“Language shapes our behavior and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way—can lead to a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.” —Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain
What do negative words bring?
Do you often feel restless, irritable and suspicious? Is someone filling your head with so much negativity that he has become the main cause of your stress everyday? And does the stress disrupt your sleep, increase or decrease your appetite and generally make it harder for you to be happy? Or are you the negative person? Are you so used to your own negativity that you rarely give yourself enough credit for the things you do right?
In 2005, a study suggested that negative words are found in just about every language spoken on this planet. And, there are seven emotions that almost every culture has a term for: joy, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt. In other words, the world only shares one common positive emotion and six negative emotions. But before you start thinking that we’re all miserable creatures, know that negative thinking has been a saving grace for mankind.
Humans have learned that negative feelings are the feelings we should pay close attention to. Whether it’s a growl in the forest, an ache in your left arm, a sandwich that tastes “off” or a partner who makes you sad—these are all red flags that let us know something could be hazardous to our health. So, it’s good that we have so many words to describe bad things because getting it right can mean the difference between life and death!
In romantic relationships, people tend to dismiss their feelings. They tell themselves that nothing is wrong. They tell their partner that nothing is wrong. People hesitate to be open and honest because they don’t want to upset their partner or start a fight. But “nothing” is a negative word and masking relationship issues with negativity will only create worry and resentment. Your partner cannot see through your mask and if you aren’t honest with them, they can’t do anything to make your relationship better.
Most everyone fears the future. You probably worry about your health, finances and relationships or children most every night. Unfortunately, negative feelings get your hormones going, increasing stress, causing emotional turmoil and handicapping your productivity. Nothing good comes from worrying. The best you can do is enjoy the present, while planning for the future.
Death is an inevitable part of life. But we often use the word “death” to describe more than just an end to living. Relationships and love die, dreams die and losing control over something “kills” us. We turn ourselves into martyrs when we talk about death in this way. Let’s try to be less dramatic and recognize that death of any kind is more of a change than an end. Choose to enjoy life more by removing this word from your vocabulary.
You probably tell yourself you can’t do things all the time: “I can’t quit smoking.” “I can’t lose weight.” “I can’t tell my partner how I really feel.” Say these statements to yourself enough and they become your truths. If you keep saying you can’t do something and other people hear you, they won’t think you’re a capable person. If you don’t believe in yourself, others will lose faith in you too.
When you constantly remind others of your disappointments it creates an infinite circle of negativity and damages your relationships. Relationships thrive off of positive energy, so ditch the negative talk and start expressing your wants and needs in a positive manner. You’ll get support and positive reinforcement from your friends!
People quit things out of fear all the time, like their jobs, romantic relationships, gym memberships and personal goals. But every time you quit you burn a memory into your brain that you are a failure. Instead of quitting, take action. Invest energy in your path to success.
“No” is what that nagging voice in the back of your head says. It tells you not to try because it “knows” you will fail. Some people say it to themselves daily and when that happens, their body triggers a fight or flight response (increased stress and hormone production). This word impairs your ability to think positively and succeed.
You can use positive thinking to combat your negative mindset, but it takes five positive thoughts to overcome just one negative thought. So why not make an effort to reduce your negative thoughts in the first place?