This is a fairly tall order, right?! Change you language, change your life? Really?!
I LOVE walking with my clients along their journey to better health. It’s soul nourishing for me (selfish I know) to be witness to the incredible transformation that takes place within them. I say within them because all BIG change happens from within. Yes, our bodies will naturally and intuitively transform as well… but the REAL change happens when the body and mind are healed and fully connected with one another.
The Science of Language
You see… your words literally shape your brain and the way the synapses in your brain allows neurons to communicate with each other. To take this one step further, Neurosceintist, Dr. Andrew Newberg, and communications expert, Robert Waldman, authors of Words Can Change Your Brain, wrote this, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
Not only do the words you use, spoken and unspoken, influence the way the neurons in your brain communicate with each other, a single word can influence the regulation of physical and emotional stress within your body. When you use negative language, your body does not produce the neurochemicals needed to manage stress.
The increased levels of physical and/or emotional stress manifests itself into all aspects of your life—influencing your behaviors, the way you view and approach your life, your self-esteem, your energy levels, and your body’s ability to properly function at the most basic level.
That’s HUGE. And that’s why REAL change, BIG change, happens from within. And this is why my focus is NOT on reducing your caloric intake to 1200 calories or the whole “tough nutritionist love” quotes like “losing weight is hard, being fat is hard, choose your hard!”. Just… ewww!
Depriving your body and mind of nourishment does NOT strengthen the frontal lobes of your brain, activating your motivational centers, and propelling you into doing the BIG work so that you can live your best life possible. Depriving your body and mind of nourishment shuts down your brain’s logic and reasoning centers, drastically reduces your body’s ability to function at the most basic, cellular level, and restricts the flow of information within the body/mind conduit.
Negative thought gremlins at work
So…. here’s a short of list of how the negative thought gremlins go to work in us.
- “On my cheat day…”
- “I ate bad… I ate I horribly… “
- “I had a bad meal”
- “It was a bad day”
- “I was bad”
- “I was lazy”
- “I’m terrible at this”
- “I just can’t get it right”
- “I’ll never get this”
- “I had no self control”
- “I made a bad decision”
- “I should have”
- “I shouldn’t have”
- “I screwed up”
- “I splurged”
- “I wish I would have”
- “I wish I wouldn’t have”
- “This is impossible”
- “I was so good and then”
- “I need to”
- “I tried so hard and nothing good came out of it”
Why these negative thought gremlins
Any of these sound familiar? Negative thought gremlins, negative self-talk, negative inner dialogue can be sneaky and pervasive. It doesn’t have to be full-on self-hate-talk like “you’re an idiot!” or “nobody will ever love you because you are fat… and ugly… and worthless!” to be self-destructive and to disconnect a healthy body/mind connection.
It can be as simple as “I made a bad decision and ordered a huge bacon cheeseburger instead of a salad. I just can’t get it together. I have no self-control.”
Here’s the deal, as a human, you are evolutionarily wired to focus on the “bad” in order to protect yourself from threatening situations. This is deeply rooted in your body’s primal need for safety and security, for protection; think mountain lion scenario.
And this is where the pervasiveness comes into play. The more your thought patterns trend negative and the more you ruminate about those negative situations in your head, the more effortlessly and alarmingly comfortable it will become for you to tap into more negative thoughts.
Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together
I use this phrase a LOT! In neuroscience, this expression illustrates the concept of neuroplasticity—the brains’ ability to adapt in response to frequency of experience. Here’s how it works. Each task requires a certain combination of neurons to fire for you to be able to successfully complete the task. As these neurons are learning to fire together, the task requires a lot of effort and brain power.
Think back to your childhood of when you first learned to ride a bike. You had to think about where your hands needed to be, how to rotate your legs to peddle, how to maintain balance. It required active thought… and a lot of it! But with continued effort and frequency, the neurons that were required to fire in tandem for you to successfully ride a bike, wired together to form automatic reflexes.
Change your language, Change your life
Remember how your brain is evolutionarily wired to focus on the “bad” in order to protect yourself from threatening situations. Well, changing your language and thought patterns is the first step to hard wiring your brain so that you can cultivate more peace and joy in your life. That’s HUGE!
Using positive words, speaking kindly to yourself, strengthens the frontal lobe of your brain, propels the motivational centers of your brain into action, builds resiliency, and rewires the neurons in your brain to form an automatic reflex for positive thought patterns. The human body continues to AMAZE me. This is why I got into this work in the first place… it’s truly incredible.
Every coaching session I lead ends with personalized action steps to help my clients further propel themselves into the life they want to live. So here’s your action step if you want to start changing your language, re-wire your brain for positive thought patterns and transform the structure within your brain that influences your perception of yourself and how you show up in this world.
Interrupt the Pattern.
When you recognize the negative thought gremlins at work, the negative thought pattern starts running through all of the ways you are unworthy or incapable, you have to interrupt the pattern.
Stop the script. Literally just stop the inner dialogue playing on repeat.
Change your energy
Pat your chest, go for a walk, splash water on your face, listen to a song. By changing your energy, you active different neurons in your brain… you know the ones that aren’t firing negative thought gremlins!
Change your language
Invalidate the negative thought gremlins with KIND words for yourself, loads of LOVE and a healthy dose of REALITY. Do those actually go together? Yup! So… the truth is even if you chose a cheeseburger over a salad, it doesn’t mean you have 0 self-control. The reality is that you have an enormous amount of self-control. Think about every. single. time you exercised self control throughout that day starting with not whacking the alarm clock off your nightstand! 😉 The reality is that you do have it together most of the time and you do make good choices. Remind yourself of this.
Change your language. Actively speak kindly to yourself, offering yourself loads of love and compassion and give yourself a healthy dosage of reality.
So much love and goodness, Sarah