"Language is powerful. Words matter."
Words can hurt.
Words can heal.
Words have power.
We use words to communicate with others, verbally and in writing; and we use them when we talk to ourselves - in other words, words create our thoughts.
Choosing our words carefully is critical to the type of life we want to live.
As the new year begins, it might be a good time for all of us to think about how we talk to ourselves and others about our current disabilities.
Some questions we can ask ourselves to ensure we’re focused on our full recovery, not the status-quo, are as follows:
1. Are my words forward-thinking or backward-thinking?
For example, do you tell yourself and others….
My hand doesn’t work yet, but she will!
Sometimes I say, She’s asleep for now, but she will wake up one day. I’m shaking her up a lot with my exercises, so I know that’ll get her out of her stupor when she is ready to arise from her slumber!
Or, are you saying...
It’s been “X” months/years since my stroke and I’m still without the use of my hand!
That may be the case, but changing your focus to the certitude of your recovery will serve you much better. And, research tells us we can recover many years post-stroke. As we exercise our “slumbering” limbs, our brains and try to use them in a useful way, are constantly creating new neural pathways, thanks to the beauty of neuroplasticity!
2. Are my words filled with positive or pity statements?
When someone asks ‘How are you doing’, how do you respond?
Do you say...
Well, I’m above-ground - that’s about the best I can say about my life these days!
Or, I’m doing great/just fine, how are you?
Or, I’m improving all the time!
It’s amazing how your body reacts to whatever you tell it, so keep that in mind the next time you comment on your current condition.
I was unaware of the extent of this fact until I read Your Body Believes Every Word You Say by Barbara Levine. Barbara had an inoperable brain tumor until she discovered the mind-body language link! She’s tumor-free today!
The current breakthroughs in science support this connection. Dr. Bruce Lipton describes some of these breakthroughs in his book, The Biology of Belief. (The Kindle version is on sale for $1.99 right now, click here!)
3. Are my words focused on others and their lives, or only on myself?
“Getting outside” of ourselves is very important to our psyche, so let’s not forget about our friends and relatives! They have lives too, with all its positives, negatives, and all that occurs in between!
I also encourage you to read inspiring books, use that gratitude journal I spoke about in my post during Christmas this year, click here to read. I would also like to add to that list a new book I’ve recently discovered, Words That Matter, by Oprah Winfrey. Here’s one of the quotes from her book:
"We become what we think about all day long."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Aphasia and Anomia
Let’s direct our attention to those of us who are unable to speak post-stroke, those with aphasia (loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage) and/or anomia (the inability to recall everyday objects). These side effects rank up there as the most frustrating and stress-filled side effect, because many survivors have no idea how to overcome this disability, and the inability to express yourself verbally is enormously frustrating! Aphasia generally affects those whose stroke occurred on the left side of the brain. I was one of the fortunate ones whose stroke occurred on the right side of the brain, but I can certainly empathize with those afflicted with one or both of these side effects.
For those of you afflicted with aphasia and/or anomia, I want you to know we have secured the services of two experts who will be writing articles on this topic for us in 2020. So, please hang in there - assistance is coming!
In conclusion, for those of us fortunate enough to be able to speak, let’s show our gratitude for this gift by using our words wisely and positively. To help you with this, you may want to read The Way of Gratitude, Readings for a Joyful Life, edited by Michael Leach, et al.
I do believe pursuing the practice of gratitude idea will enrich our lives, as well as the lives of others, in the new decade and beyond! I challenge you to join us this year, a new decade - and continue to recover and live again.
Have a beautiful day everyone!