What I Learned About Communication From a Three Legged Dog

At the park, I watched a three-legged dog lurch full-speed after a tossed ball. Was he worrying about that lost leg? Nope!

What was his secret?

We were both in the park soaking up the sun—well, he was soaking it up, I was covered in sunscreen.  But this dog was breathtakingly alive in the present.  I was ignoring the beauty around me, busy talking myself out of a beautiful day worrying about family and business stuff. He was sniffing the wind, readying ready for the chase. I was mulling over problems.

Could I learn something here about communications? Yes, say the experts.

Communication is not just about sending others messages. It’s about clear communication with yourself.

Here’s how:

  • Be aware of your self-talk: Studies show we mentally loop negative thoughts without knowing it. What you are saying to yourself–at this very moment? Are you telling yourself you are worried or unhappy? Try changing the thought.
  • Notice your communication with your  body: Are you warm, cold? Comfortable? A comfortable body is a less-stressed body.
  • Stay aware of your emotions: Play name that feeling. Are you happy, distracted?  Negative emotions can be interrupted by simply moving around the room. Or laughing. Try watching a funny movie. Or calling a funny friend. Better yet take a funny friend to a funny movie. Hanging out with people helps.
  • Tell yourself to chase your ball. The dog loves to chase balls on three legs–or four. Name three simple actions that make you happy. Now go do one today. It’s tough to be happy and miserable at the same time.

Take a few minutes today to speak kindly to yourself.

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