PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, But Words Can Make You Lean!

speechbubbleIt might sound crazy, but changing your vocabulary can actually make you burn more fat. It can also make you stronger and build up your body. This is due to specific effects that words have on your physiology.

Most men can think of 3-5 positive or negative emotions in 10 seconds. Most women can think of 4-7 positive or negative emotions in the same amount of time. Try it yourself. In 10 seconds, think of as many positive emotions as you can, and then in another 10 seconds think of as many negative emotions as you can.  Write them down, and you will be looking at your most common experiences in a typical day.

Expanding your emotional vocabulary will expand your experiences, and it can even help you get leaner. Every time you ponder positive words (i.e. joy, love, bliss, elation, etc.) your brain and body releases chemicals and hormones that boost your mood, repair damaged tissue, strengthen your immune system, and give you more energy (to name just a few). When you focus on negative emotions (i.e. anger, resentment, malice, jealousy, etc.) your body and brain pumps out chemicals and hormones that break you down, age you prematurely, and can even foster diseases like cancer!

Your fitness gains will be augmented by expanding your vocabulary with positive words. You will actually get stronger faster, and will lose fat more rapidly by focusing on positive thoughts and having more of them to draw from. Adding more words to your functional daily vocabulary is easy too. Just open up a thesaurus and pick a new word each day. When someone asks you how you are, answer them with your new word for that day. When you do, you will enrich your own experience as well as the person you are talking to.

Here’s another fun exercise:

  1. The next time you are feeling in a funk, grab a thesaurus (or use an online thesaurus) to look up a happy emotion.
  2. Write down all the synonyms for that word.
  3. Then do the same for each of those synonyms until you loop back around and run out of words to write down.
  4. Read the list out loud, as emphatically as possible, while looking at yourself in the mirror.

Notice how much better and healthier you feel. See how much more energy you have. You have just affected your health, wellness, and have even sped up your metabolism! Remember that your brain burns almost 1/3 of your daily calories, so this is an exercise-free fat burning workout!