The Psychological Impact of Our Words

Words. We use them everyday. They allow us to express our thoughts, have a conversation with our friends, and even write a letter to someone. But words have another significant purpose. And they relate to our emotions.

The words that we use have a psychological effect on how we feel and behave. A lot of research into how we process our words backs this up. The sum of this research shows that our brains can distinguish both our positive and negative language from other forms of our vocabulary. which it then uses to give meaning to our emotions, how we feel, the quality of our relationships, and our overall sense of self. As Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman suggest, "a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress."

This is significant, especially for those who have been dealing with difficult feelings. The boy who suffers from low self-esteem. The woman who stays in an abusive relationship. The employee who remains stuck in a job she dislikes. The girl who obsesses with her appearance yet never feels good about herself. These are just some of hundreds of examples.

I believe that we get confused between our inner and external worlds. Through a highly complex system of neurons and chemistry, our brains change how we feel. Our unconscious defence mechanism have a way of rationalising this internal change in mood as a product of outside influences. But we fail to see how what we say to ourselves directly affects how we feel. This is perpetuated when it stems from a behaviour learnt and reinforced over many years.

We can't at all times control our external world. Typically, the people, experiences, and things that take place around us are fairly consistent day-to-day. So, something else must be going on if we feel low, anxious, despondent, or unmotivated. People who feel that the world is against them or is the cause for their emotional distress do so to help box or cover up their feelings. However, this is not always the case.

Too often, we internally speak our negative feelings without taking a moment to consider how our words may affect our state of emotional wellbeing. By choosing to use more positive words in our language, even when things may feel anything but optimistic, we'll be able to start thinking more positively, which in turn uplifts how we feel. As Tony Robbins says, "The words we attach to our experiences become our experiences, whether it is objectively correct or not."

So, choose your words wisely. This will allow you to intercept the brain’s inclination to lean towards the negative. This is especially important if we consider that four of the six emotional classifications are negative. By just repeating to yourself and others more positive words, you will activate a genetic change that has been proven to lessen your emotional stress and lean towards the positive emotions we can all feel. The result is that you'll end up feeling better, have a better sense of wellbeing, and live a more fulfilled life. 

It's not easy. But neither is living in a world that feels gloom-ridden. The choice is yours.

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