Drop It: Lessons from Dogs on Stress Management

I love this and enjoy seeing this saying making continual rounds through social media. It is amusing, but I think it also offers some practical advice (although I don’t recommend actually peeing on things ūüėÄ ). The lesson I take from this and our dogs is once something is resolved, or it creates negativity or unnecessary stress in your life, drop it!¬† This means removing it from your life and/or to stop worrying about it. This is much easier said than done, so I am going to discuss some ways to help with this.

I started learning about this concept when I first read The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama (it is listed on my GoodReads link and is one I highly recommend). I was going through some challenges while working at an animal shelter and was struggling with the poor choices they were making for the animals. It was an extremely hard time and was taking a toll on my overall well-being, so I began searching for some guidance. I was becoming more negative and emotionally drained and could not pull myself from this. It was impacting my life and I needed something to change me when I found this book. It was a life saver for me.

The whole book is wonderful and has many guiding principles, but let’s first discuss the section on self-created suffering and why this is so important and why we need to learn to ‘drop it’. “All too often we perpetuate our pain, keep it alive, by replaying our hurts over and over again in our minds, magnifying our injustices in the process.” “To a large extent, whether you suffer depends on how you respond to a given situation. …Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.” These are powerful concepts and had a tremendous impact on me. What was I doing that was creating my suffering and what could I do to help myself? I think too often we are trying to change external forces and ignore what we may be doing to create our own problems/suffering.

By not practicing drop it, we are holding onto negative thoughts which creates unnecessary stress and self suffering. However, this is something many of us have done for a majority of our lives so it is a hard habit to break. I started by just taking note of every time I felt negative or upset about something. Was it the result of something that was happening to me or was I creating this feeling on my own? For example, when seeing my neighbour who frustrated me I began to vent about her. This was creating a negative feeling for me and had absolutely no impact on her. It was a moment of self suffering on an issue that had passed and was no longer relevant. I needed to drop it. I had heard from someone about visualizing the act of dropping something. She would picture putting whatever it was in a suitcase, setting it down and removing it from her thoughts. I suggest having some way to acknowledge and visualize the act of dropping something as well, as it proves to also be a reminder for me to keep it out of my mind.

So how does this all apply to business? You do not have time to dwell on the past and you cannot afford to let negativity take over your life. You must learn to drop it. This is also a powerful way to lead by example and demonstrate positive mental thinking to your team. It also helps with conflict. If I need to address a concern and it is taken care of, we don’t talk about it again (unless we are referring to the lesson gained from it). By dropping it, I show my team that we are moving on and I recognize their effort to change.¬† We don’t dwell on the negative past, but rather focus on the positive present.

There are so many lessons to learn from our dogs, and living in the moment is one of them. They are not sitting and stressing about the past, worrying about the future or focusing on negativity. If it doesn’t matter to them, or if it doesn’t affect them positively, they move on. Let’s learn to drop it so we can focus on the good and move forward with the right attitude and perspective to help our businesses and team succeed!

Do you have ways you help yourself to drop it? Are their certain emotions you attribute with self suffering? Share in the comments below!

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