Watch Your Mouth

Words have the power to change your opinions, change your results, and even change your brain.

It’s true: The words we use have the power to change our brain. Expressions of encouragement, like “great,” “beautiful,” and “love,” actually promote cognitive function in the brain by strengthening the frontal lobe.

Consider the various terms and phrases that we use on a daily basis that may be negative vs. positive, like “You’re an idiot.” vs. “I appreciate your sense of humor.” Or, how about one word at a time, like “hate” vs. “love,” “kill” vs. “heal,” and “ugly” vs. “lovely?”

These may be obvious when spelled out like this, but it’s amazing how many times a day we absentmindedly use negative terms to describe ourselves and our situations rather than positive ones.

Hostile language can disrupt the genes that help protect our bodies from stress hormones. A single negative word can set off a series of hormone releases and brain function interrupters.  

I know that there are times when I am around too much negativity, and I begin to feel it physically. I either get agitated and want to fight back or more often, I just sink within myself and show no emotion.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there is a good reason for disagreement or debate. That’s not what I’m referring to, but it is possible to debate without using harsh or critical words.

Being acutely aware of the words that you use will not only change the way others perceive your intentions but it will also change the way you feel and view the world.

Taking a positive stance and using positive phrasing can bring a positive emotion to a real-life obstacle and help create solutions.

“I’m so frustrated.” vs. “I could use some help finding solutions.” (Face it, nobody wants to hear you whine and complain. But you don’t want to lie, right?)

“Why are you always messing that up?” vs. “How can I help you with that?”

Even more important than how you talk to others, though, is how you speak to yourself.

“I screwed that up again.” vs. “How can I prevent that from happening again?”

“I’m always one step behind.” vs. “I know that even the best started somewhere.”

I challenge you this week to choose every word carefully, those that you speak out loud and those that are your inner monologue. Pay attention. Make adjustments as needed. After all, isn’t that what this life is about?

What are some of the negative words or phrases that you use? Extra credit for including what you can replace it with!

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