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Challenge: 5 Words To Ditch For Emotional Health

Amy Scher's picture


I am known for reminding clients (and myself too!) to “be careful what you tell yourself, because you’re always listening.” Our self-talk makes such a gigantic difference in our perceptions and experiences. But, so does the language we use with others about our experiences.

I’ve been watching my vocabulary more and more lately and have decided to stop using 5 words that leave me swimming in energy I don’t want to align with. I know for certain changing your language can change your energy and your health and life too (I’m living proof).

I’ve decided though that it’s time to expand my hit list.

1. Busy

Definition: Having a great deal to do.
Busyness is an addiction. Our society prides itself on being busy – it means we’re doing, making things happen, being “useful.” But really, there is so much more to being grounded, in the flow, and present. “Busy” is an overused word that comes with some sort of honor. It becomes an excuse and we use it to prioritize. “I’m too busy to…” implies you don’t have a choice. Non-truth. I choose from today to never be “too busy” for the things that matter. Bye bye “busy.” I’ll let some other sucker claim you.

2. Overwhelm

Definition: Bury or drown beneath a huge mass. To overpower or crush.
Yeah, this one just isn’t pretty. I’m dropping the “over” and sticking with “whelmed.” Nothing can crush me and telling my body all day that I’m “overwhelmed” isn’t a good message to send it. I’d never even think of saying “you’re being crushed” over and over. From now on I’ll be whelmed with an awesome full list of things to participate in and whelmed with gratitude.

3. Anxiety

Definition: A feeling of unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
I don’t buy this one. The word “anxiety” doesn’t say exactly how you feel. I believe there’s some buried energy and using the general word of “anxiety” can let us off the hook of figuring out what’s really there. It’s repressed “something” in my opinion. I rarely have this one these days (although I am human), but when I do, I’m calling myself to the challenge of figuring out “what” is sitting beneath it just waiting to be acknowledged.

4. Chronic

Definition: Persisting for a long time or constantly recurring.
I’m all about beliefs and this is one I don’t wish to carry anymore. I’ve learned if a belief doesn’t work for you, you can “unsubscribe” so to speak. Chronic is something you are experiencing for a long period of time. And naming it “chronic” isn’t in any way aligning with the belief that it will pass sooner rather than later, right?

5. Should

Definition: Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
Should implies a mistake. It implies something was done wrong and there is someone to blame. From now on, I’m using “could” instead. I “could have” done this or that. Although I’m not sure I see the need to go there either. It’s easier to be easy on myself when I’m not telling myself my action was wrong, but rather simply looking at what the other side of the coin could have shown me. Either way, it’ll all be good!

Want to take the ‘Ditch These Words’ challenge with me?

I need buddies and you might just be surprised by what shifts when you change the energy behind your words.


Amy B. Scher's picture

Look at these amazing ideas!

Thank you for sharing everyone! I love Yoda's advice and am adding that one to my list, too. In fact, I made a decision about something this morning to just DO instead of TRY. Thank you!

Tara's picture

Hi Amy, Thanks for sharing

Hi Amy,

Thanks for sharing this! I accept the challenge to watch my words!
Especially no. 5, I wasn't aware 'should' implies a mistake and will certainly be changing to 'could'


Ines1970's picture

I am going to exchange 'I

I am going to exchange 'I should' for 'I will' or 'I want to', as it helps to form the resolve.
I'm altering 'you should' and 'you must' to 'you can', as it implies that the recipient can make up their own mind.

Ines1970's picture

There is no 'try'...

I am following the advice of Yoda, who wisely said "Do, or do not; there is no 'try'". This means that when I consider something, I make a commitment. Either to embrace it as something I want and then to do it, or I accept the consequences of not doing it, then let it go.

To tell someone 'I'll try' is like saying 'It might happen but I don't intend to put in any effort', or 'I might do it, if something better doesn't turn up'.

In this way we have made the action into a default position, which sits in the back of our minds as a 'maybe'. Uncertainties like this lead to more stress for ourselves because we 'don't know' what might happen. We have dis-empowered ourselves, by not making a choice.

It is also disrespectful to others to reply with a maybe, as they often cannot continue to make their own plans without a definite reply. It is far more helpful to say 'I really can't manage it that day' than to leave them waiting and hoping.

If we commit to something verbally and then remember that we have a prior engagement. Mobile devices mean that contacting people is so much easier these days. It is best to advise a cancellation as soon as we know, showing respect to the person who invited us.

Thank you for your article. It has reminded me to be definite and sincere in my replies.

Mariel 's picture

Mine is trying not to use

Mine is trying not to use "busy". I believe that if it's important enough I am never too busy and if I feel that way, something has got to give.i rather use the word "occupied." To me that means I am choosing to be occupied by the task at hand or fore coming, and only I am responsible for that kind of time management. No more "busy"

Ines1970's picture

I also like this, as

I also like this, as 'occupied' sounds less formal than having 'a prior engagement', but more sincere than 'busy'.

Amy B. Scher's picture

I love that!

I love "occupied" instead of busy. Thanks for sharing. I might just borrow it :)

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