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Using the right language can change your life

March 20, 2021
using the right language can change your life

Language matters

The way we talk to ourselves

We all have stories we tell ourselves; that we’re not quite good enough, clever enough, confident enough. And sometimes, we convince ourselves that these stories as fact. We can start to hold ourselves back, keeping ourselves safe, never stepping out of our comfort zones so we don’t get the chance to reach our full potential.

The frustrating thing is, the personal narrative we often have for ourselves isn’t how other people see us at all. How many times have you coached a friend to apply for that job, message someone back, or push themselves out there in some way because you can see what they’re capable of, even though they can’t?

The language we use with others

None of us are born with self-deprecating qualities. We pick this up through our interactions with the world. 

I was born in an era where there weren’t a lot of positive reinforcements in childhood. I don’t remember anyone ever talking to me about my talents or wanting to try and nurture them. I’m not trying to cry me a river here; I feel like my experiences are pretty similar to most people my age. It just wasn’t a thing.

If we compound childhood with other life experiences; toxic relationships, bad workplaces, mental health issues, then it’s not a surprise we start to create negative stories about ourselves. And actually, I don’t think a bit of self-criticism is necessarily a bad thing; the issue is when the balance tips so far towards the negative, you lose all sense in who you are.

Now, if I spoke to other people in the way I spoke to myself, I would rightly have zero friends and be a person you’d cross the road to avoid. 

That doesn’t give me a free pass. There have been countless times when I’ve made little digs because I’ve felt a bit jealous or insecure. Or I’ve felt the need to take a snipe back at someone. It’s not behaviour I’m proud of. But, this is something really crucial to recognise – it was always about how I was feeling, never about them. People who feel good about themselves, are more compassionate towards others. They don’t tend to behave like dicks. 

The impact of using the right language

Now, colour me needy but I respond (as I suspect nearly all of us do) far better to positive, empowering language than lots of criticism. That’s not to say there’s not a place for feedback, I don’t think it’s healthy to misguide people either but commenting on my strengths goes a long way with me.

Think about it. Most of us tend to work far harder for bosses that are encouraging, rather than bawling us out every 5 minutes. We want to spend time with people who raise us up, not knock us down. 

Language really matters. The words we use to others have an impact; not only on the way we make people feel – but we can literally change the neural pathways in their brain. Talk down to someone and eventually you’ll chip away at their self-esteem. Use the right language and watch someone fly. 

The science behind positive language

As humans, we’re predisposed to keeping ourselves safe. This is one of our primal responses; we’re hardwired to recognise fear. This is one of the reasons why negative language resonates with us, it’s a fear-based response. And like anything, the more you hear it, the more it starts to stick.

However, the more positive language you hear, the more it starts to retrain those beliefs, actually changing the neural pathways in your brain and the way you talk to yourself. In other words, surrounding yourself with the right people, can actually change how you feel about yourself. 

How can you rewrite your personal story?

We’re only responsible for how we behave, we’re not responsible for the behaviour of others. I can’t always control who I spend my time with or if they use the right language towards me. Sometimes, we’re able to recognise a toxic situation and either leave it, or understand someone’s opinion is not fact. However, more often than not, these things have an impact and we have to spend time getting ourselves back on track and make a conscious effort to reframe some of our negative beliefs.

Oh sure, I hear you say… Undoing years of put downs and not being recognised by the world? How am I supposed to do that? Well, science shows it takes approximately two months to retrain your neural pathways, which are responsible for sending signals to your brain. These are the signals that tell you, you’re not good enough or you can’t do that (amongst other things). They are unconscious habits so you’re not necessarily aware all the time that it’s happening. But, like any habit, you can change it.

Affirmations

Affirmations are a way of reframing a situation to help you change the way you feel about yourself or about a a particular issue. The way I like to do is to take a situation that I find challenging and write a statement to encourage me to feel differently. I like to write them down and really reflect on them. Other people say them to themselves in the mirror. One of my friends puts post-it notes up around her house so she has a constant reminder of her positive points. The trick is to look at your affirmations little and often so you start to retrain your brain.

Speak it into existence

We all know the phrase, ‘fake it, til you make it’. I actually think there’s an element of truth in that – the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Speaking it into existence is also another way to focus on your strengths and can give you the confidence to go ahead with things. I had thought about writing a blog for years, but never did it because I was worried about what people would think. I mentioned the idea to a friend and once I said it aloud, it suddenly seemed possible. That’s what speaking it into existence can do.

Human Design

Human Design is a way of understanding our own energy and how we should respond to the world. An in-depth reading can also help you understand a lot more about yourself, why you might respond to certain things when other people don’t, what’s important to you and your life purpose. It gives you a blueprint to understanding who you are.

Using the right language yourself

Using the right language yourself is almost one of the hardest things to do. But every time you catch yourself making a negative statement, try and pause. We all have periods of self-doubt or lack confidence especially after having a bit of a knock. These things don’t have to be our life story though. We’re all capable of more.

wellbeing

365 days of happiness (or how to make yourself happy)

June 12, 2019
365 days of wellbeing

365 days of happiness

Jacqueline Pirtle believes happiness is a practice and wrote ‘365 days of happiness’ sharing daily guidance to help you be happy.

