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Changing Your Vocabulary for Optimism and Motivation

Did you know that by simply changing your vocabulary in everyday life, you can change your perception of life itself? This means you can become more optimistic, can motivate yourself, and can enhance your focus all by changing your word selection. The following information may change your life, so be prepared.

Our language effects how we perceive the world around us and how we cognitively process things. As a student studying with a psychology minor, this was one of my favorite topics in my cognitive psychology course. It absolutely fascinates me! I encourage you to check out this fascinating TED Talk by Lera Boroditsky, an associate professor of cognitive science at University of California San Diego and editor in chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology.

The brain is incredibly powerful. With that being said, by altering our vocabulary to be more optimistic, motivational, etc. over time we can change the way our brain perceives various stimuli.

Let’s say you want to be more optimistic. You can change negative expressions and emotional words into words that have lower intensities.

  • Turn “anxious” into “expectant”

  • Turn “overwhelmed” into “busy”

  • Turn “angry” into “disenchanted”

And the then you can do the opposite with positive words, simply increase the intensity.

  • Turn “excited“ into “ecstatic”

  • Turn “good“ to “exuberant”

  • Turn “strong“ into “invincible”

The same can be done for motivation (or a lack thereof) too.

  • Turn “I can’t” into “I can’t right now, but I’m going to work towards it”

  • Turn “motivated” to “compelled” or “driven to”

  • Turn “I have to...” into “I get to...”

Now this isn’t a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, and it takes practice. But I encourage you try it out over the next couple of weeks. Start by writing out common words in your vocabulary and changing them into more optimistic or motivational words. Then over the next week or two put them into practice. Whenever you feel an emotion, identify it, and use those new words to describe it in your head. When someone asks you how you are doing or how you are feeling, put those new vocabulary words into action! I have tried this out, and I saw notable differences in my mood and motivation levels. Let me know if this works for you!


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