The POWER of WORDS
Let’s play a game.
Think of 3 words that describe your day so far and speak each one of them out loud - if out loud is not an option speak of them clearly and loud enough in your mind.
Take a few seconds to identify and hold on to the images and emotional responses these words generate. Notice your physiological responses.
Now, clear your mind and replace these three words with an alternative 3 words that equally describe your day but offer a more positive emotional and physiological response(s).
For example, change à
Stressful to challenging
Tiring to stamina-building
Busy to eventful
Good to marvellous
Fun to joyful
Be as creative as you wish. You can even invent your very own words if doing so assists in triggering positive outcomes.
Now, take few seconds and pay attention to your thoughts and images generated. Take note of the physical reactions and feelings triggered by these replacement words
It is incredible to experience the difference a simple choice of words can make to our physical and mental state.
The language we chose to communicate with, be it internal dialogue or the vocabulary used to articulate ourselves to others, can have immense impact on the way we experience life, view ourselves and co-exist.
Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman in their book ‘Words can change your brain’, 2014, explain that, ‘By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity.
And as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain. Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with.
A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality.’
We could all most likely benefit from routinely employing this exercise into our daily lives. Such a simple exercise could bring about profound changes for ourselves and for all those we interact with.
I often practice mindful wording, it’s a practice that helps me change my mind-set, especially in times when I need to bolster my resolve or secure a renewed perspective or confidence.
Happy positive ‘wording’ everybody!
*This piece is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother who I fondly remember more for her sweet words than wonderful and mesmerising looks; a lady who truly mastered the art of achieving positivity even in the most challenging of times.