“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” – Rudyard Kipling
You might be asking yourself “What does communication have to do with my health?” A lot! It is estimated that 92% of the time we are internally speaking to ourselves and only 8% of the time we are speaking to others.
Our self-talk not only affects our psychological health, but directly impacts our physical well-being, too. For example, have you ever told yourself how nervous you were repeatedly before a presentation? What happened? You likely had symptoms such as of shakiness, sweating palms, rapid heart rate, dry mouth, muscle tension, mentally blanking out, upset stomach and shortness of breath.
We communicate with our body everyday, so it’s important to be mindful of what we are saying inwardly and thinking. The relationships in our lives are important to our health, so for the rest of the time we spend talking with others, strong communication is essential for strong relationships.
How Is Your Communication Today?
Check in with yourself to see how you are communicating now. What thoughts are running through your mind? Is your inner critic chatting with you? What words are you using? Notice what you are noticing and make this a regular practice.
Here are a few key phrases to listen for:
Victim language – they made me, I have to do this, they did this to me, there was no choice. This language shows that we don’t believe we are in control of ourselves.
Language of lack – I can’t, I don’t have enough, that’s too expensive, I tried. This indicates an experience of desperation and deprivation.
Language of fearfulness – I don’t know, I’m unsure, I can’t decide. This shows that we are distrustful and lack faith.
What Are You Feeding Your Mind?
Aside from the output of communication, what are you putting in your mind? What kind of information do you consume? Consider the following sources: movies, TV, what you read, images you view, what you look at online. Who do you hang out with and what conversations do you engage in?
Take a ruthless inventory of your current level of communication with yourself and others. As they say: garbage in, garbage out! Changing out words and creating healthier patterns of thinking will be covered in Part II!