The words you choose to think and say play a big role in stress management. That’s because language shapes thinking. And what you think dictates how you feel.
For example, saying, “I am angry,” communicates a state of being. And the more you say it, the angrier you will likely get. In contrast, as soon as you change the language to an action verb as in, “I am angering,” you immediately become aware you we have a choice. When you feel that you have a choice in a situation, you will feel less stress. Changing the adjective to a verb empowers you to choose your response to an emotion and aids in stress management.
Taking conscious control of your self-talk can act like a magic wand to shift you to more empowering and controlling mental states. Anyone at any age can learn such self-talk. You can stop staying powerless phrases such as “made me” and “caused me” and instead say empowering phrases such as “prompts me” and “stimulates me.” This shift eliminates victimhood thinking.
Another Stress Management Tip
Another more subtle language pattern is the ill use of “try.” “Try” merely conveys an attempt. Your self-talk should convey commitment. Think about it: You do not get out of bed by trying to get out of bed. You do not make a phone call by trying to call. You get out of bed. You make a call. This type of self-talk is the hallmark of success. As Henry Ford so aptly put it, “If you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way you are right.”
It is no kindness to treat yourself or others as helpless, inadequate, or victims—regardless of past situation. Kindness is having faith in yourself and others and treating everyone (including yourself) in a way that encourages and empowers.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed out, examine the words you’ve been thinking and saying recently. This is one stress management tool that you have complete control over.
For more stress management advice, check out my new book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. It’s available as a print book and as a Kindle download.