The Power of “YES"
Scientists and Psychologists have done studies (via MRI) and found when a person sees the word “no” flashed on a screen for less than 1-second neurotransmitter substances and stress producing hormones are quickly released in the brain. These chemicals disrupt normal brain functioning; impair logic, reasoning, language processing and communication. Seeing a list of negative words for a few seconds will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse. The more you think about the words, the more you can damage key structures that regulate memory, feelings, and emotions. You’ll disrupt your sleep, appetite and the ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction. Then if you vocalize “no” or even frown a bit while doing so MORE stress chemicals are released not only in your brain but the listeners. The listener then experiences increased anxiety and irritability, which results in undermining cooperation and trust. What a spiral! How we overcome our neurological bias for negativity is to repetitiously and consciously generate as many positive thoughts as we can. Some psychiatrists believe we must generate three to five positive thoughts for every negative or we likely will fail! Positive words and thoughts propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and help us build resilience to handle life’s problems. Even if the positive thoughts are irrational they will still enhance well being and happiness.
Now put this information into the scope of workout self talk. What do you say to yourself about exercise? While exercising? “I can’t”, “I’m weak today”, “No time”, “I’m so tired”. Do you say them with a growl on your mug? My advice: when you hear yourself saying negative words like this say to yourself or out loud exactly the opposite: “I’m excited”, “I can”, “Now”, “Win”, “Strong”, “Energetic”. Even if you don’t believe yourself the words will stop negative thoughts, change facial expression, perhaps make you smile and surely motivate change.
Psychologist’s advice: choose your words wisely and speak them slowly. This will allow you to interrupt the brain’s propensity to be negative, and as research has shown, the mere repetition of positive words like love, peace, and compassion will turn on specific genes that lower physical and emotional stress. You’ll feel better about your life, health and exercise, build more trusting relationships at home and work and live longer. That is the power of “Yes”.
Until next month...
Kimberly Chase, CFT. AFT.