L is for Language
In an A to Z of Wellbeing you might expect “L” to stand for Love – and it does; but I wanted to talk about language because we are often not aware of how important our language is to our wellbeing.
We tend to speak without thinking so much of the time and taking a moment to reflect on how we’re using language could be a real-game-changer for you.
1) Think back to conversations that you’ve had in the past 24 hours. Jot down really important ones and try to remember “in passing” conversations too.
2) What can you remember about what you said and the response you got; and vice versa, what can you remember about what was said to you and how you responded?
3) Make a list of 3 parts:
1) positive phrases – things that you clearly intended to be positive, e.g. “I love you!”
(2) negative phrases – for example, things that might have said because you were upset, or you intended to upset.
(3) filler phrases – things that you say without really thinking but that actually have a meaning to them even though you don’t hear or mean the meaning anymore.
So, whilst I don’t mean “please put your washing in the laundry basket!” I mean things that have more meaning than “err,” or “umm.” Try thinking of things that probably a few people have highlighted you use a lot over the years, such as “You know what I mean?” “Good job,” “Clever girl,” “Clever boy,” “Basically” or “Silly boy / girl.”
4) Review your lists, and write down what you actually meant by each thing you said. You might well have meant exactly what you said, but sometimes we say things that don’t really get our meaning or intention across, but it’s easier to say what comes to mind than trying to work out a more effective way to communicate.
5) Finally, for now, review how you speak to yourself. Are you speaking to yourself as you would to an adult or a child; are you speaking to yourself as someone you love or like to hang out with; or are you stuck with a challenging parental or teacher voice?
Do comment or message me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org with your reflections, questions or thoughts.
If you’re interested in understanding how you can use your language to empower your wellbeing please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 0845 643 9668.