016: Watch-Your-Language! It Could Put Your Longevity at Risk

016: Watch-Your-Language! It Could Put Your Longevity at Risk
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

Remember that annoying phrase you'd hear as a kid when someone said mean words to someone on the playground...?

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never harm me..."

I get it.

The idea that verbal force seems no match for physical force.

But I have to ask...

How's that working out for you?

Face it, words do harm you.

And as harmful as someone’s piercing words aimed at you, there are equally damaging words you encounter countless times a day.

I'm talking about the words you say to yourself - as in self-talk.

Aging well and being longevity-minded requires that you watch-your-language!

Give attention to the words you speak regarding your life, your health, and your future.

If not, self-talk could be undermining your life and legacy.

The language of longevity empowers you to transform negative self-talk into a new and compelling voice in your life

Think of negative self-talk like sitting through a bad movie or Netflix episode. The only thing keeping you from walking out or pushing pause is a choice.

Being longevity-minded prioritizes choosing your words - turning self-depreciating language into affirming language.

I'm talking about words that will help you:

  • Experience some recognition
  • Enjoy some rewarding results
  • Embrace your new potential

Recognize your accomplishments with some reflective self-talk

Comparing yourself to others or validating someone's inaccurate or uninformed criticism can cause you to de-value your accomplishments.

Think about how far you've come...

  • In your attitude
  • In your career
  • In your friendships
  • In your marriage
  • In overcoming an addiction
  • In your parenting or grand parenting
  • In alleviating your debt
  • In having or planning a productive retirement lifestyle
  • In starting and building a side-hustle

Comparison pales when you take inventory of your personal victories.

Tell yourself "good job" and keep moving forward.

Acknowledge your good decisions with some rewarding self-talk

Bad decisions often cloud your thinking about the good ones you've made.

How often does your self-talk include words such as:

"I always..."

"I never...

"I can't..."

"I'm a failure at..."

Those negative vibes create cognitive gaps that grow over time.

Tell yourself that you're one good decision away from a fresh start. And if you fail again, learn from it and leverage your knowledge.

You got this!

Shift your mindset with some reframing self-talk

Self-talk leaves major clues about whether you have a "growth mindset" or a "fixed mindset."

I've covered the compelling mindset work of Dr. Carol Dweck previously.

When it comes to self-talk and its relationship with your mindset there really is no middle ground - you're either intentional about growing or intentional about staying put.

Imagine holding an empty picture frame. You have the freedom to move it so all you see inside the frame is the one dark cloud in the sky. Or you can choose to move the frame slightly so what appears inside is the blue, sunny sky.

Reframe your self-talk in the same way and your mindset will follow.

  • Tell yourself what's going your way instead of what's working against you.
  • Tell yourself what you can do instead of what you can't do.
  • Tell yourself what you're responsible for instead of owning what isn't your responsibility.

Constructive self-talk disconnects you from the destructive vibes that shorten your longevity journey

  • Give yourself some much needed recognition
  • Reward yourself for making good choices
  • Change yourself by reframing what you see

The power of words go both ways - they can "harm" or help you.

And it's always a good idea to steer clear of those "sticks-and-stones..."

Press on...