As you know, I’m obsessed with learning about ways to improve mental health.
Right now I’m learning about the power of words, and I wanted to share this with you.
We all know words have power.
When someone you care about says something negative about you, it can hurt.
And that includes the words we say about ourselves, and our lives.
There was a study done on college students in the US.
They were asked to come in and apply to be part of an experiment.
But what they didn’t know was...
the application process WAS the experiment.
They were asked to fill out a very long & tedious form, but the researchers had rigged the computers to keep crashing, so the participants would have to go right back to the beginning.
After that, the participants were asked to describe the application process, using words provided by the researchers on flash cards.
There were 3 groups;
Group A had no flash cards (the control group) and were just asked to describe using their own words.
Group B were given flash cards with extremely graphic words like “torturous”, “unbearable” and “suffering”.
And lastly Group C were given milder words like “annoying”, slight inconvenience” and “could have been better”.
Afterwards everyone had to rate their own mood on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the absolute worst.
Group B, the group with words like “unbearable” rated the experience as vastly worse than the other groups, and also had the lowest mood when leaving the experiment.
This study is used, among others, when researchers demonstrate the effect repeating negative words to ourselves can have.
The Devils Pigeon
We absolutely need negative words, as unfortunately negative experiences and emotions are a part of life, and need to be described.
But I’ve been trying to ditch some of the words when describing the smaller things in my day.
Through gritted teeth I will categorise getting pooped on by a bird yesterday as a mild annoyance, and not AN EVIL DRIVE BY SHOOTING from the DEVIL’S own pet pigeon.
I think it’s helping :)
Surrounding ourselves with positive words is proven to affect our mood, for example changing your password (if you type one every day) to I am awesome, is PROVEN by ACTUAL SCIENCE to lift your mood (plus it’s fun too).
As does surrounding yourself with happy affirmations, and cute, chonky animals (ok, the chonky animals bit probably isn’t proven by science, but I’m pretty sure it works for me).