Words matter

Nice words, ugly words, kind words, curse words, thankful words, sad words, positive words, negative words. . . What kind of words you use, said with what tone of voice, at what time, and how many of them. . . it all matters in bringing joy of misery.  

Whether the environment of your home is joyful and uplifting or negative and miserable depends, in great measure, on the words you use.

Most of the time when people speak to each other, they’re doing a number of things that ultimately don’t lead to good communication, or to joy.  You can be very reactive in the ways that you respond to words.  You hear something and, even before you realize what you’re hearing, you have emotional responses.

You can become defensive very quickly.  Emotional responses can spring up from past experiences or from tone of voice, or. . . any number of things that have nothing to do with the intention of the one talking.  That’s why a soft start helps in starting communication on the right direction.

Research shows that the human brain can really only hold on to four things at a time, so if you go on and on for five or 10 minutes trying to argue a point, the person will only remember a very small part of that.

For effective communication, speak briefly.  Then let the other person have a response.  And by briefly I mean one or two sentences, maybe 30 seconds or so, because the human brain can take in and absorb a small amount at one time.

There’s a lot of evidence to show that negative words and negative emotions are detrimental to the brain, while positive words and positive emotions are beneficial.  So tone down negative words and speak more positive words.  People will respond better.

For example, if your honey asks for something and you are busy, instead of saying, “I can’t, don’t you see I’m busy?” say “Sure, as soon as I finish. . .”  Purposely stay away from words like “you always. . .” “you never. . .” “how can you be so. . . (negative words)”  Instead, substitute with positive words like “Thanks,” “I’m proud of you,” “I love you,” “That was nice!”  You get the idea!

Your turn:  This week say more positive than negative words and shorten your communication.  Make sure every day before you go to bed you have said at least 5 positive words or phrases to everyone in your household.


Dr. Ada