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How Do I Change My Everyday Language to Be More Positive?

How you speak is a reflection of your thoughts, feelings, culture, social upbringing, and more. Your speech is nothing to be ashamed of, but it can shape how others see you and how you feel. For example, if you are a person who tends to speak negatively, or who comes off as abrasive due to a tendency to speak negatively, there are strategies to helping yourself speak more positively. 

It Starts With Your Thinking

Start practicing ways to think before you speak with your family and friends. A way you can exercise this is by thinking back to old conversations where you wish you had spoken a little differently. You may also practice with your family and friends. Pause before you respond. Think hard about the context and what they said. What are they expecting of you? Perhaps they are communicating that they want:

  • Praise or acknowledgment of an accomplishment
  • Validation for something related to you or another person you both know
  • Advice
  • Words of love or affirmation
  • Reassurance
  • Anger
  • A response to a question or matter of importance
  • Small talk
  • An introduction

Obviously, there are other reasons to communicate, but as you look at what response they are trying to elicit from you, think about how you normally respond. When someone is seeking advice, do you immediately think negatively about their idea, experience, or the other advice they have received? If you weigh out pros and cons with them, will you find more cons than pros? Some decisions may have more cons, but try actively reflecting on what goes through your mind as you consider your response. 

If a person is looking for words of affirmation, you may halfway joke or shrug it off, saying things like, “I guess you’re alright”, or “Well you’re better than your brother…”, rather than affirming that this person is important and means a great deal to you. Though this response is not inherently mean and can be seen as touching to some, it is not positive It does not clearly state that you love them. 

Some people will genuinely try to elicit anger or negativity from you, leading you to say negative things. Reflect on what you want to say and what strategies you can use to stay calm. If you are trying to make a point about why you are right, explain your point with facts over feelings. 

Take deep breaths and do not give them the power to make you angry. If you feel you cannot come to a solution with them, tell them that you need time away to speak to them when you are calm or when they are ready to hear what you have to say. 

You do not have to entertain a conversation where someone is trying to upset you; that is a boundary you get to set. However, if you find what they are telling you upsetting regardless, you may need further support with family, friends, or even a therapist. There is no shame in asking for help if you cannot work through a problem on your own. 

Swear Words

Swear words are not generally tolerated in polite, everyday language. Swearing in front of children or to scare people is seen as negative and will have social repercussions. Swearing in front of friends is generally tolerated and can be part of friendly banter depending on the context. 

Swear words are not inherently bad. Swear words, though taboo in general polite language, have the added benefit of relieving physical pain. According to Frontiers In Psychology, swear words will help alleviate pain, and those who use them to alleviate pain report higher pain thresholds. When tested against filler words serving as fake swear words, swear words still outperformed filler words in pain alleviation. 

If you are trying to improve your language, give yourself some filler words for emotional negativity. Perhaps you may still allow yourself to swear if you are physically injured, for example. You may also need help or a doctor to treat your injury. 

The Source of Negative Language

It is difficult to determine a source of generalized negative language, but most of it will come down to your mental health. Your best bet is to contact a doctor or mental health professional and nail down why you are feeling so negatively. General negativity is a symptom of anxiety, depression, and even certain mood and personality disorders. 

As you slow down and break down the messages you send to others, think about what your messages reflect about you. The National Institutes of Health provide social and emotional wellness toolkits to help you reflect on what may be bothering you and how you can make positive changes. 

Changing your language is difficult, as speaking is not something you generally think a lot about. If you’re someone who has struggled with mental health, addiction, or negativity your whole life, you may notice that a lot of your everyday language is negative. Finding therapy, treatment, and help for your specific needs may be the fix for your everyday language and other aspects of life. If you need a little help, call us. At RECO Intensive, we understand that life’s complexity and stressors can cause you to say negative things, and that’s okay. Self-expression isn’t a crime, but the social consequences can feel terrible. Our professional staff and experienced alumni can help you through addiction treatment, mental health treatment, and more. You’ll learn positive strategies for dealing with conflict and being more positive in general with others. As your mental health improves, your language will follow. Call us today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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