blair thinkingDid you know there are words and phrases you use every day that are making you anxious, stressed out and unhappy?

Those sneaky words are hidden in the conversations you have with yourself. And they can turn your happy day into a miserable one. One little word can open the door to your mind, grab you and pull you through the dark, dingy hallways of negative thinking and lock the door behind you. It’s that simple.


There are obvious triggers that start a negative thought cycle.  You are off to a great start ready to face the day, but life happens. Someone cuts you off in traffic. You miss the train. You left your cell phone at home. The co-worker you share on office with is mad at you for being so messy. Your kids are driving you crazy and your husband/wife/partner is too. A lot goes on in a day. And if you don’t manage the way you think about what happens to you; in a split second,  you can steer yourself into a terrible mood (which then will makes you and everyone else around you) one unhappy person. It doesn’t take long before you are drowning in your thoughts. You believe everything you tell yourself. Your day (along with your self-esteem) is ruined.


Notice how often you think these words and phrases. Track them and see how they affect you. Using your favorite app or take out a pen and write them in a notebook.

Make three columns: 1) What did I just say 2) What’s my reaction, and  3) Replace it. Then sit back and watch change happen!


1)  WHAT IF?

Hello Worry! You might as well just lay in bed and forget about everything else once “what if” enters your thoughts.  These two words, when related to fear, are a screenwriter’s best friend. You become the writer capable of creating scenes for a teenage horror movie. Your imagination can take off and run wild. Logic disappears, and all you can think of are the scenes you are creating in your own mind.

REPLACE IT: If you want to imagine scenes; start a blog or write down your fears. GET CREATIVE. Use your imagination to create. Keep a journal, start doodling, take up knitting, go for a walk. Explore your inner artist. Otherwise, give up this phrase. If you can’t, convert it into something good. Try saying: What if everything turns out okay? Make it your meditation mantra.

2)   I CAN’T. These two words are self-esteem destroyers. If you want to stop being productive, then roll out the welcome mat and invite these words in. However, if you want to free yourself from the chains of emotional paralysis, remove this phrase from your vocabulary immediately. It is the most destructive phrase you can tell yourself. You will probably end up believing that you can’t do many things you are capable of doing. Your day starts off fine. You’re in a great mood. You get to the office, get settled then your boss calls you in to tell you that your last project didn’t cut it. That’s all you need to hear.  Your negative thought cycle is triggered. Your mind motors have started. One negative comment leads to the next and before you know it, you’re in a downward spiral, spinning out of control . You hear yourself saying, “I can’t do this.” One thought leads to the next. “I can’t. I’ll never be able to do anything right. I messed UP again.” You believe that you will never amount to anything. That’s not true. You just got sucked into two negative words.

REPLACE IT: Tell yourself: This is going to be hard but I’m can push through the challenge. It’ll be good for me and make me stronger. I need this experience to get me to show me how smart, strong, and capable I am. I’ve got what it takes.


Oh yes, the mantra of a drama queen. Take out your magnifying glass because this is when everything gets bigger than it really is. You start saying, “You always do that, you never do what I want, that’s the worst thing you could say, when will it ever  get better.” These are terms of exaggeration that cause desperation.

REPLACE IT: Try to use words that open your mind to the possibility of positive happenings. Instead, start saying: sometimes, maybe, or occasionally. Open your mind to the possibility of positive outcomes.

4)  WHY?

Why is a dead end word that shuts out happiness. It causes instant depression, frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, and frustration. BEWARE: It is the sneakiest of all words.

Why is a counterproductive word.

If you ask someone WHY they behaved a certain way, you will not get the answer you want. When was the last time you asked someone why they behaved a certain way, and they replied, “Oh wow, I didn’t realize I did that? Thanks for pointing that out to me.” Usually the opposite happens. Asking WHY puts people on the defensive; causing them to put on their boxing gloves, or bring out their claws. We fight back, become distant, or punitive. The only acceptable answer to why is…because I love you, I care about you, and I want to make you happy.

REPLACE IT: When resolving conflict or questioning people; think before you ask why. If you want the alleged wrongdoer to see his faults, sit down and have a conversation about what happened. Discuss your concerns and express your point of view respectfully.

If you ask why something bad happened- there is no satisfactory answer. Sometimes bad things just happen that cannot be explained. Searching for answers causes you to fall into an abyss of negative thinking that is difficult to escape. Feel the pain, surround yourself with supportive loving people. Wait until the sadness fades. Pick yourself and move on.

Dig deep into your soul to find your strength, courage, and hope to manage the situation.

Rough seas do not cease; you just become a better sailor. (click to tweet)

What are the negative words you say that are bringing you down?

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