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Most of us can recall a time when we were feeling perfectly fine, and then a colleague at work said, "Are you feeling okay? You look tired." Suddenly, you see an image of yourself with bags under your eyes. You remember that you went to bed late last night, and although you had not felt tired until this moment, it makes sense that you should. Very quickly, those thoughts change into their material equivalent: your shoulders droop and you feel exhausted.
The words you say to yourself and others, as well as those you hear, generate thoughts, and these are quickly transformed into behaviors and emotional states. Here are seven ways to use your own words to generate positive outcomes.
1. Rephrase your malady.
If you don't feel well or you're tired, never tell anyone that. Instead, say, "I could use more energy" or, "Once I'm fit and healthy, I'll be fine." Every time you say something like, "I'm feeling depressed," you're simply adding to your burden, albeit unintentionally. The more you repeat your complaints, the worse you'll feel.
2. Avoid words such as "cannot" when referring to yourself.
Instead, reach for a higher-energy statement such as, "When I can…" Also avoid words such as "hopefully" or "maybe" or "one day," because when you use those words you are really saying, "I'd like to, but I can't."
3. Remove words like "hate" from your vocabulary.
Instead of, "I hate it when that happens," try, "I prefer it when…" This is not easy to do, and you'll forget. But if you attempt to make a few small changes in your speech you'll see a big improvement in outcome. A friend of mine has been telling me for 15 years that he hates his job. Over time, he's gradually found himself getting more of what he doesn't want.
4. Begin and end each communication on an up note.
This is especially important when using electronic media. It's imperative that the last message you type is a positive word leading to positive thoughts. Try, "Best," or "Cheers," or "Keep smiling." Because you wrote it, you get the benefit. The recipient reads it, gets an image of a smiling friend, and receives a lift from it, too.
5. Begin and end your day with a positive thought.
Before you go to sleep at night, thank yourself for a great day. When you wake up, the first words in your head should be something like, "I feel absolutely fantastic, and I know today is a successful day for me."
6. When out of earshot, speak the words aloud.
Say the words from step 5 out loud. This may feel at first like the onset of insanity, but soon you'll be able to afford the best psychiatrists money can buy!
7. When you're down, use an affirming statement.
Whenever something irritates or depresses you during the day, take a deep breath and silently pump yourself back up with an affirming statement filled with lots of adjectives and adverbs. Try, "I feel absolutely, amazingly, vibrantly healthy!" Notice how your energy level changes. It really does work!
Using words to generate positive thoughts and emotions is something you can begin right now and change your life. It requires no monetary investment, no time, and only a little effort. From this moment on, before you speak, take a little breath, smile, pause…and then map out your better thoughts in stronger words. Just try it for a day and see how differently things work out for you.