Have you thought about the language you use and how it may impact your mental health?
One way we can lower stress and increase our mood is to change the way we talk about events that have impacted us and convey what we are going through. Science shows that catastrophizing language (i.e. This is a disaster! This can never change!) can have a negative impact on our mental health while using positive words can have significant benefits.
Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, book describes their research that words can literally change your brain. Words Can Change Your Brain,
By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action.
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.
Our mind starts to accept and believe what we are saying to ourselves, so positive words are powerful. Using enthusiastic and bright language primes our brain to see the world in a more positive light. This is what I strive to practice daily and what I encourage you to do. Writing the words, speaking out loud and thinking the positive language – every day.
Of course, we cannot ignore problems when they happen, or pretend things are not going the way they should. I simply mean to try and approach difficult or unpleasant situations in a positive way that is productive. In a manner in which you look to remain happy and find solutions when you feel they are needed.
Write down what you are thinking and if not positive change them and while you are doing this you are changing your brain leading to your mental well-being. I do not ever think or say, “poor me, I was abused”, instead my words are, “I was so lucky to have such a caring and loving Mum.”
In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, the authors write that even a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. Love instead of hate, kind instead of nasty, beautiful instead of ugly.
What words can you change?
Please do not get me wrong, I don’t mean to deny your true feelings or mask a challenge. Honouring your experience is incredibly important. I want you to be mindful of the language you are using. For your own mental health and for those around you.
All the positive talk will not change the situation, however, it can and will put things into a healthier perspective and at the same time, it will increase your resilience.
We all have choices on how we see things, we cannot change our past, but we can choose our future.
I certainly have.
Stay strong and let’s grow together remembering kind is a BIG word.