No, I haven’t suddenly become a fitness guru with tips and techniques for the month ahead.

What I want to do in this article is highlight something that has become more apparent to me lately and that is all about our use of words and what that creates in our life.

I would like you to reflect on the language you use on a day-to-day basis and the impact it has (consciously and unconsciously) on you and others around you.

Let’s take the word ‘busy’. As you say it (and give it a go now so you can really experience it), it pulls the lips back and actually stresses the facial muscles. This affects the brain which releases a cascade of chemicals in response to the stress it is experiencing, keeping us ‘on edge’ and tense.

If you now substitute language like ‘many things to do’ for busy, you can feel the difference. It is relaxed and calm. Believe it or not, this causes a different set of chemicals to be released in the brain – chemicals that maintain a more positive approach to whatever we are doing.

It is amazing also to watch the response of others when you say you have ‘many things to do’ as opposed to being ‘busy’. People are initially curious when they hear these words. They instinctively slow down, as what they expected to hear has been substituted. These words enable more of a conversation and explanation and maintain an environment that is calmer and more open.

Making conscious choices about the words we use enables us to bring a different perspective to what we are working on, experiencing and encouraging in ourselves and others.

How different does it feel when you describe your plan to become healthy, rather than ‘lose weight’? ‘Becoming healthy’ opens up possibilities for a lot more than simply dieting or spending your time in the gym.

What does using language like ‘Yes… and…’ do to a conversation instead of ‘Yes… but…’? It enables you to build on an idea rather than negate it immediately. It provides an opportunity for the other person to continue to be engaged rather than feel shut down.

When you hear ‘We have a problem’, offer ‘What are the possibilities/opportunities?’ as a response. This encourages everyone to explore the situation from another perspective, rather than get caught up in everything that is going wrong.

When you might sigh and shrug your shoulders and say ‘That’s just the way it is’, stand up a little straighter, smile and say instead, ‘It is what I choose to make it’.

When we consciously choose our language and responses to situations we increase our own emotional health and enhance our wellbeing. Our impact is positive and we are more likely to achieve the outcomes we desire.

Have a go at substituting ‘I have many things to do’ for ‘I’m so busy’ and let me know what happens. I look forward to hearing from you.


Image by Dawid Zawiła at