The 12 Thrive Days of Christmas – 8 – Language
A series of 12 brief articles, published daily from 25th December to 5th January (The traditional 12 days of Christmas) Today, the importance of your language.
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Mind Your Language!
The language we use is a window through which we can easily recognise our thoughts and beliefs. On day 3 we looked at our inner voices but now we will expand on this to embrace our vocalisation. As we look at language take a while to reflect on how yours points towards the thinking styles we talked about yesterday.
The words nwe use (to ourselves and others) show us what we believe. This is particularly important when our thoughts and beliefs have become almost implicit! But this is not a one way street – our language also impacts upon our beliefs.
Speaking negatively lowers your mood, increases stress, lowers self esteem and increases social anxiety. This leads to a feeling of powerlessness and contributes to an external sense of power and control.
If you speak positively you feel more powerful, less stresses and less anxious, increasing your internal sense of power and control.
In the following examples I have amended negative phrases to a more helpful, positive style:
“I couldn’t do that” is changed to “I can do anything I put my mind to”
“This is too much for me to cope with” is changed to “I have the strength to deal with this”
“I should be able to do this by now” is changes to “I’m getting better at this day by day”
Give it a moments thought and I am sure you can think of many other examples. Why not make a note of them?
Active and passive language.
Another very important factor in the language we use, is whether it is ‘Active’ of ‘Passive’.
Active language is positive, empowering and all about taking control. This helps build an internal sense of power and control by taking responsibility for your actions and thinking.
Active language sometimes needs you to focus on a negative thought, with the sole intention of making it more internal. It is an recognition that We create negatives in our life – they don’t happen to us. It is easier to explain this with a few examples.
‘My life is shit’ becomes ‘I am making my life shit’
‘I’ve always been like this’ becomes ‘I’ve always allowed myself to be like this’
‘I was ok, then the feelings swamped me’ becomes ‘I felt bad when I started brooding about things’
You will see that the most obvious characteristic of the revised, active, phrase id that you are acknowledging and accepting responsibility. This is a big step along the path of change!
Mean what you say.
As a general rule, when it comes to your use of language, mean what you say. It is highly unlikely that you are starving rather than hungry. Are you really tormented by your partners snoring or just disturbed by it?
The use of extreme or catastrophic language may initially appear to be a great way of highlighting something. It is, however, exaggerated and harmful. If, for example, you constantly moan about aches and pains you will bring your own mood down and run the risk of being ignored if you are really ill.
Every time you use dramatic, catastrophic, or medicalised terns to describe how you are feeling, you increase your stress and anxiety. Your increased anxiety could then make your symptoms (or your ability to fight them) worse.
Some ‘golden’ rules:
1 Mind Your Language – recognise the affect the words and phrases you use have on yourself and others
2. Use positive words and phrases – if you find yourself being negative, change it!
3. Change passive language to active.
4. Set yourself a positive focus for your day every morning – decide what sort of day you want, and what you want to achieve, and go for it!
The thought you have and the language you use play a big part in the life you live. By paying attention to the pitfalls of language you really can learn to thrive.
The Thrive Programme provides in depth information and guidance on the use of language and how to reverse your bad habits.
Tomorrow we will discuss Stress and Anxiety and how to overcome these problems with Thrive With Ian
Ian Crosswell – Thrive With Ian