The way we speak has a powerful impact on our ability to be successful and happy yet few of us are intentional with our choice of words. Studies have shown that use of negative words like “no” can actually change the release of hormones and neurotransmitters to ones that damage key structures that regulate your memory, feelings, and emotions. Changing the way we speak to ourselves and to others through making better word choices can impact our optimism and improve the willingness of others to hear what we are saying.
Here are a few tips on how to make your language work for you.
The most powerful word in your vocabulary…YET.
Often we make statements like “I can’t speak French” or “I don’t know how to lose weight” but by adding one little word, yet, to the end of each sentence you change the sentiment from something you cannot do to something you aspire to do. Your brain recognizes the subtle difference between a hopeless statement and one that suggests that at a future time it will happen. Whenever you start something new, remember this helper word to make sentences stronger and more hopeful. For example, “I don’t know anything about economics yet” or “I haven’t run a marathon yet.”
Take BUSY out of your life
The word busy has certainly become a buzzword of this generation. We aspire to be busy as though it proves that we are doing important things and not wasting our lives. Busy implies doing a lot or even struggling to complete all that needs to be done. I suggest replacing busy with productive or full. This simple switch empowers you to have results that you control without implied turbulence. Getting the hurry gone and slowing down mentally actually makes us more effective at multitasking. Don’t have busy days — have productive days!
No more SHOULDs.
The word should doesn’t imply a positive action. It gives external focus as to why you are doing what you are doing. If you want to act from a place of personal strength the impetus needs to come from within. Replacing your shoulds with get to, going to, or can creates a much stronger statement of intention. For example, don’t say you should be studying but that you are going to study. Thinking really carefully about the source of the should is a great exercise. It might be our peers, our parents, our culture or religion that has caused us to think we should do something. If that should doesn’t align with what we really want then is it actually something we want to do?
No more I’ll TRY
Yoda had it right when he said “Do or do not. There is no try.” Try implies that you probably won’t do it or be successful. Take try right out of your vocab to adopt a more positive and powerful mindset. If you intend to do something, do it. If you have no intention of doing something then own that. By speaking your truth you align with your inner-self and actually start to recognize more clearly what you want to do in your life.
Start talking positively (aka no more negative)
When you move towards what you want rather than away from what you want, you speak with a much more powerful voice. Instead of saying “I have to stop dating losers” say ” I will date people who bring out my best”. Instead of saying ” Stop arguing with your brother” say “I would love to hear you speak kindly to one another.
It’s not just what you say but how you say it.
There has been a ton of research about how power postures and body language affect your ability to be heard successfully. Here are a few quick tips on how to speak once you have made your word choices:
1. Make eye contact when you speak.
2. Shoulders back.
3. Hands on hips or at your side.
4. Legs hip distance apart.
5. If seated sit forward with arms and legs uncrossed.
6. Use adequate volume to display authority without being loud.Spending just a bit of time tweaking the way you speak can improve communication at work, at home, and in your personal relationships. Take charge of your word choices to transform your mind.
Have a helpful hint for communicating more effectively- please share it in the comments below.