• Jennifer Rivers

The Power of Language: How It Shapes Our Lives and Health

Words are powerful and the universe is always listening to what we say.

For many years, I taught elementary and middle school with an emphasis on writing, exploring language and story. Each morning, I’d have my students begin their days writing a personal response to a question I’d pose on the board. They’d take their writer’s notebooks out and begin writing, silently, for 15 minutes. Most of the time, the kids would want to write longer than the allotted 15 minutes because the question touched something inside them. It let them focus on their inner lives and explore their dreams, visions and fears. Their writer’s notebook was a place where they could let it all out.

As I worked with the kids and with my own writing I began realizing that the words we chose to tell our stories were informing in several important areas of our lives, such as where we were in our soul’s journey, what themes we were exploring, and issues we needed to work out. After over two decades of working in the healing arts, I know now more than ever that the words we speak and the words we say to ourselves, over and over each day, conscious and unconscious, shape our lives and our health.

If I’m feeling tired, confused, or sad, I know that the quality of my thoughts will affect my mood and either pull me out of my funk or keep me there longer. But if I’m rested, had time for self-reflection in the morning, and my energy is good, I’m always able to speak positively to myself. I’ve found that by prioritizing a morning ritual to reinforce the positive self-talk (and my son even does it, which helps!) I feel positive energy more and more of the time.

You are a child of the universe. Whole, complete and perfect. There is nothing you can do to be any more whole, complete or perfect. When we feel we need to “change” something about ourselves, it’s never something outside of us that needs to change but rather, a need to change the way we think or in the way we speak to ourselves.

Try this:

  1. Think of a word you can eliminate from your vocabulary. For example, I don’t use the word “should” or “shouldn’t” as it implies I’ve done something wrong or I’m going to do something wrong. Like, “I shouldn’t buy that ________.” So, shoulding on myself is not an option! By eliminating this word, I am freeing myself to choose a more empowering way of speaking.

  2. Now, replace should with an empowering one. For example, instead of should say could or choose. “I could save the money for (the thing you really want).” By saying “could” instead of “should” there is a powerful shift in the energy. You have a choice AND you’re not making yourself wrong.

  3. Take it a step further. Make a list of all disempowering words in your vocabulary and replace them with positive words. Use the new words throughout your day and see if there’s a shift in your energy and your health.

Let me know what happens for you!! In love & health,


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