According to data extracted from testyourvocab.com where more than 2 million people have taken part in, an adult native speaker has a range of about 20,000 to 35,000 words in their vocabulary. From such a wide range of vocabulary you have, how does the choice of words you use in your daily routine affect your brain and the way you act? This article seeks to find out.
How word choice affects the brain
In their ground breaking research, prominent neuroscientist, Andrew Newberg, M.D. worked with Mark Robert Waldman to discover how word choice affects the brain. Their findings are published in the book ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’. In the book, they write that ‘a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.’ The paragraphs below are written in relation to their findings:
Positive words like “love” and “peace” exercises the frontal lobe of our brain, according to the authors. The frontal lobe of the brain is the part responsible for important cognitive skills like memory, judgement and emotional expression. By exercising the frontal lobe of your brain, it also helps to build resilience as it is essentially the part of the brain that are in charge of motivation.
Conversely, the researchers found that the usage of a single negative word can increase stress levels. When negative words are used, it increases the activity in the part of the brain that controls fear, the amygdala. This releases dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn interrupts the logic and reason functions of the brain.
Benefits of positive language
Using positive language also helps us to develop our self-esteem. The thoughts we have as a result of the usage of positive language changes the way we view ourselves and others around us. A positive view of yourself will bias you to see the good in people, whereas a negative self-image will lead to suspicion and doubt in others. This perception in others can greatly change the way you interact with them. Having a good perception of others makes it natural for you to be pleasant and forge friendships with them. Suspicion and doubt in the people around you will instantly distant yourself away from them.
Needless to say, the usage of negative language can cause unnecessary conflicts or confrontations. It has the subtle tone of blame and put the person you are speaking to in a defensive mode, adding obstacles to effective communication. On the other hand, positive language in general evokes feelings of being respected. This hastens the process of getting the job done and leaves a pleasant feeling to the people involved.
How you can change
Many of us probably have regretted saying certain things in a fit of anger once we have cooled down. The good news is that, with the habit of positive language, we can train our frontal lobes to be more effective so that we can be more logical and reasonable when dealing with a heated situation.
If you are unaware of the type of language that you are using, it is good to start paying attention to it by writing them down. The first place you can start using positive language is in your writing. Once you have developed the knack of writing positively, the use of positive language in your daily vocabulary will come more naturally. If you are working, start monitoring the way you frame your emails and speech over the phone. If you are a student, the best way to train your positive language is to try your hands on some customer service related jobs as it will provide you tons of practice!