Most people are totally unaware about how they speak, internally and externally and small changes can be very effective as language is so powerful when it comes to controlling mood. Not only within ourselves but for those around us.
By noticing what we are saying, out loud and mentally, we can begin to see how much of it is positive and how much of it is negative. It probably comes as no surprise that research has shown that negative actions are usually the culmination of negative thought patterns. By noticing our spoken and internal language and making slight adjustments, we can alter mood, make things a little more pleasant for people around us and use language to our advantage.
Here are 7 common phrases that can have negative affects and 7 phrases we can start replacing them with!:
7 phrases to avoid:
- “I wish it wasn’t like…” The typical moan! People don’t like listening to it and it’s a time-waster. If we don’t like something, then we should take action to change the situation or if we won’t do that, then we might aswell get on with things with a smile!
- “I can’t…” This is a phrase that sets you back and immediately makes hitting goals more unlikely as it is a direct instruction to the unconscious mind. Trying to eradicate the phrase from our thoughts gives us a fighting chance to get where we want to go.
- “I’ll try…” It’s not possible to only “try” to do something and actually achieve it. We have to actually do it. We don’t “try” to sit down, we sit down. Saying we will try usually means that we are not ready to commit. To do something goes beyond just trying.
- “I need…” Saying we need something is not always the same as genuinely being in need of something. The phrase can create a negative dependency inside our heads. Thinking what we really mean when declaring we need something and adjusting for the future can minimise negativity.
5. “I should…” The word should is also quite a negative word and often comes across like criticism. If we focus on what we can change, this is an awful lot better than beating ourselves up for what we should have done.
6. “I could be worse” or “not bad”…Common greeting phrases that instantly communicate pessimism! A habit that a lot of us get into. Saying you are doing great when you are not is not advisable either but at least showing some positivity at the start of a conversation puts us on a better footing.
7. “Never…” They say never say never. The word creates restriction and closes options down. The unconscious mind will go to work with what it is told and so the word never is an instruction to stop looking for the choices and solutions that are available.
So now for 7 things we can start saying:
- “Things could be worse…” Re-framing problems by comparing them to something more challenging that we or others have dealt with. This helps us to get perspective and make our issues seem smaller.
- “I’m grateful for…” Episodes of depression have proven to be improved by using gratitude. Reminding ourselves often, of things we feel lucky to have in our lives can lead to happier thoughts as opposed to a downward spiral of negativity.
- “What if?…”The opposite effect to “never”. “What if?” opens up possibilities. Now we are telling the unconscious to actively look for solutions and different options instead of closing it down and it will do this even when your conscious mind is busy on other things.
- “Remember to…” Telling ourselves to remember something is much more effective than telling ourselves not to forget something. For some reason, our brain often only hears “forget to pick up the dry cleaning” when we try to remember: “do not forget to pick up the dry cleaning”. By making the internal language positive, our brains are able to remember that much easier.
- “I will…” A replacement for “I’ll try”. This is a powerful committing word. A lot can suddenly seem possible just by replacing “I’ll try” with “I will”. The actual achievement of the goal is not as important here, as the setting up for success rather than failure.
- “I’m very well…” Adopting a more positive greeting instead of the “could be worse” or “not bad” puts your head in a better place straight away. None of us are jumping with joy all the time, so if you are not having the greatest day, then a trick is to say “I’m not having the best day, but tomorrow will be better”. This sends a message to the sub-conscious mind that however we feel now, we expect things to improve.
- “Yes!” Try saying yes sometimes where your instinct is to say no. Now we need to exercise some discretion here (!) but you get the point. Things can get very interesting if we open ourselves up to more possibilities and try some new things. Saying “yes” more often consciously is one of Richard Branson’s secrets of success.
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