She teaches mindfulness, gratitude and visualisation techniques to help retrain our thought processes and create a positive mindset.

The idea is you work through the book doing one practice a day. The teachings are short, easy to digest and don’t require any pre-planning so they’re really easy to do each morning and help set you up for the day.   

Can you really make yourself happy?

Of course, there are times when happiness is harder and I fully believe it’s important to feel your feelings rather than trying to bury them. Pirtle agrees with this too and offers advice on how to look at those emotions and recognise their benefits.

However, there are times when nothing is going badly; it feels like nothing is going particularly well and life is just a bit blah. This is when a mindset change can reframe how you see life and help retrain our neural pathways.

And this is where ‘365 days of happiness’ comes in…

I’m generally a positive person by nature. However, I can spiral downwards when I’m tired; I eat bad food, avoid exercise and then feel miserable because I’m not looking after myself properly. It’s a chicken and egg situation and one I feel more motivated to change after reading ‘365 days of happiness’.

Anyway, enough about me…

6 lessons I learnt from reading ‘365 days of happiness’

How to be happy

  1. Remember that everything in our universe is vibrating energy. This includes rocks, trees, animals and ourselves; anything and everything you can think of. We may be vibrating different frequencies, however, we’re still all connected in some way. It’s quite incredible really and makes you realise that we’re all part of something bigger. Every thought, action, emotion and word is energy and vibrates at different frequencies. We can tune our energy to a different frequency and change our state of being with it.
  2. Wake up smiling and saying, ‘this is already and will be the best day ever’. Remember every day is a new day and a chance to start over. Making a decision that this will be the best day sets the tone and your intentions for the day. It shifts you into a frequency of excitement and creates lots of positive energy.
  3. Visualise how you feel when you’re happy. Ask yourself, ‘how do I feel in my high for life frequency’ and ‘how happy am I in my radiant frequency’? Visualise your answers often and it will shift you into a feel-good frequency.
  4. Pirtle also asks you to imagine yourself as a hotel owner and to think about how you would care for your guests, how you would check in with them and create an experience that they would enjoy. She asks that you recreate that experience for yourself. So check in with yourself and ask how you feel, what you need right now and how you can serve yourself better? This feels like the ulimate self-care and worth remembering for people who tend to put themselves last.
  5. Have a YES or No day where every decision you make, you make with clarity. There are no ‘probably’ or ‘maybe’ or ‘I’m not sure’ answers only YES or NO. If you can’t clearly say YES then it’s a NO. This will help you stop overthinking, second-guessing, or falling into the trap of catastrophising and help focus your thoughts to make decisions that are good for you.
  6. Take time out for yourself to be happy and create a moment of stillness to invite happiness into your life. This could be as simple as looking out of a window with a cup of tea. Give yourself a moment to think about how you feel and invite happiness into your day. Check into your happiness in the morning, afternoon and before you go to bed and remind yourself that it’s there.

365 days of happiness’ was gifted to me. However, all reviews are my own opinion. I don’t receive any commission if you decide to buy the book.

Want to read more on the science behind happiness?

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/happiness/

and

wellbeing

Spring clean your life

April 21, 2018
spring clean your life

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, or that things are ok, but, could be better? Does life feel a little bit blah? Well, this is when you might want to give your life an overhaul and look at what could do with sprucing up? Do you need to give your life a spring clean?

What is a spring clean?

The term ‘spring clean’ comes from the days when our homes were heated by fires. People would spring clean and air their homes in the warmer months to clean it of all the soot and grime that had accumulated when the weather was colder. These days, we rely on much more modern methods to heat our homes – but there is still something about the first sunny day and seeing flowers starting to bloom, which lifts our spirits and offers the chance to spring clean your life of some of the patterns we may be in.

How to give your life a spring clean

Revaluate relationships

Do you have relationships in your life with people who make you feel bad about yourself? Are there people that you feel you have to mentally ‘psyche’ yourself up to spend time with? We should try to surround ourselves with people who lift us up and support us rather than bringing toxic energy. There are occasions when it’s time to let friendships go or manage the amount of time you spend with someone. We all change throughout our lives and sometimes our relationships need to change to.

Contact people you care about

How many times have you mentally composed a message to someone – but never actually sent it? Are there people on your mind, who you never seem to contact? Make the effort to reach out and let people know you’re thinking about them.

Declutter old clothes and possessions

My Dad always told me if you haven’t used something for two years, you should get rid of it. I think there is an element of truth in that idea. However, I sometimes struggle with the idea that I might want to wear something again. If I’m really uncertain, I pack it away and if I haven’t missed it in a year, I know I can give it away happily. There are physical benefits to decluttering in that it frees up more living space, as well as mentally feeling a lot clearer.

Go through life admin and paperwork

Write a list of everything you need to do and work through it. It can be really easy to put off tasks that need doing (even as I’m writing this I know I have a fair few outstanding..), however, it’s good to be able to clear the decks.

Look at finances

Anyone else like to stick their head in the sand when it comes to their finances? Or is it just me? Spring is a good time to think about your spending, where you might need to make savings and if you have any financial goals. Note to self.

Switch off social media

Social media brings lots of positives into our lives especially around building communities and connecting with people. However, it can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem and the feeling of being ‘always on’. Like anything, there is a balance to be had so take the time to switch off and do something else instead.

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