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Watch Your Language!

Last week on Facebook I shared an image which demonstrated the importance of using positive language with kids and asked our group which of us use positive language on ourselves.

This goes beyond affirmations or self flattery and looks at the words we habitually use when dealing with challenges. In a previous article about reactive and proactive behaviour, we look deeper at examples of phrases we use to respond to stress and how they change our belief in our ability to cope. Here are some brief examples of language that controls us and how we can change it into the kind of language we can manage.

Reactive Language

I’ll try to...

I never have time

There’s nothing I can do

You always make me so mad...

If only my boss/wife/bus...

Proactive Language

I will do that

I am going/not going to make time for that

Let’s look at what we can do

I can listen and be more understanding

I can/will/am

This week I'm going to ask you to pinpoint moments where you use unhelpful language. This might include "black and white thinking" where you use the words never or always to describe your feelings or "counterfactual thinking" where you think in terms of "if only this hadn't happened" rather than accepting the situation and looking ahead to possible actions available. I'm including the word "try" with this because I personally believe it's the death knell of any plan. By setting yourself up with a "try" you're meeting problems before they've even arisen. If your language suggests that your goal is not possible, you're probably right.

Share your reactive language with us on the Making Change Stick Facebook group and tell us how you turned it around.

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