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The power of words on your mental health

Words filter through people and feed their souls; building them up or in the worst case tearing them down. Everyone has had this one conversation that molded itself deep in their mind, resting on the surface of their unconscious mind waiting for the moment to ring in their ears again. Until they find themselves traveling through time and space, arriving in the very moment of this one conversation, realizing these words never left them. These words somehow turned into their shadow.

The power of words arises from the meaning and emotional response you give them. We decide what value they have for us and their impact on our perspective. Throughout our lives, we might also have started to use certain words on autopilot - such as the response “I’m fine.” to the question “ How are you?”. When in truth, "fine" was not the right word to describe our inner world at that very moment. Yet, words often roll from our tongue without our awareness, when essentially, they should carry your thoughts, ideas, feelings, or intention.

In the book, Words can change your brain, it has been found that “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” So, think about what big impact the words you say to yourself and about yourself have on yourself. The thoughts that we have about ourselves and the way we speak to ourselves are actually referred to as our ‘self-talk’. Self-talk is fundamentally your internal dialogue.

When people go through negative experiences or are not meeting their expectations, they tend to talk to themselves with doubt, blame, or judgment. Oftentimes words escape from their mind that they would never say to anyone else going through a difficult time. Eventually, this can turn into a spiral of negative self-talk and strongly affect your mental health. You might start believing what the voice in your head is telling you, even if it’s not true. So, it is crucial to be mindful of your words and the possible impact they have. Carefully consider how you talk to yourself because positive thoughts and words can become a strong weapon when life falls down on us.

Something important to remember is that our thoughts inherently aren't facts, they're a reflection of our belief system, experience, and personality. We constantly ‘interpret’ the world and events around us. We understand events along the lines of our current concerns. And that view is valid, it's just that reality also has a flipside and there is always another way of looking at something. So, whenever the voice in your head is trying to bring you down, think about whether there is any evidence behind what your mind is trying to tell you. Try to reflect on the origin of your thoughts - think about where they are coming from or whether something happened in your life for you to be having this negative communication with yourself. Recognizing when this “bad” voice in your head is triggered can help you to counter it, too.

In moments you find yourself talking negatively to yourself, try to show yourself compassion. Self-compassion means to give yourself the same kindness and care you would give to someone dear to you. It is compassion directed inwards, which essentially means to direct feelings of kindness and care towards yourself. Remind yourself that you’re just like any other human being, which means you can go through difficult times and you don’t have to be perfect. Truth is we are all flawed beings and this is fine.

So, remember you have control over your own words. Choose kind words to others and more importantly to yourself. Don’t give your negative voice power over yourself. Fill your story with kind words about yourself.

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