Have you ever told yourself that you couldn’t do something, and then you tried to do it and failed?
Have you ever told yourself that you could do something and, even though your odds of success were low, you succeeded anyway?
Almost everyone can think of an example of each of these situations in their own lives and if they can’t, they can surely find examples in the lives of their friends or family. So why is it that things work out in our favor sometimes….and sometimes not-so-much?
Words Affect You Physically
There are various theories and schools of thought on this matter. In the book, Words Can Change Your Brain, Dr. Andrew Newberg and his co-author, Mark Robert Waldman, argue that words can physiologically alter a person’s brain activities. They state that positive and negative words have opposite effects on the human brain.
Positive words activate the motivational centers of the brain while negative words trigger the fear center of your brain to act. This finding is just one more reason to avoid using negative words when setting your goals. Phrases like, “because my blog is so lame, I want to work on it this year” actually ends up being counterproductive for the person setting the goal of wanting a better blog. Revise it to say “I have a lot to offer to my blog readers so I’m going to work hard this year to bring it to them.”
Many people don’t consider words having any physiological effects on a person’s body, but they still believe that they can lift you up or bring you down. For example, if a person is told that they’re stupid for a period of time, they will usually begin to feel dumb and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. So many times you’ll hear people using negative words for the sole purpose of causing another pain. These words usually have the desired effect and cause the other person to suffer emotionally.
And sometimes, those wounds never heal.
On the flipside, words can be an amazing motivator, work to build someone up and accelerate the process of reaching success.
Use Your Words to Power the Good
Many people have tapped into the power of positive words by using them in their personal affirmations and self-talk, as well as their conversations with others. They use positive words and thoughts to encourage success and the achievement of their goals. This is an important thing to consider, since every person’s brain is hardwired to respond the same way to verbal and printed communications.
Like my mom used to say,
“Compliments don’t cost money. Give them freely.“
Never forget that you can use your words to tear down or build up another person. You can also use your words to tear down or build up yourself. Speaking positive words and statements aloud is important, but even just thinking them has positive effects as well.
With this in mind, remember to choose your words carefully based on the result that you are trying to receive. It doesn’t matter if the change you’re looking for is in yourself or someone else. Replace negative self-talk with positive terms and avoid the “becauses” and the “maybes,” when forming our positive and motivating goals.
Be mindful that the words you use matter. It matters to ourselves and it matters to those around us. Remember the old saying “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” and you will harness the magical power of words to transform positively rather than negatively.