with your husband and family. Tell that little monkey to leave you alone and I will do the same! xoxo

  4. When the monkey tries to jerk me around, I just spank that monkey and call him names like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes. We are wired to do more all the time, it can get exhausting so we should really slow down and just breathe sometime. Nice points!

  5. Oh yes, absolutely. I know that monkey brain all too well!
    As a hospice nurse for many years, I can tell you that I have never heard anyone, at the end of their life, say that they wished they had spent more time working or doing all the things that we think we should be doing and that make us all too busy. What I did hear were words of regret for not spending more time with family and friends. A wise friend shared a bit of advice with me that I try to stop and remember when all the “shoulds” start to pile up. She said “Don’t should on yourself”. Simple yet profound ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lori, “Don’t should on yourself” made me laugh so hard. Your perspective as a hospice nurse caring for end-of-life patients is so profound. Thank you, thank you. xoxo

  6. In mental health, we talk a lot about the “should’s, must’s, and have to’s” that clutter our lives. Some of them are valid rules, but mostly it is stuff we heap on ourselves necessarily. Maybe next time you could ponder “Why should I?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi, wow did you take a look inside my brain! I am a mum to five gorgeous children but I often think I don’t take them enough places or do enough things with them even though we snuggle and read every day, go to the park at least once a week, make cakes together etc. I think now we all have Facebook and similar sites we compare ourselves to every other people much more than our parents used to. Sssh outside influences!


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