Can replacing words you use improve your mood, reduce stress and increase productivity? Sarah's advice on how to rephrase your words for more positive life outputs.
Can replacing the words you use to describe things improve your mood, reduce stress and increase productivity?
The words we speak and tell ourselves are INCREDIBLY important.
Words fuel our mindset. And, our mindset sets the tone for how we approach and deal with the roller coaster of life. Your words have a great impact on outcomes.
MY NEGATIVE SELF-TALK WORDS
“That’s so frustrating.”
“I’m not good at this.”
The words we speak and tell ourselves are INCREDIBLY important. Words fuel our mindset. And, our mindset sets the tone for how we approach and deal with the roller coaster of life. Your words have a great impact on outcomes.
YOUR MIND BELIEVES THE WORDS YOU TELL IT
I always tell my kids “whether you think you can or can’t you’re right.” Because what you tell yourself is how it’s going to play out. If you don’t think you can do it, your mind is already telling you no. But, if you think you CAN do it, you’ll be more confident to try, your posture will be better, your voice will be clearer and you’ll have the energy to push to help make it happen, right?
There’s a verse in Proverbs in the Bible that says “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for your body.” Proverbs 16:24
Something you should know about me is I’m VERY positive. Positivity is my #1 strength in the Clifton StrengthsFinders assessment. I naturally think of the glass as half-full in life because life’s too short to be crabby all the time, and I want to spread joy.
For example: I get sick and I’m grateful I’m not dying.
I got furloughed, and was grateful for the extra time with my kids and to have the thinking time to make a huge shift in my biz, and become an entrepreneur full-time.
A family member dies, and I think of how grateful I am to have known them.
I have a hard meeting and I use it to make myself better the next time.
I wake up and might be tired, but then I remind myself of something I heard the ever inspiring @iamtabithabrown say—every time you wake up it’s a gift. You’re part of the wake-up club, she said. Not everyone gets that.
WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO NEGATIVE WORDS OR PHRASES?
Now it’s time to turn the mic to you: What’s your negative word/phrase, and how can you replace it with a more positive sounding word?
Now, I’m not talking about ignoring your feelings, here. Feel your feels, but don’t get pulled into the negative vortez the brings you down instead of lifting you up to your fullest potential. Negativity attracts more negativity. Don’t go there. You’re better than that.
Some examples of negative words you use could be:
I hate Mondays.
What a jerk.
You don’t listen to me.
SARAH'S REPLACEMENT WORDS: A WORK IN PROGRESS
For me, I’ve replaced “frustrating” with “intrigued”, and it really does help improve my outlook in those moments. Saying “I’m intrigued” sets a different tone in my brain then “I’m frustrated”. Right?!?!
Oooh, I’m so frustrated. vs. oooohh, I’m so intrigued…
I also have a bit of a confession: I’m working on replacing swear words right now. Now, I rarely ever swear, but after 9 months of COVID, I’ve noticed swear words coming out of my mouth more freely than they ever have before. For me, I don’t want that. You do you, but I don’t like to swear.
So, I stumbled upon a funny replacement word when one day my kids thought I said “fried pickles” when I was upset. They looked at me and said “did you just say fried pickles?”
Then, we all started laughing. It completely diffused the situation and I told them I was going to use that word from now on.
So, if I’m grumpy and replace a swear word with “fried pickles” it makes me laugh. It makes my kids giggle, and suddenly the mood is greatly improved. Just by replacing a word. You see-- Mindset is everything folks. And, you have to help yourself out by choosing words that lift you up to be the boss you’re meant to be.
YET & I’M LEARNING
Another tip I’ve found helpful with my kids is adding the word “yet” at the end of a statement. If one of my kids says they don’t know how to do something, I say “yet”. You aren’t able to do this YET, but you’re learning.
“I’m learning” is another big one I say often. Especially when I’m really frustrated because something’s taking longer than I expect. To me, “I’m learning” has a growth mindset sound to it. It shows I’m advancing and improving from where I was before I started learning more about this new thing.
A real recent example for me is trying to learn Instagram reels. Oh man, I’ve fumbled through creating a few which I embarrassingly shared on my Instagram page because that’s how we learn—we have to try. And, my first thought was: “Wow, I suck at these”…. But then I changed my word choice to “I’m learning”.
See how much better that feels? I’m learning vs. I suck.
THIS DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME
And remember—staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days, you know there are better ones coming. I read that on Instagram somewhere and it’s so true. [repeat: staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days, you know there are better ones coming]
The power of the words you use has a profound impact on how you and the people around you feel in the moment. And, how productive you can be.
I CHALLENGE YOU TO GIVE THIS WORD REPLACEMENT A TRY THIS WEEK
So, here’s what I want you to do. Will you give this a try?
Observe what you say this next week—it might be to yourself or something you say out loud. We all have certain words we tend to use. And if you don’t know what yours are, ask your spouse, partner or family what complain-y type word(s) they hear you say most often.
Then, I want you to replace this word with another less-negative word.
Once you’ve figured out your word change, will you please let me know what your word is and what you’re replacing it with? I’d love to hear and see if any of your words would be good for me to try too! We have to help each other out! Msg me on Instagram @iamsarahpanus or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try this to help you better manage through situations, improve your mood, reduce stress and increase productivity.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Panus is a brand storytelling marketing strategist, podcast host, Minnesota mom, and owner of Kindred Speak, LLC, a remote consultancy that helps corporations attract upper-funnel leads that drive bottom-funnel results through storytelling. Her mission is to add value to the world by humanizing brand+consumer connections. Her online courses teach content professionals inside corporations how to think like Editorial Directors to drive stronger results while enjoying their jobs more. She’s spent the last 20 years helping brands including Sleep Number, Starbucks, Nestle Waters, Christos Bridal, Game Crazy, Cone Inc, and others, speak a kindred language with their audiences, driving brand advocacy and millions in revenue and brand engagements. Learn more at www.kindredspeak.com.