What we say to ourselves is just as powerful as what we say to other people. Even those of us that don't like to admit that we talk to ourselves ;-) - most of us can acknowledge that we often think through language. We think 'I'm going home' and then we get in the car and go home. Or we think 'I'm so tired' and it reflects how we feel.
Language triggers behaviours and emotions
The fact is, our language is a trigger for patterns of behaviour that are often unconscious. This is evident with the classic driving example. If you have ever got in the car to drive home from work and then suddenly you're home and you think...hang on...I think I missed the last 10 minutes of the journey... You literally can't recall making the last few turns. But there you are, safely at your house. How did it happen?
Well, our unconscious mind is very powerful, we run on autopilot a lot of the time. It frees up the conscious part of our brain to think through all the other stuff going on. But the reason you ended up on home was that you consciously thought 'I'm going home'. This told your unconscious to run the programme of how to drive and how to navigate your way home.
Why is this important?
If what we say to ourselves triggers automatic behaviours we need to be aware that this can happen with less useful things too. For example if I say to myself 'I'm so tired', I'm so bored', 'It's too difficult' etc. I have unconscious programmes for how to respond to these and they are not going to lead to particularly useful behaviour.
Say what you would like to experience
Although this might sound like you are just lying to yourself - you will be surprised at how effective this is. It can give you a much needed boost in the right direction but it will also start to create a habit on focusing on what is right, rather than everything that is wrong. Too many people repeatedly say negative things about themselves and after a while they actually start to believe it. Focus on and say what you want to experience. This will trigger automatic programmes that lead to positive emotions and behaviours.
How language affects others
Changing the language you use with yourself is just the start. In the private Members Only Area of the Positive Teacher Network this is what one of the training modules is about. How to use language to get the results you want - from yourself and others. It goes into much more depth and discusses the power of Positive Negation.
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.