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Do the words you use matter?

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside.” — Khaled Hosseini Communication is fundamental to any society and language is an important aspect of that, giving us context, ways to express and build relationships within our communities. Language, symbols, words and the etymology of those words influence culture, construction of beliefs and value systems. In my book, Burnout to Brilliance, I describe how our energy follows our thoughts, and that the phrases we repeat to ourselves (as part of our internal dialogue), in addition to what we say out loud (in conversations with others), combine to become our reality. In order to improve the results we experience in any area of our lives we need to improve our thinking. It’s important to understand the knock-on effect that our thoughts have on our language, action, habits, and ultimately, outcomes. I love learning about the latest discoveries in neuroscience, especially in relation to the power of language. Lisa Feldmann Barrett, a neuroscientist and psychologist, who is among the top 1% most cited scientists in the world for her revolutionary research, shares that the words we come across day-to-day have incredibly wide-ranging effects on us physiologically. This is because “many brain regions that process language also control the insides of your body, including major organs and systems”. Lisa suggests that words are tools for regulating human bodies. “Other people’s words have a direct effect on our brain activity and your bodily systems, and your words have that same effect on other people.” How we say what we say is also important. Over the past fifteen years in my one to one work with clients, I have lost count of the number of times I have asked “what are you saying to yourself?” and “how are you saying what you are saying?”, yet it never ceases to surprise me that most people when I ask them, tell me that they speak to themselves in ways that they wouldn’t dream of speaking to a friend or family member. Be kind in your self-talk, it effects how you feel. How you feel effects how you show up. How you show up effects how others experience you and how they experience themselves. #InternationalMotherLanguageDay #NLP #powerofwords #language #selftalk #coaching #culture


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