Discussion

The Power of Words

I have always been a believer in the power of thoughts and words. Every thought you think creates your future and your reality can be spoken into existence with the articulated word. Melissa Dahl, of NBC News, helps to confirm my beliefs in a recent article she wrote entitled, Stop Calling Yourself Old, Says a New Study. The study she refers to was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders, and finds that women of all ages complain about being old. The research links so called “old talk” to greater levels of body dissatisfaction, which can in turn lead to higher rates of eating disorders, anxiety, depression and more physical and mental health problems. In essence, calling yourself old can make you feel as bad about your body as calling yourself fat.

The truth is, the power of words to affect your emotions and actions are well demonstrated in science. For example, scientists have found that just hearing sentences about elderly people led research subjects to walk more slowly. In other research, individuals read words of ‘loving kindness’ showed increases in self-compassion, improved mood and reduced anxiety.

It’s important to listen to your self-talk and change the negative messages. Words have the power to transform you in either positive or negative ways, but you have both the ability and authority to choose. You are the author of your life and the words you use to tell your story will shape your reality. Self-deprecating humor, destructive comments about your body, and referring to your age in a negative way are counterproductive to your health and success. Change the tape!

Here are a few people who share my fascination for words:

“…of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible-and the most powerful-was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.”
― Paulo Coelho

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
― Emily Dickinson

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”
― Confucius

“There exists, for everyone, a sentence – a series of words – that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you’re lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.”
― Philip K. Dick, VALIS

“It doesn’t matter if you and everyone else in the room are thinking it. You don’t say the words. Words are weapons. They blast big bloody holes in the world. And words are bricks. Say something out loud and it starts turning solid. Say it loud enough and it becomes a wall you can’t get through.”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

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