Monday, January 5, 2009

English Language: Positive Language for a Positive Year

As we begin 2009, I'm feeling surprisingly optimistic. I normally feel optimistic when a new year dawns, but the end of 2008 seems to have been cloaked in so much negativity that I wasn't sure if I would be able to rise above it.

The messages we read do affect our emotions, moods and general dispositions. I don't know about you, but when I read something negative it seems to breed more negativity inside of me. This isn't to say we should stop watching the news or reading the paper, but we need to re-program our thoughts and change the way we speak to ourselves. Our own internal voices are the most important of all.

I am in no way an expert in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and would never claim to be. As I've been thinking about the new year and changes I would like to make in it, I remembered one concept in NLP from a short overview I read months ago. It talked about positive and negative language.

The argument is that when we speak in the negative, for example, "I don't want to be late anymore," our minds create a picture of us being late and then we attempt to negate that picture. Unfortunately, the picture is already ingrained in our minds and we continue being late because that's the main message we've been sending ourselves.

What if we instead said, "I am going to be on time." What's the first picture that comes to your mind? Relaxing in the waiting room before your appointment with 10 minutes to spare? Arriving at the office before anyone else and having a nice quiet cup of coffee before the day begins? Do you see the difference in this imagery?

It was just this morning that I recognized how I've been changing the way I speak to my daughter - she's only 6 months old, but you can never start too early, right? Instead of saying, "Don't drop your toy!" I use the positive, "Hold onto your toy!" At this point, who knows what sense either sentence makes to her, but it's great practice for me!

Now that I've started using positive messages, it's getting easier for me to translate negatives to positives and use more positive language in my daily life.

When you write your list of resolutions this year (something I highly recommend, by the way) make sure that you're using positive language that reinforces what you do want in life instead of what you don't want. Write "Breathe fresh air freely and easily," instead of "Stop smoking," for example. Then hang your list somewhere you can see it each day. When you read it, think about the images that enter you mind, and notice the emotions you feel.

Positive language can make a difference for you in this new year. So get started thinking positively and see what happens! There's nothing to lose but negativity!

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