I learned an amazing new technique from my massage therapist Tammy recently. No, not yet another way of ironing out my body ‘kinks,’ although she is pure genius when it comes to that. On the contrary, this had nothing to do with massage, and everything to do with life.

Ready? Here goes. Observing her dog one day, Tammy realized the profound significance of a singular command: “Drop it.” Her cute pooch immediately dropped whatever forbidden thing said puppy held tightly in its jaws. No arguing, no defensiveness, no reproach, just – dropped. Tammy started using the same technique on herself. When she had an unwanted thought or feeling, she just said “drop it” to herself.

OMG! Could it really be that easy? Yes! We are perfectly capable of obeying our commands to ourselves. We do it all day long, although often at a subconscious level: “get out of bed NOW” “brush your teeth” “be nice” “quit procrastinating” “Oh, that was stupid, how could I be so stupid?!” “Bad me!” But here’s the thing. “Drop it” requires a measure of determination and willingness few of us master as well as our dogs do. . .

So, easy. Yes, conceptually. The execution, however, aargh. The good news is that anything improves with practice. I’ve found that the more I use “drop it” with myself, the less likely I am to drag around some negative thought or feeling for hours (days?) on end. If nothing else, saying “drop it” to myself increases my awareness that I need to make a change, or else I’m going to keep myself in misery-land. Not my preference.

Do I mutter “I don’t wanna” to myself like a recalcitrant three-year-old on occasion? Of course I do! And yet, more often than not, I then think of Tammy’s wonderful life lesson from her dog, and remind myself that I too can learn to “drop it” on command.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of "Phoenix Rising: Surviving Catastrophic Loss: Fires, Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes" and “The Longevity Secret, How to Live Happy, Healthy & Vibrant Into Your 70s, 80s, 90s and Beyond” (Amazon Kindle) . Visit www.noellenelson.com, https://www.facebook.com/MeetTheAmazings, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson, and listen to her podcast Up! Uplifting, Inspiring, Practical on Spotify, Google Podcasts and on YouTube.