Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me! As a child, I totally believed in the protective powers of this chant.
As an adult, I realize how ridiculous this notion is, because of course words can hurt you!
As an author, I respect the power of words.
Any fellow scribe or teacher will tell you the same. As Chuck Wendig said, ‘Writers know the power of words. Words change the world. Words have always been more effective than bullets when it comes to changing both the present and the future.’
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, and Mark Robert Waldman, a communications expert, collaborated on the book, “Words Can Change Your Brain.” In it, they write, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
At our Toastmasters meeting this week, one of the speakers ran a brainstorming session, about life purpose. He asked the question, what stops us from fulfilling our life purpose? I said, ‘Negative thoughts.’ It’s my belief there is nothing more damaging to our evolution than stinky thinking or speaking.
The science backs it up. The scientific research done by Dr. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman on this topic is fascinating. “By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action. And as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain.
Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with. A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality.”
At the beginning of this year, Michelle Buchanan, Numerologist for the Women’s Day magazine, did a numerology reading for me.
With regards fulfilling one’s life purpose, Michelle said, ‘It’s not just about trying to manifest the goal that you have, it’s about keeping your overall life force energy at a high vibration, which comes from what you think and believe about everything, from everything you think about your neighbours and your mother-in-law, to worrying about your waistline and cancer. Because all these things contribute to your overall life force energy, that is determining what you will attract and what you won’t attract. And it’s not just about that goal that you have, it’s everything.’
It’s the idea of using the right words to ‘keep one’s overall life force energy high,’ as Michelle put it, to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress, as the scientist and communication expert put it. In this way, by utilising such a simple thing as word choice, we can alter our reality.
Our word choice wields the power to influence either our good health or our state of stress.
This means we can literally control our own stress levels, by deliberately choosing the words we use, by turning the negatives into positives. How cool!
As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I set out this year to apply the rule of positive thinking with regards my every word, inner or outer. I’m here to report; I immediately experienced a lighter frame of mind right away that has been enduring.
In my life generally, I have noticed changes. An opportunity came up at Toastmasters last week, to represent my club at a public “Open Mic” event and it was another good step forward for me, in terms of personal development. Things like this seem to happen more often.
I feel more strongly than ever convinced that if we want to experience changes of any kind in our lives, we need to start first and foremost with our words. All our words, the things we say to others, the things we say to ourselves.
With this in mind, how’s this for a new playground chant: Words and thoughts may build my life but sticks and stones can never touch that!
Keep on Creating!
Yvette K. Carol
“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen” – Goethe
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