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Positivity: Change Your Language, Change Your Life

Posted Jun 19 2013 10:06pm

Posted in | June 18, 2013 |


By guest author Molly Larkin

Is your life hard? Perhaps a change in your language can help turn things around. It did for me.

I used to be very negative all the time. I mean like darkly, depressively, existentially negative. Until I learned that changing my language could change my life.

My wake-up call started decades ago with a conversation with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She asked me how I was doing, and I replied, “Well, I’ve been having a hard time lately.”

Her response shocked me: “You’re always having a hard time. It’s just the way you are.”

I had no idea that’s how people saw me. But when I thought about it, I realized that I said, “I’ve been having a hard time” on a regular basis!

And that meant I was defining my life as hard. That and many, many other negative phrases had become part of my persona.

So I trained myself to stop.

My teacher Bear Heart said: “People often ask for my advice and counseling, but overall, the best advice I can give to anyone at any time is: Never complete a negative statement.”

Learning to stop using negative phrases is a lot like learning a new language. It takes some work.

Pay attention to what you say, both internally and out loud. When you catch yourself being negative, correct it on the spot.

After a while, using positive language will became a habit and easier and easier to do.

Today, there is rarely a negative thought or statement coming out of me. I have become fluent in the new language of positivity.

If something’s not working in your life, rather than complain, figure out why and change things. And, in the meantime, keep focusing on what working.

The old adage that “It’s not what happens, but rather how you react to circumstances, that determines the quality of your life” is absolutely true.

It turns out that how you answer this question may be a predictor of your health.

Positive thinking is a key aspect of effective stress management. And scientists are in agreement that at least 70% of illness is caused by stress.

If you tend to be pessimistic [that is, you tend to see your glass as half empty], help is on the way.

The National Science Foundation estimates that the average person has 12,000 – 50,000 thoughts per day, depending on how deep a thinker they are. And 80% are the same as yesterday!

So with that many thoughts going on, whether they’re positive or negative will have a very big impact on your life.

Self-talk is the stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head each day.

“Oh, Molly, why are you eating another cupcake? You’re already too fat.”

“Oh, Molly, you’re so stupid. You know this route always has more traffic.”

And on and on.

If your statements to yourself are mostly negative, your outlook on life is pessimistic and due for a change. Start giving yourself compliments for the things you do that work!

Researchers have found the following health benefits go along with positive thinking:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Psychologists aren’t sure why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits, only that they do. One theory is that it helps us cope better with stress.

It’s also believed that positive and optimistic people tend to take better care of themselves and live healthier lifestyles – for example, they:

  • get more exercise
  • eat a healthier diet and
  • don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.

First, identify if there’s a tendency to be negative. Here are some clues from the Mayo Clinic to identifying negative thinking:

Is it work? You bet. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

It will change your life for the better in a hundred different ways.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller, “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of A Native American Shaman.” Download her free ebook of inspirational quotes . And read her inspirational posts at Ancient Wisdom for A Life in Balance .

How about joining the exclusive circle of life balance seekers? Subscribe to my newsletter, get all the balanced goodness (and more) and don't forget to download your free Book of Wisdom: 50 Ideas for the all-around balanced life.
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