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10 Ways to Improve Your Happiness by Changing Your Vocabulary
You’ve heard about the power of positive thinking, right? Everyone’s raving about it. If you simply think positively, rainstorms will turn into rainbows, red lights will turn green, and your in-laws will suddenly turn into human beings. Right? Right?!
Well, it’s true… all except for the “simply” part. Because taming the wild stallion of your randomly rampaging thoughts is not really that simple and not really that easy.
I’ll tell you what you can control, though: your words. By making a few changes in your vocabulary, you can turn steaming piles of crap into 100% organic fertilizer. You can turn an inconvenient power outage into cuddle time with your sweetie. And you can turn obligations into opportunities. Words shape thoughts, and you’ll find that if you change your words for the better, your thoughts will change for the better too, and so will your life.
1. Should Have you heard the expression “Stop shoulding all over yourself”? Well, let’s clean that “should” off your pants and replace it with some organic fertilizer, because every obligation can be rephrased as a desire. Instead of “I should go to the store,” how about “I want to go to the store because I’m hungry and I want to buy some food”?
2. Ought “I ought to get this work done before I go to the party.” What do you want to do? Weigh your preferences. How good or bad would you feel about getting the work done first? How good or bad would you feel about leaving it undone? Figure out what you most want, and then do it. In any case, let go of the obligation. “I want to get this work done before I go to the party, because I’ll feel a lot better once it’s finished.”
3. Need to “I need to walk the dog.” How about instead, “I want our dog to be happy and healthy, and I want to have a nice, clean, poop-free house, so I’m going to walk the dog.”
4. Have to “I have to go to work.” Well, no. You don’t have to. It’s just that your actions have consequences. Even if you don’t enjoy the process of getting there, you might really want the end result. So maybe a more positive way to phrase it would be, “I want to make money, so I’m going to go to work.” Keeping your goal in mind can make the process of getting there better for you.
5. Must “I must go to bed now or else I’ll be tired and groggy all day tomorrow.” Okay, you got me, nobody actually talks like this. But you get the idea, right? “Must”, another obligation word, and again you can rephrase it positively as a desire. “I’ll go to bed now because I want to feel alert and awake tomorrow.” Doesn’t that take a weight off your shoulders and make you feel better about it?