The Words We Use: How They Make or Break

How often do you think about your words and how they affect you and the world around you? If you’re like us, probably not very often. Thankfully, there are academics who can do the research for us!

Think About Framework and Language

According to linguistics academics, the framing of our words can make all the difference. If we use words with negative connotations, images, experiences, or associations, then we’ll see the entire phrase or conversation negatively, whether or not the context was negative.

If you’re trying to get your point across, don’t use language from the opposing side. It’s like us telling you “Don’t think of a purple giraffe!” Of course the only thing you can think of is a purple giraffe! Using language opposite from your purpose will only cancel out what you’re trying to say. Instead, create your own perspectives and figure out what language you want to use to express your ideas.

What This Means for Your Health and Wellness

Framework and opposing language can shape everything we say and do, even when it comes to our health. When you face a stressful situation, do you instantly see all the ways it could go wrong? What about the ways it could go right? Depending on your mindset, you can make stress much more stressful than it actually is.

Take time to evaluate your framework, and how that view might be bringing you down. How much of your framework is your own? How much have you adopted from others? Think about the kind of person you want to be, and work backward from there: what steps do you need to take today to because that person in the future?

As for language, When you talk about exercising, do you say “I have to work out today”? There’s a lot of research (see here and here) that proves saying “have to” about something — anything! — makes us feel negatively. So let’s change it. If we say “I get to work out today,” we instantly change the outlook to an opportunity instead of an obligation. Do you “have to” take your vitamin C? No, you “get” to!

Language applies to more than our words. If you’re trying to make a new habit of exercising every day, and you set a reminder on your phone, what ringtone do you use for the reminder? Does it sound upbeat and positive, or is it a melody from a sad love song? What does that reminder say to you about exercising?

None of this is deceitful. It’s just a different framework and language than what you’re used to. Selling an item with a “95% effective rate” will certainly be more successful than selling an item with a “5% failure rate.” Don’t manipulate to gain your way — just use your own language to express your unique beliefs, and use your own framework to do it.

Changes Start Now

So how can you begin changing your words today? Let’s start small — “I get to go to work today,” “I get to make dinner for my family tonight” — and see what even a little change can do for our lives.

For more information about making positive changes to your life through health and wellness, make an appointment with our naturopathic doctor and therapeutic massage therapist. We can’t wait to meet you!

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