All of the courses I offer are aimed at helping people find their mojo and get their sparkle back. One of the ways I do this, is by discussing techniques for maintaining good mental health. In one of the sessions, we talk about the Power of Words.
Imagine for a moment you have been working really hard on a document which needed a lot of your time and attention. As you lean over to get something, you spill coffee all over the freshly prepared piece. Think about what you would say to yourself in that situation, or what you said to yourself the last time you made a mistake. It probably wasn’t “oh dear, that was an accident!”, but might have been something like “I’m such an idiot!” Or worse.
This is the Power of Words.
Effective communication is powerful in any situation, and getting across the right message can be key to our success. But if you’re talking to yourself in a negative, self-deprecating way it might reinforce beliefs that you’re not “good enough”; your sense of worth – your self-esteem – affects how you feel.
We know there is a direct link between what we think, what we believe, how we feel, and how we behave. So it stands to reason if you’re talking to yourself in a negative way, the result won’t be positive.
But there is good news – we now know the brain has something called Neuroplasticity (essentially the ability to re-learn or adapt to your environment): even in later life, you can learn new techniques to make positive changes.
Of course the way others talk to us has an impact too.
Although it’s been said that words (verbal communication) only constitute for 7% of how we communicate (the remainder being non-verbal communication like body language), words still have the power to hurt or heal. And, like a lot of people, if you say sorry a lot (even when you don’t mean it), it can dilute the message you’re trying to make.
Sally Kohn explains Emotional Correctness – that it’s not just what we say but how we say it – in this Ted Talk.
Here’s a top tip: Next time you’re having a conversation either with yourself or someone else, pay attention to the words you use. Think about their meaning and what you’re really trying to say. Be aware not to over analyse what someone else is saying, but learn to feel confident in asking them what they meant if you’re not sure. In particular try speaking to yourself as you would a dear friend.
Mindful Communication also helps us to think carefully about the language we use. This video is an excerpt from a live session I offered for Time to Talk Day which talks about Mindful Communication and a suggestion for what to say when someone shares, if you don’t know what to say:
Being aware of what you say and how you say it is communicating mindfully; mindfulness has many benefits including improvements in both physical and mental health. Mindful Communication is a good technique for developing positive mental health and wellbeing, and looks at ways to address conflict healthily while making sure your message is heard.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2017