Positive Words is a simple tool to improve your outlook. Prime your mind each morning with an inspiring thought and a positive word.

In this section, you will find resources and methods for using words and language to contribute to personal well-being.

  1. Gratitude
  2. Forgiveness
  3. NLP

1) Gratitude Journal

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

– Charles Dickens

A sense of gratitude can do a great deal for you. Research shows that grateful people are happier, have lower stress levels, sleep better, and cope better with life’s difficulties. This all makes sense, considering that we cannot simultaneously feel gratitude and hatred, anxiety, and dissatisfaction — or at least not very easily.

The question is, how can you increase your sense of gratitude? There are a couple ways that have been proven to work, simply by using your words.

Methods

The first method involves taking about 5 minutes a day to keep a Gratitude Journal. In one study, test subjects were split into 3 groups and asked to either record 5 things for which they were grateful, 5 recent life hassles, or 5 neutral life events. This was done once per week for 10 weeks. At the end of the experiment, the researchers found that the group that wrote items of gratitude saw more benefits than either the hassles group or the neutral group by the end of the experiment. A survey showed that they:

  • Were happier about their life as a whole
  • More optimistic about the upcoming week
  • Had fewer physical symptoms of illness
  • Exercised more hours per week [1]

In a similar study, participants were asked to write down three items of gratitude per day for one week. This exercise showed long term increases in happiness, the greatest increase actually occurring about 6 months after the exercise concluded. [2]

Try keeping either a a daily or weekly journal. You need at most 5-10 minutes per day.

2) Forgiveness Exercise

Many people harbor chronic anger or resentment because they are unable to forgive those who have wronged them. Chronic anger is linked to several physical and mental health problems, not to mention the perpetually unpleasant experience of having the anger itself. Studies at Harvard and Ohio State University show that anger contributes to [3, 4]:

  • Slower healing of wounds
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart disease

Method

There is at least one exercise you can perform to facilitate forgiveness, as proposed by Shakti Gawain, author of Creative Visualization. She says of the exercise, “Many people find that this process of forgiveness and release is miraculous in relieving them immediately of their long-standing burdens of accumulated resentment and hostility”. The basic steps are as follows:

1) Make a list of people in your life whom you feel have mistreated you, and briefly explain what it is they did next to their name.

2) Close your eyes and imagine a person on the list before you.

3) Have a conversation with them (mentally) explaining that you have felt anger and resentment towards them, but you are now doing your best to forgive them and release all negative emotions towards them.

4) Bless the person: say to them, “I forgive and release you. Go your own way and be happy”.

Repeat this process from time to time, for different people, as you feel is needed.

3) Neuro-Linguistic Programming

To be added.

Sources:

[1] Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation…

[2] The Grateful Disposition: A Conceptual and Empirical Topography

[3] Anger Problems: Effects of Poorly Managed Anger

[4] WebMD: How Anger Hurts Your Heart

http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/anger_problems.htm