Be Mindful of Your Words

Negative Words

I like to challenge my students to be mindful of the words they are speaking about themselves or their circumstance. Recently I had this conversation with a group of students and thought I’d share. We say so many things out of habit, but if we really take the time to listen, we might find that we speak many more negative words than positive. Our words reflect what we think and believe… and not only that, our words can change how we feel. We believe our own inner dialogue about ourselves more than anyone else, so I encourage you to be aware of what you are thinking and speaking. Many times, students will announce to me that they are sure that they will fail an exam. They usually seem taken aback when I tell them that I believe them! If you are speaking and believing that you will fail an exam, then I believe you. You are defeating yourself with your negative mindset! I hear these types of things regularly; I’m never going to pass, I can’t take tests, I just can’t retain information, I’m sure something will come up to keep me from studying, it always does, I just can’t do it, I can’t handle this…. I get it, student life can be stressful; the expectations students deal with are tremendous, and sometimes it might feel overwhelming. In those times it’s important to re-evaluate your goals, then make the changes necessary to achieve them. ...Goals are so vital that we require students to list their goals for taking the class on the first day! More on that later...

Struggle with test taking? Have trouble retaining information? Use available resources to learn tips and ideas, attend a test taking course, webinar, or even watch YouTube videos. Schedule daily study time just like it is an appointment that must be kept. Allow yourself time to reflect on your goals for taking the course to help you feel motivated to study. Teach your topic to someone else,…Ok I'm sure you get the point. Instead of defeating yourself with a negative mindset followed by negative words, make the behavior changes that are necessary to achieve what you want. If we tell ourselves something enough we will begin to believe it. If we constantly say “I can’t” and “I don’t have time” and “I’m not smart enough,” the repetition creates a go-to response. I encourage you to begin to recognize negative speech and the negative thought behind it to help you change your response!

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