Dr. Noelle Nelson


“Don’t get your knickers in a twist” is one of my favorite sayings. To myself, sigh. Because frankly, I find myself too often getting my proverbial “knickers” all twisted up over something that’s just not that big a deal. My passionate hobby is dance. Ballroom, to be specific. The other day, I dropped down too quickly into a dance curtsey, whereupon my right knee went “Whoa! Don’t like this!!” As in “Ouch, owie, don’t do it again.” So of course, I didn’t.

But then, here comes the knicker-twisting: “That’s it, I won’t be able to perform this dance ever, I’m a dance failure, my knee is ruined,” and on and on. Completely ignoring the fact that if you’re a dancer, I don’t care how young/old you are, pain is part of the journey (oh joy). Completely ignoring that my body is amazingly resilient, that I have resources and help with which to heal, and that a little rest-ice-compression therapy goes a long way. 

Eventually, I calmed down, untwisted my by now well-knotted-up mental “knickers” and put my mind and body in recovery mode. A couple of days later, my knee was doing just fine.

Yours may not be a dance journey, or a particularly physically focused one, but we all have those moments where we make more of something not-that-catastrophic and/or easily remedied. So yes, Sam/Samantha got that promotion at work that you wanted. Yes, it’s disappointing. Yes, you’re upset. No, it’s not the end of the world. You can have a go at another promotion. The more quickly you untwist your “Why them?! Why not me?” knickers, the more quickly you can get yourself on a path to that promotion.

Yes, you are sneezing, coughing and you feel yucky all over. You’re miserable. What if it’s COVID? What if you can’t go to work for 2 weeks? What if it’s worse? Who knows what’s going around these days? There go your knickers, twisty-twisty. Settle yourself down! Get yourself tested, go to urgent care if that feels like a good idea, call your physician, but for heaven’s sake, let go of your mental torment immediately. Mental anguish will only exacerbate whatever is going on with you. Mental calm is what allows the natural innate healing process of your body to take hold. Mental calm is how you can make rational decisions like calling your physician, for example.

No matter what the issue is, your distress and upset only make it worse. Untwist your knickers! You’ll feel better and do better every time.

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