Vocabulary is not solely confined to external communication. It’s used for internal communication as well. This is often referred to as self-talk. I’m sure you’re familiar with the chatter that goes on in your head all of the time, that’s what self-talk is.
Most of what I read about negative self-talk or positive thinking centres around the phrasing of a particular message you’re telling yourself but that is only part of it. The other part is the actual words you use both internally and externally on a regular basis.
The words you habitually use have a massive impact on the quality of your life. So much so that the removal just one word from habitual use can dramatically improve the perception of your life as you see it.
Take the word depressed for example, have you ever felt depressed? I know I have. It was a long time ago, before I stopped using the word to describe my emotions. Now the worst I ever get is a little bit down.
Imagine for a moment what it feels like to be a little bit down. Now snap yourself out of it by thinking happy thoughts. Now imagine for a moment what it feels like to be depressed, does it feel worse?
For most people it does. Our emotions are directly linked to the words we use to describe them. If we have no word for depressed, we cannot experience that emotion. Having done this small exercise, the power of words becomes clear so how can you use this to improve the quality of your life?
The first thing you should do is start to take notice of your own habitual use of vocabulary and write down all of the emotionally charged words you find yourself using. Once you have this list you can tackle the issue.
Split your list into two sections, negative vocabulary and positive vocabulary. Order your two lists from most used words to least. The words on the most used lists are the ones you’ll need to tackle first as these with have the biggest impact on your life.
Starting from the top of the negative list come up with at least three words you could replace each one with. The replacements for these must have a less negative emotional impact on you.
Now do the same for the positive words only in reverse, take the positive words you use on a habitual basis and amplify them to make you feel better.
Once you have your replacement words it’s time to go out and use them. One of the best places to start would be your morning greeting. Whether it be at home when you get up or when you get to work and greet everyone.
When someone asks you how you are, instead of replying with ‘fine’, ‘OK’ or anything similar to this, say ‘Fantastic’ or ‘amazing’, make your tonality and body language reflective of the words and you’ll notice people will start to react differently to you.
You will bring some of them up to your level of emotional intensity. In some cases, people who spend a lot of time in your company will start to adopt the language you’re using which brings them up to your level. Language is contagious.
After only a short time using these new words you’ll notice your perceptions of life will improve and you’ll enjoy the good things more and dislike the bad things less. All by making a few small changes to the way you communicate with yourself and others on a daily basis.