Why Language Matters It Comes To Mental Health…

The language we use matter when it comes to our mental health!


“That makes me so DEPRESSED / ANXIOUS / SAD…”

“I can’t COPE!”

“This is IMPOSSIBLE / I CAN’T do this…”



“I don’t BELIEVE it…”

“I SHOULD be able to do this…”

Let’s play a game. Over the course of the next few days or weeks, listen out for the above language or phrases (or variations) and see how many of the your friends, family and colleagues actively use versions of them in their daily lives. I bet that it’ll be more than you imagined, a lot more.

Everyday use of language like this is so common, but incredibly unhelpful when it comes to managing mental health. They make every day occurrences, things that are just normal events or minor problems, seem far worse than they actually are.

And, like water seeping into the ground, this slowly infests our mindset and attitudes with negative thoughts, thinking styles, emotions and views of our lives. You will, if you hear it often enough, believe that it really is a disaster, a real living nightmare or a serious illness.

But let’s be honest, when you heard your colleague, parent or friend say something is a “disaster” or a “catastrophe”, it’s usually not. Losing your home to an earthquake, catching ebola or personal bankruptcy would be a big disaster or a nightmare… a bad day at work, catching a cold, forgetting a birthday or spilling a drink is not. They are just part of everyday life – something that everyone experiences around the world, regardless of who they are.

The everyday language we choose to use reflects our mental health

The everyday language we choose to use reflects our mental health – but we can change this very easily, especially by doing The Thrive Programme…

The above phrases and words are examples of a catastrophising or black and white thinking style, which promote a very critical, all-or-nothing view of ourselves and the world. There are 30 or more further thinking styles in this vein – often learnt at an early age from parents, family, colleagues and friends – but adopting most, inevitably, lead to a downturn in our mental health because they make us feel powerless and negatively alter our view of our lives.

You are in control of the language you use!

But, rather than being powerless in this regard, even though someone may feel like this, we have a very real control over the language we use and, thus, a large proportion of what makes up our mental health. Consider the fact that we have roughly 40,000 thoughts a day, and the language we choose to use is a direct expression of these thoughts. The important word here is ‘choose’. We have the choice, when it comes to the language we use, to catastrophise and exaggerate events and occurrences in our life beyond their real impact, just as we have the choice to not do this. It’s all about how you process the events around you.

But, when you change your mindset and language to to be more positive, those 40,000 thoughts begin to change too. Thoughts and beliefs affect our language, and our language affects our thoughts and beliefs. Don’t believe me? Look up Pennebaker and King (1999) or Wolf, Sedway, Bulik and Kordy (2007) – all cited in the The Thrive Programme book. These and many other studies concluded that the language, words and phrases we choose to use and our personality traits and attitudes to life are closely linked.

A very negative person might have 10,000 unhelpful, catastrophising thoughts a day, but when you change your daily use of language (both spoken and the things we silently say to ourselves) to leave no room for the sorts of words and phrases used at the top of this article, those thoughts will start to disappear as well.

So when the language we use is a real, more positive reflection of our everyday life – not a catastrophised or black and white version of it – we can very easily make a big step towards a more thriving attitude to life.

Christmas or any big occasion is a great time to start practicing this because it’s a time of heightened emotion when we’ve all heard a raft of the above phrases used in relation to an unlikeable relative coming to stay, burning the turkey, forgetting to get a gift for someone or finding out that the kid’s toys don’t have batteries included. So, take those phrases at the top of this article and turn them around: I CAN deal with this, this is NOT a nightmare, this is just a SMALL problem, I can OVERCOME this etc.

Teaching this change in attitude is one of the key pillars of The Thrive Programme, and something that, as the research cited above suggests, is a key barometer of how someone is doing in life before, after and during the course. For example, often during a first consultation, we hear very negative phrases like those at the top of the page – the person most likely feels helpless in the face of severe depression, anxiety or similar.

However, as they begin to learn how their mental health is a thing that they create – rather than it happening to them – then their language changes dramatically. They feel in control of their emotions, feelings and mental state and their language reflects this.

You’ll be shocked at how much anxiety, stress and broodiness you and others are causing themselves to experience just by allowing negative phrasing and thoughts. But, you’ll also be surprised at how much more enjoyable Christmas, and life in general, can be if you adopt more positive language around your experiences – it really is up to you…


A Thriving Twelve Days of Christmas!

You’ve heard of the 12 days of Christmas…well here’s the Thrive version!

On the first day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…strong foundations.
Foundations are the starting point to learning to thrive. Confidential questionnaires (evidence-based) mean you to can make an objective assessment of ‘how you tick’ and then track your progress. Building psychological foundations is why The Thrive Programme is effective. This sets it apart from other mental health treatments and interventions.

On the second day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is good. Self-sabotage is not good, and neither is self-obsession. Getting to know yourself can be a complete revelation – as long as you’re holding the telescope the right way round. This is a core skill within The Thrive Programme.

On the third day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…tools for raising my self-esteem.
High self-esteem is central to good mental health – just as eating ‘five a day’ is important for physical health. Did you know you can build your self-esteem in just a few weeks (even if it’s really low at present)? The Thrive Programme shows you how.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me… a sense of perspective.
Working through the Thrive Programme gives you a new frame of reference. Your thinking is influenced by many things – why not learn the language and tools of the Thrive Programme to help maintain perspective? A sense of perspective helps you to be proactive in dealing with pinch points, highlighting any unhelpful habits and thinking styles you could need to address.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…an attitude of gratitude.
Studies show that grateful people are happier. Feeling grateful is both a habit and a necessity, and it comes more readily when you’ve built strong psychological foundations and robust self-esteem. All possible with The Thrive Programme.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…confidence in my skillset.
Life is full of ups and downs, and once you’ve learnt to thrive, you’ll feel confident in the face of challenges. “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings.” When you’re thriving you’ll feel able to make powerful changes in your life knowing that you’ll be able to cope, without feeling anxious or fearful.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of calm.
Knowing how to minimise your stress levels has advantages for physical and mental health. The Thrive Programme shows you how to calm yourself down at the first hint of a red flag, so you can maintain perspective and feel relaxed.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a few honest truths.
That is: the world owes you nothing; the world does not even know you exist. Nietzsche was correct in saying that ‘Nobody can build the bridge for you to walk across the river of life, no one but you yourself alone’. Fear not, The Thrive Programme teaches you all the skills you’ll need for this, and working with a Thrive Consultant means you’ll be encouraged all the way.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…the ability to tolerate.
Thriving is all about optimising your emotional and cognitive skills to the point where you are not only resilient, and you create minimal stress and anxiety so you can positively flourish. Sometimes this means tolerating difficulty and hardship, without overreacting and panicking. Thrive Consultants are experts at teaching you how to tolerate situations to make them manageable.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…resilience.
Resilience is a process, not an event. Having a strong sense of resilience is like having a ‘mental buffer’. Negative events do not have a negative impact on your thoughts and emotions when you feel resilient. You need to expose yourself to opportunities to build resilience – Thrive Consultants are trained to challenge and support you with this.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…a sense of optimism.
Joy is the journey! Churchill said, ‘Success is never final; failure is never fatal: it’s courage that counts.” We agree, but let’s go one step further: it’s courage AND JOY that count.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Thrive Consultant gave to me…the ability to spread the word!
Our video reviews show real people just like you: People who’ve changed their lives more than they ever dreamt by completing The Thrive Programme. Your story could inspire others to learn to thrive.