Shoulds Definition | Psychology Glossary

In psychology, shoulds is defined by the common thinking pattern of “I should be XYZ.” This unrealistic cognitive framework can often lead people to be easily upset, disappointed, or even prone to depression when things don’t go exactly as their expectations deem fit. Not only can it be characterized by other people disappointing the person with this way of thinking, but it can also lead to a constant feeling of never being good enough.

A few examples of the mindset of shoulds:

“I should be going to the gym more.”

“I should be eating better.”

“I should have woken up earlier.”

“I should be doing more work instead of playing a game while taking a short break to write this glossary article about the term shoulds.”