Sam Radford

July 8, 2021

Watch what you say

In Katy Milkman’s recent newsletter, she interviews Alison Wood Brooks about how to reappraise or reframe anxiety. This from Alison makes a lot of sense:

One way is just talking about your feelings differently. The way we label our emotions verbally to ourselves, out loud and to other people is consequential. So, when someone says, “Hey, how are you feeling?” If you say, “Oh my gosh, I'm so nervous,” it actually influences how you feel. You will continue to feel nervous. Whereas if you say, “You know what, I'm really excited,” it turns out just saying that out loud tricks your brain into believing that you actually are excited.  And people report feeling more excited. They show physiological signs of being more excited.

Our words matter. What we say about how we feel shapes how we feel.

I found this a timely reminder.

How we speak about ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves.

It reminds me of that old playground saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The words of others can make a huge difference to how we feel about ourselves – for better or worse. But so too the words we use when talking about ourselves. 

We need to watch what we say!