Your Body Believes Every Word You Say

In the face of stress, we have lots of ways of expressing how we feel. Is one of these phrases a classic for you?

I can’t stand it!
I’m feeling really stuck….
I can’t seem to get my arms around the issue.
I hate getting the run around!
Dealing with this person is a pain in the neck!

It’s worth considering your verbal response to stress, because according to author Barbara Hoberman Levine, your body believes every word you say. In her book Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, she demonstrates how the words we verbalize, or even think, can have a profound impact on our bodies.

So, notice if one or more of these phrases is your usual way of responding to stressful situations. If so, spend a moment to express those phrases, and notice how they actually feel in your body. You may or may not notice a predictable physical place in your body. If you notice an unpleasant sensation, emotion, image, or memory, might your body be trying to tell you something?

You can also try a positive version of the phrase, like its opposite (if that makes sense) to see what happens. So, if you usually say, “I can’t stand it,” notice what happens if you say something like “I can stand it.” Notice if you might stand a little straighter, or something else happens to your stance. How does this feel?

For “I’m feeling really stuck” try….”I no longer feel stuck.”
For “I can’t seem to get my arms around the issue” try….”I am getting my arms around the issue.”
For “I hate getting the run around” try…..”I am no longer getting the run around.”
For “Dealing with this person is a pain in the neck!” try….”Dealing with this person makes my neck comfortable,” or, perhaps more natural: “I no longer feel pain in the neck dealing with this person.”

See what happens when you pay attention to the body-centered language you use. Is it usually around certain circumstances? Or when you feel specific emotions? Is the language you are using reinforcing positive or negative health?