Say these words and happiness is soon to come.
We all know that words can hurt.
The old adage, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me," is hopeful at best and rarely is true. No matter how hard you try to erase a cruel joke, a put-down, or even a harsh criticism masquerading as a well-meaning suggestion, words can cause real damage.
The meanings we attribute to what others say about us, and to what we say about ourselves, build up over time and hold us back from the life experiences we want (and deserve). Self-esteem can plummet and resentment and distance can develop between two people all because of the words that are used in everyday conversations.
Choosing your words carefully, especially when you're stressed out, tired, feeling unwell, distracted, or any time at all, is oh so important. Healthy communication, both between you and you and also between you and your partner, is a cornerstone of a happy relationship and life.
What's sometimes overlooked is that the flip side is also true about communication. Not only can words be used in emotionally damaging ways, they can also be used to intentionally create, sustain, and enhance the amazing relationship and life you want.
The tricky thing is this, according to experts Mark Waldman and Dr. Andrew Newberg, it takes repetition and a conscious effort to positively influence the brain with positive words.
While studies showed a quick and unpleasant effect on the brain from negative words (like "NO," for example), the effects of positive words don't seem to be as immediate or dramatic. Warm, cuddly, and appreciative words don't set off a similar set of instant neurochemicals as happens with the alarms that cause stress, anxiety, depression, and more, that result from critical or hateful words.
That doesn't, of course, mean that it's pointless to include supportive and kind words in your talk to yourself and to those you are in relationships with. Researchers have documented that, when positive words are used on a regular basis, the motivational centers of the brain are stimulated and this also helps build up resilience upon which we can lean when challenges arise.
Positive words feel good and they are good for us in the long-term too!
The reminder here is to make sure you're incorporating uplifting, loving, and truly helpful words into your daily vocabulary as you talk to yourself and to your partner. The advice from the experts is to speak positive words slowly, clearly, and-- most important of all-- because you genuinely mean them.
Make it your daily goal to speak positive words every day and here are 5 essential positive words to get you started:
The danger of this seemingly positive word is that if you habitually say "Yes" when you really feel "No," you negate its beneficial and expansive power. Be honest with yourself and explore both your internal "No" reaction and also the pressure to automatically say "Yes." Invite yourself to find genuine ways to say "Yes," even if you're not agreeing to every request that comes your way.
This is a seemingly neutral word that can be surprisingly positive when used in particular ways. Too often, we tend to think in either/or terms. This is particularly the case when disagreements arise in relationships, but it happens internally too. Search for the "and" in the conversations you have, both the easy ones and difficult too. For instance, "I love you and I want us to work on this problem together."
3. Thank you
Gratitude words like, "Thank you," "I appreciate you, " and "I'm grateful for___" are some of the most power-packed phrases to make a habit of including in your everyday vocabulary. Be specific when you express appreciation to show that you really are paying attention to the "little" gestures and the incremental improvements you see.
If you're ever at a loss for something positive to say when your partner is mad, sad, or seems down, ask the question, "How can I help support you?" You can't fix a bad situation for the one you love, but you can let him or her know you're here and ready to do what you can. As silly as it may sound, this is also a question you can ask yourself when you're going through a tough time. The sense of being supported in a meaningful way is one of the most feel-good feelings there is.
Regularly talk about connection with your partner. Observe, and if you're unsure ask, what enhances connection in your relationship (and what doesn't). Connection is all about the everyday words and actions that keep us close and let us know we're on the same "team." Why not make connection not just a goal in your relationship, but also a topic of conversation?
Three more words to be sure to include in your talk, actions, and attitude are these: "love," "respect," and "presence." Let your partner know how much you truly love and respect him or her and show that by being focused and present when you two are communicating with each other or just silently spending time together.