Words carry energy and power. Dr. Emoto, a Japanese scientist, has done some interesting work on water and the influence words have on water crystals. In a nutshell, Dr. Emoto would place words in a beaker of distilled water and then take pictures of the water crystals. I have found that the words and its associated pictures are astounding and a testament to the power and energy that words carry. Here are a few example of Dr. Emoto water crystals (Most of these pictures come from the book “The Hidden Messages in Water” by Dr. Masaru Emoto):
I know this one is hard to read so I will type up the caption. Top picture caption: When the children said “you’re beautiful” a few times. Middle picture caption: When the children said “You’re beautiful” several times. Bottom picture caption: When the water was ignored. The bottom of the page reads: When the water was told “You’re beautiful” several times, it resulted in crystals more well-formed then when the water was only told this a few times. The crystal formed by the ignored water was the last complete.
|Note how the water crystal formed for “You Fool”(picture to the left)|
|The phrase placed on this beaker was “You make me sick. I will kill you.”|
Here is a video clip from the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know” that does an excellent brief summary of Dr. Emoto’s work and at the end of the 3 min clip leaves and interesting comment to ponder.
The words and attitudes we use have a lasting impact on us and those in our circle of influence. I know for me, knowing the powerful influence that words have, makes me think twice about what I say in my inner dialog. Still, we have all had those mornings when it’s time to wake up and we go to the gym and we say to ourselves “I don’t want to go” or “I don’t want to.” Furthermore, when we are doing a tough run or hard WOD we start to say self defeating comments in our heads: “I can’t do this any more” or your body is just screaming “stop, this sucks.” Knowing what I know about words, you can see how I struggle when I hear people say “how many reps are you going to submit yourself too” or “That work out sucked.” Even more so, in CrossFit they name a work out like “Fifty Fifty” or “Dirty Thirty” (do not get me wrong I love CrossFit). But simple changes in our words can have a shift in the energy of battling or going to war to creating an energy of harmony and unity. How about “Fantastic Fifty”, “that work out pushed me to my limits and I overcame it”, or “I am going to flirt (or dance) with 100 reps”.
Its moments when we reach our limits and attempt to push beyond our capabilities that we can use the benefit of words to help us or its those moments where they will be utilized against our goals. Here are few helpful tips I have learned to use words to one’s benefit:
1. Utilize Positive Affirmations on Daily Bases. Oftentimes the first thing I think of with positive affirmations, I think of the Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley and his mocker of these statements.
without the parody and making fun of these statement they can feel pretty weird and awkward at first. Still, if you think of Dr. Emoto’s water crystals and how the negative or positive affirmations effect water and knowing that the majority of a human being is made up of water, our inner dialog is crucial stepping beyond our limits. Using the simple phases like “I will overcome this”or “I am bigger then this problem”. Choose a quote or a phrase for someone, someone you look up to and write it down and when the adversity comes repeat the phrase. It works, I promise. Give it a try.
2. Replace Negative Inner Dialog with Words that Empower You. Changing our words or re-languaging is a great way to tap into the power and energy of words. Well, let’s see what an average person’s inner dialog contains: humans have anywhere form 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Nintey-eight percent of those thoughts are the same as the day before so the cycle of inner dialog repeats. Eighty percent of those thoughts are negative. So we are having the same negative thought and beliefs again and again each day. We can change that and support ourselves. Here are a few simple words that you replace from your vocabulary and will empower you to take charge and change your negative self talk.
Replace the word “Impossible” with the phrase “I’m not willing to put the time/energy into that” Replace the word “Never” with “I’m not willing wait that long”
- Replace the word “problem” with “opportunity”
- Replace the word “Can’t” with “I won’t”
I remember teaching a young girl, named Angel, in therapy this word replacement strategy and she called the word that needed to replace the “never,” “should,” and “can’t,” complaints about circumstances as Victimisms. I have to agree with her description. When we use these victimisms we are portraying that we are powerless and there is nothing we can do about a given circumstance, but the re-wording puts the ownership back on us to take action. Jenifer Read Hawthorne made this comment about vitimisms. “Negative thoughts are particularly draining. Thoughts containing words like “never,” “should,” and “can’t,” complaints, whining or thoughts that diminish our own or another’s sense of self-worth deplete the body by producing corresponding chemicals that weaken the physiology.” Give it a try. See what happens when you replace victimisms with words and phrases that put the ownership where it needs to belong to create the desired growth.
3. Begin the Process of Controlling Your Thoughts. I most recently have been introduced to concept called Mindfulness from a therapy model called DBT. Mindfulness in based on Zen practices and mediation. Its a great practice to increase awareness, decrease impulsiveness, and to take control of our thoughts and not let the fleeing thoughts take control of where our minds focus on. If you take 5 to 10 mins a day to practice mindfulness you can take control of your mind and not let it take control of you. You can practice mindfulness by 1. describe something or 2. observing what is going on without using words to label what’s going on. If you find your mind wondering off to something else, take your attention back to what you are describing or observing. Furthermore, while you describe or observe you need to practice 1) having a non-judgmental stance. Removing value or rating something. Do not label it as good or bad, nor beautiful or ugly experience it for what it is. 2) focus on one thing at a time. Do not let your mind wonder, focus on what you are doing in that moment. Focus on the here-and now, not the past or the future. Once you begin the process of controlling you thoughts you can allow the negative words to pass by and not let it take a seat in your mind and at the same time invite and entertain the positive thoughts.