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The Impact of our Words (a happiness “hack”)

Neuro-Linguistic Programming shows us that our vocabulary directly affects our attitude.

The way we use words, the tone and even the volume impact us at a cellular level. Tony Robbins shares a similar philosophy - “Change your words, change your life.”

Understanding this and making an effort to be conscious of our communication can result in a HUGE shift in three core areas:

  1. Our mood

  2. Our relationships, and

  3. Our mental outlook on life.

There is strong power behind what you say and how you say it. Let’s break down a few examples of how neuroscience can positively impact your brain.

“I Have To” VERSUS “I Get To”

Think about how many times you say “I have to” on any given day. Reflect for just a moment.

Transforming the phrase “I have to” into “I GET to” changes the way our brain processes things.

“I GET TO” is a language of privilege.

  • Turn “I have to work out this morning” into “I GET TO work out this morning”. Your brain processes: What a privilege to be healthy and be physically able to care for my body.

  • Instead of “I have to write a new blog post today”, say “I GET TO write a new blog post”. Your brain processes: What a privilege to have readers who actually care what I have to say.

  • Rather than “I have to spend one-on-one time with each of my kids”, think “I get to connect with each one of my kiddos today”. Your brain processes: What a privilege that I can have fun with them while they still are interested in me.

  • Change “I have to stop by the grocery store on my way home” to “I get to stop by the grocery store”. Your brain processes: “What a privilege to live in a place and at a time where we don’t have to forage for food.”

A self-talk exercise for positivity and mindfulness

The first step is to be aware of your vocabulary. The second step is correcting yourself every time you use the statement “I have to”.

As soon as you are aware you’ve said “I have to”, out loud, verbally say “I get to”, and follow that with a powerful statement. Here’s an example:

She thinks to herself: “Argh, I have to do the laundry.”

She stops her thought process and out loud she says “I get to do that laundry. How amazing is it that I can clean all of our clothes in my own home without having to leave my house. How incredible is it that I don’t have to wash each piece of clothing with my own hands. I have a machine that can do that AND one that even dries them! WHOOOOT!”

It may sound ridiculous BUT over time this is how you train your brain to level up your happiness.

Eliminating ALWAYS & NEVER from your vocabulary

Another important concept about our vocabulary: Try and omit the words ALWAYS and NEVER.

These are words of absolute and are most often used falsely. They are also relationship destroyers (even with yourself).

“Ugh, I’m always so awkward.” “You never take out the trash.” “I always have to make the kids lunches.” “You always disappoint me.”

We build trust when we say what we mean. Using “always” and “never” are trust killers because they so rarely represent what we truly mean. Try catching yourself when you say them and stop and think…

“Never... really? He NEVER puts his towel in the basket?” You may find that what you originally thought isn’t actually true. Sometimes he does put the towel in the basket, and there was that time he carried the laundry basket downstairs…


It’s crazy how such simple words can hold so much power.

Let’s not give our vocabulary, or our attitudes, a false sense of negativity. Just having read this blog, you will start to notice. You may be surprised how often you say these phrases. Make a conscious effort for ONE week to pivot and see the difference.




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