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Kind regards: how the words you choose make a difference

Five simple ways that using kind words can benefit how you and others feel 

Can the words we use completely change how we feel? If you find yourself using negative words – such as “hate”, “don’t” or “not” – chances are you’re going to start seeing everything in a less positive way. In their book Words Can Change Your Brain, neuroscientists Mark Robert Waldman and Dr Andrew Newberg argue that using negative language can activate our fear responses and increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. On the other hand, using positive words can boost our reasoning abilities, they claim.

What’s more, according to a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Oxford, when using positive language by practicing kindness towards others, it causes a “small but significant increase” to a person’s subjective wellbeing. In other words, kindness may not transform your life, but it should “nudge it in the right direction”.

Bethan Davies, a life-coach, agrees that giving compliments doesn’t just benefit others but “will help you feel better too.” Davies believes that both in life and business, kindness can be hard to come by – but it can be a powerful motivator. “Use positive words on yourself first thing, like ‘I am good enough to do X’ or ‘I will get that report done by the deadline set’,” she suggests.

 

"Using positive words can boost our reasoning abilities and subjective wellbeing"

 

“I’ve started engaging with people using phrases like ‘you’re great’ and ‘it’s wonderful’, rather than just saying ‘ok’,” says Elula Johnson, who works in policy. “I definitely feel like a more positive person just by using kinder, affirming words when speaking to people.”

While it’s not helpful to be artificially positive or deny difficulties faced by ourselves or others, becoming aware of the language we use can help us respond more constructively to our own and other people’s circumstances. Here are some of the ways you can practice using kinder words every day: 

 

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This article has been created by Positive News and selected by Simple.

Words: Eleanor Ross 

Two girls walk along a street with their arms around each other Featured image credit: Andrea Tummons

In work emails image credit: Austin Distel

In a journal image credit: Aaron Burden

In conversation image credit: Alex Holyoake

In the mirror image credit: Roberto Delgado Webb

In support image credit: Mhrezaa

 

Acts are adapted from Good and Kind which lists 100 ways to make the world a ‘kinder’ place

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