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This Week's Topic: Are you using your words wisely?
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." - Proverbs 16:24
"You look so relaxed and rejuvenated," a neighbor said to me recently as we met in the street for a chat. I smiled. Her words confirmed that my vacation was paying off. There's nothing like a little time off to restore your energy and clarify your thoughts. This summer, I took off several weeks in July as well as a two-month break from writing this newsletter. I hope you've enjoyed the recycled editions I've shared with you all summer.
Besides taking some time off this summer, I also finished a master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania in an emerging academic field: Applied Positive Psychology. While traditional psychology focuses on alleviating problems, positive psychology is the study of what makes people happier, more resilient, productive and successful. I am excited to share this new knowledge and research with you through my writing, coaching, media and speaking endeavors.
This week, I want to encourage you to tap into the power of your words. Do you speak in terms of what you want and what you are grateful for? Or do you rehash problems, working yourself into a state of frustration and negativity? Consider a dilemma or challenge you are currently facing. Perhaps it is a struggle to lose weight, with someone you just can't seem to get along with, or a financial challenge. Whatever it is, your words reflect one of two choices:
1. You can choose words that evoke negative emotion, and focus on blaming, complaining, and fault-finding while doing little to improve the situation.
2. Or you can choose words that evoke positive emotion, and focus on finding something in the situation to be grateful for and learn from, then setting out to make choices that improve the future.
Your words have the power to heal your life and your relationships - and can inspire you to persevere in the face of a challenge. But research also shows that how you speak about yourself and your circumstances can also impact your physical health and longevity. One famous study retrospectively analyzed the journals of 178 nuns from the 1930s for the kinds of words they used to describe their lives and challenges. Astonishingly, 90 percent of the most positive women were still alive at age 85 compared to just 34 percent of the least positive. And by age 94, more than half of the most positive group was still kicking compared to just 11 percent of the most negative group. Indeed, life and death are in the power of your words.
So start talking about what you want rather than rehashing what you don't. Acknowledge your problems, but pivot towards a conversation about solutions. And when you find yourself feeling like giving up, don't forget to lift your head and look towards your vision - that place you're aiming for that compels you to pesevere despite the obstacles on your path.
My challenge to you this week:
Use your words wisely. Notice when you get into a cycle of blaming, complaining and faultfinding, and choose to focus on learning, growing and finding a solution.
Consider a dilemma or challenge you are currently facing. What words have you been using to describe the situation? What words could you start using to describe the situation that would evoke a sense of hope, faith and love? What do you want to see happen moving forward? How could you express this in words that will lead you to your goal?
Until next time ...
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Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
Please feel free to forward the Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter to friends and colleagues, but please forward in its entirety. The Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter is written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. Copyright (c) 2008 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. www.valorieburton.com.