It’s been scientifically proven that our words affect our psychology!
Did you know that a single positive word can strengthen our brains cognitive functioning?
Did you know that a single negative word can increase the activity in the fear centre of our brain?
Negative words interrupt and shut down our logic and reasoning areas of our brain.
These words don’t even have to be said – even the thought of them impacts us. Pretty powerful stuff if you use it to your advantage.
Recently during one of our business coaching sessions, we spoke about the use of language when talking with direct reports and being cognisant of the words chosen (for example, do you really need to say “I’m so disappointed?” Instead, you might say “I’m feeling under-whelmed”). Your message is still out there however the emotionally intensity has been dampened.
Use this knowledge during your working day as well as with yourself and your loved ones. “How,” you might ask? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Make a list of the emotionally charged words that you normally use.
When I say emotionally charged, this could be in a good or positive sense or a negative or dis-empowering sense. With the positive words, look to ramp up the emotionally intensity and with the negative words, look to soften them.
Here’s an example (we have the one and only Tony Robbins to thank for this list):
A negative expression… transforms to…
Afraid to uncomfortable
Anxious to a little concerned
Confused to curious
Depressed to not on top of it
Disgusted to surprised
Exhausted to recharging
Failure to stumbled
Hurt to bothered
Insulted to misunderstood
Irritated to ruffled
Lonely to available
Good word… great word…
Confident to unstoppable
Curious too fascinated
Determined to unstoppable
Fantastic to fabulous
Feeling good to tremendous
Focused to energised
Glad to over the moon
Good to dynamite
Great to incredible
Loved to adored
Okay to perfect
The list goes on. So what can you come up with?
The words you use shape your destiny.
What will your destiny look like?
Make a conscious effort to make a change for 1 month then re-evaluate and add more words to your list.
You might like to also give the following a try – it goes hand-in-hand with the above.
Have you ever lived with anyone and as you are walking out the door, they call out: “don’t forget the milk/bread.” Or maybe, you have used this phrase on someone. I know I have, I say a few times to myself: “won’t forget the bread”… “won’t forget the milk”. Little did I know back then that I was self-sabotaging!
My brain (and yours) only remembers what it considers the most important information (our brains process 5 ± 2 chunks of information at any one time). It processes out what it considers redundant information. In this statement, it processes out the “don’t” and leaves the message behind that states “forget the XYZ”. We had the right intensions, we wanted to remember but we have inadvertently told ourselves to forget the very thing we wanted to remember. How crazy!
This was a bit of a lightbulb moment when I heard it and ever since you will never hear me saying (to myself or anyone else), “don’t forget the XYZ”. I’ve changed this statement to, “please remember the XYZ.” Give this a go and see what a difference it makes to you and those around you.
The other piece of information that I wanted to share was how we make statements and the emotions that are created because of these statements. If someone says to you: “step outside of your comfort zone” what emotions are brought to the surface with this? Take a moment and write down 5 words/emotions of what this statement means to you.
To some people, stepping outside of their comfort zone is quite scary and to others it’s exciting (and of course we have variants between these two). If this statement excites you and motivates you to take action, then rock on. However, if it stops you in your tracks, what if you changed the statement to “expand my boundaries”? It means the same thing (growth) but softened.
Make a list of 5 words or emotions of what this second statement means to you. For some people, this second statement is more achievable than the first.
Which statement will help to drive you to action?
Use words to your advantage, look for opportunities in the statements that you use to make some small changes that will ultimately have a big impact on your life. If you’re sitting there thinking that you’re happy with where you are right now, think about what you need to do to get to the next level, to continue striving, learning and growing.