Using What’s Going Well to Change Our Language

Language is embedded in everything around us. It doesn’t just impact how we think, it is how we think. It’s the start of a chain reaction: how we think greatly impacts what we believe, and what we believe impacts the actions we take or don’t take, which eventually shapes our reality.

That means when we begin in a negative place—when our language dwells on what we dislike, or what is frustrating, or what we’re lacking—we’re more likely to act in negative ways, too. When we instead start in a place of gratitude and appreciation, we’re more likely to find that our language, our thoughts, our beliefs and, ultimately, our actions, stem from the same positivity.

Gratitude is the worlds most beautiful language and the most genuine way for people to interact.
— Master Cheng Yen

Adopting the language of gratitude and appreciation starts with focusing on What’s Going Well, which itself starts with choosing to pay attention to the good in our lives. Taking a casual approach to our focus can be harmful to our well-being; if we aren’t intentional, we’re much more likely to fall back into negativity. Negativity is easy, it comes to us more naturally. So being able to recognize when we’re falling back into it is a crucial first step.

Of course, we can’t always control what we encounter. But we can control how we engage with it and how we respond to it.

Coming at every interaction—with people and media—with a What’s Going Well mindset allows us to be more optimistic and retrain our brains to lose the doomsday mentality. Changing our internal language to find the silver linings in turn makes us catalysts for that positivity not just in our own lives, but in the people we connect with, too.

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.
— Rita Mac Brown