Take a moment and have a little think. What’s the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you? When was it? What had happened? Where were you at the time? How did it make you feel?
Oh dear. That sounds horrible. (And, just for the record some people find that a very endearing quality.)
Now – have another little think. What’s the loveliest thing anyone has ever said to you? When was it? What had happened? Where were you at the time? How did it make you feel?
I’m going to take a punt and if you’re anything like me (for which there should be some sort of support group) then you came up with a whole list of stuff for the first bit of thinking, and I bet you could fill in all the details too.
What about the second bit of thinking? Yeah – not so easy was it.
Now – here’s an even bigger kicker. When did you last say something negative, hurtful, shaming and downright unpleasant to yourself? It could have been out loud, or in the privacy of your own mind. (Mine was barely an hour or so ago when I spent ages looking for my phone which I had carefully put in my pocket just moments before. I called myself a ‘stupid girl’ out loud. And let’s not even start with what I was saying to myself when I couldn’t bind in Marichyasana D today.)
Now you know what I’m going to say, don’t you? Yep – when was the last time any of us said something nice to ourselves? Again, if you’re anything like me you’ll have run out of paper for the first list and are now doodling because you can’t think of anything for the second one.
A recent pieces of research by Bangor and Kent University have shown that runners who were flashed (stop it) positive cues, like smiling faces or positive words, were able to run for longer than when exposed to negative words. What makes this even more interesting (to me) is that the words such as ‘go’, ‘energy’, ‘toil’ and ‘tired’ appeared for such a short time the runners weren’t even aware that they had seen them.
It’s one thing to show the power of positive words on humans because, well, most of us can read and understand the nuances of language. But what about things which aren’t sentient beings? (And no I don’t mean One Direction.) Surely they can’t be influenced by words? Oh yes they can.
One of my very favourite bits of research which shows the, quite frankly, alarmingly awesome power of positive words was carried out by a guy called Dr Masuru Emoto. He and his team were curious about the molecular structure of water, and how it could be influenced. They took water samples and simply placed positive (and negative) words on to different containers in which they were stored, comparing the shape of the molecules before the words were there and after. What they found was astounding. You can read more about itHERE but suffice to say the beauty of the molecules of samples which had been given the nice words are breathtaking compared to the gnarled, uneven, warped molecules of those subjected to the not-so-nice words.
About the only thing I remember from studying Biology at school (Apart from how to measure the energy in a peanut and boy has that served me well?! No. No it hasn’t.) is the statistic that we are 90% water.
You know where I’m going with this don’t you, you beautiful person? Well, if words are powerful enough to make runners run for longer and for water to change it’s very make up, then perhaps we need to think about how we use them. For the benefit of each other and ourselves.