Give these words the big “get out of here and never come back” if you want to develop your mental strength and reduce your stress.
These words have special powers. And when left to their own devices they can sabotage your mental strength. They are especially good at sneaking in when you’re feeling your most vulnerable – after pulling an all-nighter due to a big project, or tinkering on the verge of a head cold, or just juggling a few too many deadlines.
We’ve all succumbed to their comforting tones, but the time has come. Eviction.
I used to say it a lot. “I should’ve gone for a run today” or “I should’ve written my blog for Startup Creative by now” or “I should’ve phoned mum yesterday”. The unspoken words that follow these “should” sentences are “but I didn’t”. And worse, these unspoken words are thoughts, and these thoughts are seeping in and giving my self-esteem a bollocking.
The more we “should” ourselves, the more we are reinforcing the negative, and the fact that we didn’t stick to our plan.
2. I can’t
Of course, it may be truthful to say we can’t do something because we don’t have the necessary skills or resources. I don’t know about you, but I like to think I have a “can do” attitude and not a “can’t do” one.
A “can do” attitude means I may not have the skills and resources now, but I can learn them or attain them to achieve my goals.
“I can’t” will erode your sense of power and control which is your belief that you can directly influence events and outcomes in your life, and that you can cope when things are outside your control.
3. I’ll try
It’s just wishy washy, isn’t it? There’s a bit of a “get out” clause stapled to it. “I’ll try but don’t be mad if I don’t!” It sounds tentative, unsure, and lacking in confidence. The special powers “I’ll try” has is to sabotage your self-esteem and anxiety. It knows you’re worried about what others think of you so it kicks out “I can” and slides right in. Be confident with the preparation you have put in to achieve your goals!
4. Sooooooo stressed
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say this to me, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog right now. I’d be riding my bike around Spain, drinking coffee, and eating paella. Even if you weren’t technically stressed when you said these words, you probably are afterwards. Words are powerful. Labelling something impacts the way you view it. One research study compared how a medical condition was perceived when it was given its established common name or a newer more serious sounding medicalized label (Young, Norman, Humphreys, 2008). People rated the conditions as more serious, more representative of a disease, when they had the medical label attached.
So labelling yourself as being “sooooooo stressed” when in fact you’re a bit busier than normal, isn’t helping your mental strength.
Our language drives our beliefs and thinking. And our beliefs and thinking drives our language. Turn this vicious circle into a virtuous one. Your mind will love you for it.