Just seeing a negative word for ONE second makes us more anxious or depressed!
Ever wonder why you tune out certain people when they speak, even though they seem to be saying a message you would want to hear somewhere else? Chances are, it’s the words they’re using.
Words — those combinations of vowels and consonants — have innate power we can’t help but respond to.
Our words impact our thoughts, our actions, the people around us, and even our future.
They even change our brain chemistry, shifting around the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate stress. Negative words release stress-producing chemicals that impair logic, reason, language processing, and communication.
"... Just seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse, and the more you ruminate on them, the more you can actually damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions. You’ll disrupt your sleep, your appetite, and your ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction."
That amount of power can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 5 ways to take responsibility for what you say, and make a true effort to make your words — and your life! — work for you.
1. Change the script.
Language is a tool. Words are descriptive. They paint pictures, evoke moods, stimulate imagination, inspire, create links, and motivate. We’ve all experienced the uplifting surge of energy after reading a personally meaningful quote or inspirational message.
Because they are powerful, they can also destruct. They can demoralize, discourage, and weaken. Hopefully, you’ve never suffered a verbal attack from someone else — but we practice a form of it on ourselves anytime we use negative self-talk. Thoughts are merely words spoken to ourselves.
Each word spoken carries a degree of influence. Remember that every time you speak or listen, a response is evoked from both sides.
2. Harness the hidden power.
Whatever you want to create in your life begins in your mind. It is then developed by your thoughts (self-talk) and strengthened — or weakened — by the word choices you use when referring to everything relating back to your life. Every single thing you say in some way is a reflection of you — of your character, your beliefs, and your background.
Your words often reveal hidden truths and fears. If you listen carefully you can often see things that weren’t obvious but are now exposed in through a conversation. Watch your words for insights into your true feelings and life lessons.
We’ve learned methods of protecting ourselves with our words, using vocabulary that shows hesitation rather than enthusiasm, mediocrity rather than brilliance. The choice of vocabulary not only expresses you — it reveals you. Choose it deliberately.
3. Choose positive words that affirm the life you want.
We don’t always speak our own truth out of fear. What are you afraid of? Use your words to empower yourself, claim your life and take accountability for making that life happen.
When we are functioning at our best, we think positively, our comments to others reflect it, and our actions follow. We don’t give this any thought. Suppose you’re having a difficult day, though. Doubts creep in, you hesitate… you know the drill. But, you can transform it by replacing your words and watch your actions follow!
4. Replace the mundane with impactful word choices.
Be intentional — improving vocabulary has the result of making it personally meaningful. Words can energize or discourage us, motivate or demoralize us.
Compare “have to, should, need, must” with “get to, want to, looking forward to." Completely different emotional reaction, isn’t there? Personalizing your vocabulary empowers you, commits you to accountability, and motivates you to move forward — all because you’ve chosen different words.
5. Monitor your self-talk.
Accountability entails living consistently in integrity: being congruent with thought, word, and action. Integrity or lack of it, is often revealed by the words we speak.
It starts with how we think. The more carefully and continuously scan what you tell yourself, and replace your thoughts with strong, powerful words — the more you will realize the life you are creating!
By changing your language you literally take control of your life. By simply choosing specific vocabulary you can empower yourself in your life.
Jan L. Bowen is a passionately authentic thought leader who helps clients align their lives so they find more joy and greater connection through articulating and living their purpose. To get Jan’s latest book, "Why Do You Get Up In the Morning? How to Demystify Your Life Purpose," download it now. You will also receive her newsletter, with articles only available by subscription.