Five Magic Words
Read Time: 10 Minutes
When talking about SMaRT (Stress Management and Resilience Training) we don’t offer magic beans, magic pills, or magic wands. We’re not about the superficial bandaids and coping methods that make our lives and situations seem better for the moment. It’s about finding long-term, permanent solutions that build us up from the inside out while reducing the number of stressors we carry on our preverbal plates.
Because stress can be such a heavy weight, we have a tendency to overlook the simple solutions or wave them off as too trivial. When it comes to SMaRT, just the opposite is true. Getting back to basics and leveraging fundamentals is the key to becoming stress less. The way to get started is by using the five magic words. (I didn’t say I don’t use any magic. 😉 )
Too often our language is filled with words that keep us stuck, thinking small, and tucked securely in our own little box. When this happens our stress response is triggered because our brain senses danger; no way out, I’m trapped. It’s almost like a psychological version of a caged animal and we are fighting to get out. The more choices, options, and outcomes we see in a given situation the less our stress response is triggered.
Replace language that limits your outcomes with AND. Words like either/or, but, however, this/that are the kind of words that keep you small, stuck, and stressed. When you use AND things become unlimited. I want to take my business to the next level AND stressless, I want to eat carbs AND lose weight. With AND you can create win-win-win situations. Sometimes it takes a bit longer AND the results are worth it.
Finish this sentence, “I am…” How you complete this simple sentence is powerful. It tells you so much about what you need to know regarding your current situation and how you are moving forward, or staying stuck.
To increase the amount of positivity you feel, you first start with increasing the amount of positivity you think. It’s common for people to forget that it’s actually our brain that creates the biological impulses we interpret as feelings. Our thoughts don’t come with the intense responses our feelings do. To feel joy, passion, happiness, desire and experience less stress it starts with what we tell ourselves.
Go back to that sentence, “I am…,” and add the word ENOUGH. That’s it. One single word that offers grace. I am ENOUGH. When you start to believe it you’ll discover all the amazing new things you’re willing to try, do, accomplish, risk. When you believe you are ENOUGH it’s magical.
The brain has safeguards for us we don’t even realize are put into place and probably wouldn’t choose to if we had some awareness around it. When we set goals and don’t achieve them, the majority of us feel so disheartened, disappointed, guilty, and stressed that our brain discourages us from doing that ever again. It’s why many of us find goal setting so daunting and avoid setting ourselves up for failure.
Yet, there is a word that gives us hope. A word that when used regularly gives us the positive energy to keep going. It gives us permission to take even the smallest of baby steps. Change is hard and we feel as if we have only two options: 1) keep going and deal with the pain and hardship; 2) give up. Yet, there is a third option and that is to change our level of expectation of the journey. Instead of thinking we should lose 10 pounds in a month, give yourself a year. If you are in a relationship that is struggling, say you haven’t worked it out, YET. Your business isn’t profiting like you dreamed it would, YET. You haven’t figured it out, YET. It’s a simple word with incredible power. The power of hope, wishfulness, and dreams.
If you want to have more, achieve more, get more, make more so you can spend more, you have to want to be more than your current self. Period. Your first step in this personal growth is to get very comfortable with this wonderful word MORE. It’s easy to shy away from MORE as the connotation can often insight greed, unappreciativeness, and materialism. “You should be happy with what you have,” is a common response from others when we talk of our dissatisfaction towards our current situation or desire to have more. Yet when used properly, MORE propels us into our next level of best work.
To leverage the magic of MORE include it in your questions, not your statements.
Statement: I want more. Question: How can I do more?
Statement: I want to produce more. Question: How can I serve more?
Statement: I want to have more. Question: How can I offer more services?
Statement: I want more As. Question: How can I study/retain more?
Changing the way in which you use MORE is the key element. It’s a truly compelling word that can inspire you to live life to your full potential.
In a day, how many times do you hear “no”, say “no”, think “no?” Whatever your answer, double that and it’s probably closer to the real number. Most of us have an addiction to “no.” It comes from our desensitization of social bombardment with ads, sales, and gimmicks. Check any spam folder and you’ll see what I mean. We unconsciously spat “no” at the earliest sign of an offer or invitation, often missing out on opportunities.
I know what you’re thinking. “But Jen, if I don’t say no I’ll be stressed out from doing too much. Study clubs, conferences, room parents, watching the grandkids. Things would be worse if I said yes to everything!” And therein lies another reason why stress continues to weigh people down so significantly. They forget about the neutral.
MAYBE lies in the neutral. MAYBE gives us time to think, ponder, consider, and wonder. MAYBE leaves the door open for possibility. In our technological age we are conditioned to immediate responses so our impulse to provide an answer in the moment is quick. Learning to slow down and breath will reduce stress while giving you a chance to create some magic in your day. You never know what you’ll ultimately say yes to if you don’t first consider MAYBE.
You now have the power to change your future outcome. To reduce your stress, even in its smallest amount, and leave space for contentment takes these next steps:
- Write the five magical words down where you easily see it. Some ideas are on Post-It notes and attach it to your refrigerator, mirrors, car dashboard, computer screen, and phone wallpaper.
- Share these words with your team/family/friends and illicit support from each other. Ask one another to actively listen for times where you can change your verbiage and use the five magical words.
- When writing notes, social media posts, or documents make them as positive as you can by threading in these words.
- Practice makes perfect. Do a vision exercise where you imagine yourself saying each of these words in different scenarios. Going through it in your mind is equally as effective as role playing publicly.
There are 5 magical words we can use as simple solutions to reduce stress; and, enough, yet, more, and maybe. Practice using these words by writing them down where you can easily see them, sharing them with your friends/team, or even do a vision exercise.