How to Turn 11 Everyday Phrases From Negative to Positive
It’s official: positive language can literally change your brain.
Yes, that’s right—positive words like “peace,” “love” and “compassion” strengthen areas of the brain’s frontal lobes, and promote cognitive function. In simple terms, hearing and using positive language can make you feel great—physically, mentally and emotionally. On the flip side, negative language can block the brain’s natural de-stress mechanisms.
So, as well as adding some sparkly positive words into your everyday language—like “certainly,” “great” and “definitely”—it’s worth taking a look at phrases you might be using inadvertently and giving them a polish, too.
These 11 everyday phrases can easily be replaced, giving your vocabulary an instant positivity boost.
Every Day Positive Language1. Why not? → Sounds good
2. No problem → Definitely!
3. Can’t complain → Everything’s going well, thanks
These phrases are meant to be positive - but the human brain has a negative bias, and subconsciously brings up all of the reasons not to do something, problems, or complains when processing these words.4. I’m exhausted → I need to rest
Flipping the phrase to include a solution leaves both the speaker and the listener with a better taste in their mouths.
Positive Language at Work5. I forgot → I’ll make sure to set a reminder
Again, focusing on what can be done will help the people around you expect a positive result.6. Unfortunately, it will be impossible to finish the project on time because of the problems some people are causing with submitting their work late. → Can everyone turn in their portion of the project by Thursday so that we can complete the work on time and hit the deadline?
Email culture provides the perfect opportunity to work on positive language, as you can edit your words before sending them out to colleagues and clients. Look out for negative words like “unfortunately,” “impossible” and “problems” as flags for sentences to revise.7. Constructive criticism → Feedback
The words you use to frame your feedback can have a significant impact on how it is received. To add to the positive vibe, healthy portions of compliments for achievements will help your colleagues take your comments on board.
Positive Language at Home8. Don’t throw the ball inside! → Please take the ball outside.
or9. Don’t… → I like it when…
Telling children (and adults, too!) what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do puts the focus on the desired action and ups your chances of a positive outcome.10. I missed you so much! → It’s so great to see you!
While absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder, reunions can be a time to rejoice in the present rather than relating negative emotions from the past.11. No! → I know you like ice cream, but eating too much isn’t healthy.
Unless you’re dealing with a serious safety issue, for example near a road or a swimming pool, explaining the reason behind your “no” helps children feel respected and included. As a guide, think about how you’d like your boss to speak to you.