“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a pile of bullshit.
Words hurt us all the time. Words make you feel small, stop you getting what you want and are probably the biggest cause of anxiety and depression out there.
It’s not the words that other people say to us that cause you the problem, because they are outside of our control, and as I’ve said before, we don’t need to give a f**k about what other people think. It’s the words we say to ourselves that are causing us the biggest problem, and most of the time, we don’t even know that we are doing it.
I’ve recently become acutely aware of how people around me are talking about anxiety. Let me say right here, I believe that what these friends are feeling is real, and I’m not suggesting that it’s all semantics, but I also believe that looking at the vocabulary they use could help, even if just a little.
“I’m struggling with MY anxiety.” There is ownership here, MY pink jumper is 2 sizes too small, and has a bleach stain on one sleeve, it hasn’t been worn it for 3 years, but it’s mine so it’s still in my wardrobe. It’s much harder to let go of something you own. If you looked at anxiety in a shop you’d put it down again, the price is too high.
“Right now I feel a bit anxious” might work better – “Right now” puts a time frame on it…it’s not permanent. “A bit” quantifies the feeling, minimising helps a lot here….if you can down play the words you are using, perhaps the feelings will follow. A tad, a smidgeon, a soupcon anxious.
The thought of an “Anxiety Attack” scares the shit out of me – and no wonder! Attacks are never good…you don’t get chocolate attacks, puppy attacks or love attacks do you?! Attack is a violent and negative word. Attacks are out of our control and leave us battered and bruised with lots of healing to do.
“A wave of anxiety” I find easier to handle. I know when a wave hits it’s soon going to get dragged away again. Sure my feet will get cold and wet and I might get sand in my shoes but I have the choice to walk away from the waves; back up the beach to get a 99 hopefully.
I’d love to hear how you would change the words you’re using to change your thoughts and feelings, leave a comment or get in touch!