Personal Musings: The Power of Words

We use the word to curse, to blame, to find guilt, to destroy. Of course, we also use it in the right way, but not too often. Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate. The word is pure magic – the most powerful gift we have as humans – and we use it against ourselves.

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements

The power of words. According to Brené Brown, language is what allows us to tap into our emotions, and words are the building blocks that shape and give meaning to what we experience as human beings. Words can heal, and words can also destroy. Back in 2017, when I started this blog, I was just coming through a difficult realization. I saw that my decisions had been made out of fear and led me to unhappiness. I was living based on rationality and logic, pursuing an international career in academia while ignoring my dreams of writing, and the need to explore difficult questions. What are we doing here? Why do we look like rats in a cage? Are we alive, or are we pretending to live?

I felt really anguished at that time and yet, at some point, I reminded myself of the questions I had to make to leave such a dark place. What makes me happy? What brings me joy? What do I really love to do? I knew that if I could answer these questions, I would find a way to feel whole again, and overcome the disconnection I was feeling and being haunted by. The disconnection was the fruit of living a life based not on my dreams, talents, and potential, but on what was socially more acceptable and reasonable. The reasonable way seemed to be to buckle up and press forward. It felt wrong deep inside me, but there was no one around to validate my inner vision – and that was my big mistake.

I knew I didn’t fit in, but I presumed I had to keep on trying. The world kept me thinking there was no place for dreamers and wanderers. Books told me otherwise, but then there was reality. I tried to compromise and turned back to writing, which was my happiest place. To write was to go within and dissect what was going on. It was my source of meditation because my writing was close to automatic. I would stare at a blank screen, feel my heart, and then let my fingers do the work. That’s how I found my well-being, and that’s how I started blogging more consistently. The more I wrote and shared my existential quests with others, the more I could understand myself. In the process, I met people with similar experiences, and, when you find yourself on a path less traveled, it’s very rewarding when you find fellow travelers along the way.

Writing became my portal to find resonance and, through that portal, I began to make other changes in my life. I noticed it was up to me to create and shape the world I wished I could live in. I didn’t have to put my ideas and aspirations in a bag. They were not that outrageous and there were people who also wanted to live in a world where reason and emotion meet to provide a more balanced life. It was not silly to want to slow down and craft a different lifestyle. I was not ridiculous for being different and wanting different experiences in my life. These ideas started to boil, and they set me on a path toward moving from survival to thriving.

My writing grew, and so did my audience. I never wrote for numbers, because the real magic was when someone would say my words had resonated and provided some dose of healing. I was first and foremost writing to understand myself better but, through that process, I was also providing a healing space for others, and that’s when I saw, once again, that words have power. The more I wrote, the more I reflected. The more I reflected, the more I healed. The more I healed, the more aligned my decisions were, and it was nice to share the journey with my audience.

I went from what my supervisor called a star-rising mindfulness researcher to a Ph.D. dropout. I swapped a well-paid job as an assistant lecturer in a luxurious university for a low-paid job as a school monitor in a toxic school. I left England and moved back to Portugal. I became happier with each decision I took toward living a life more aligned with who I am. I knew writing and teaching about what I loved the most, the human experience, was deeply carved in my destiny from an early age and it was time to take a leap of faith.

Then the last two years happened. The world confirmed every premise ever written in a social psychology textbook, and my life got to a halt. I didn’t give in to the same fears people around me were choosing to face, but I did let fear rule my life and my decisions. I realized my words could heal others but also hurt those close to me, or even be turned into weapons to hurt me. When you write and share about existential matters, and you bring forward examples of your own journey, you will likely hurt people, so I began limiting myself to more informative blogs.

I didn’t come back to the beginning, because I now know more about myself and what makes me happy, but I have experienced a sort of disconnection from myself, and my well-being has suffered. While writing these words, I now realize I had another important lesson waiting for me. Although I knew my inner vision was shared by some, I hadn’t fully grasped that you can’t live your life waiting on the external world to back you up. You can’t wait on external validation to feel confident or comfortable about the path you know in your gut that is yours to take.

You can’t choose to live in fear and expect to achieve great lengths in your happiness and well-being journey. You can’t wait on other people to reassure you of who you are or to let you know what, when, and how you should go about meeting your personal legend. My calling is to write about human existence and share it with others. That gives me a reason to wake up excited about life, so why on earth would anyone give up on that? Only because of fear! Fear of hurting others, fear of being rejected, fear of being hurt!

So many fears. No human being can be whole by choosing to live in fear. Fear splits us. I’ve done a disservice to you and myself by living in fear for my own words. My words are my journey and my journey is part of my identity. I’m now choosing to live by the first agreement stated in the book The Four Agreements: Be impeccable with your word. This means I will allow myself to use my words again, assuming the responsibility that comes with it, and I will also do my best to have them guided by truth and love. Great responsibility comes when we use our words, but so does great liberation. Thank you for reading my words.

Is Happiness a Realistic Goal?

realistic goal and a desirable one. It is rather impossible to be happy all the time, of course, and it is rather difficult to be in a pure state of bliss on a regular basis. However, we can aim to develop skills and strategies that enhance our level of consciousness.

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The Powerful Healing Effects of Color

I guess it all started when ‘color therapy’ started to come to my head almost every day. Then I also started to follow someone on YouTube whose work is partly related to the use of colors as a healing method. Next, I bumped into someone in my department who was wearing a beautiful and colorful headband. It was yellow, orange, pink, and a little bit of blue and green here, and there. It definitely caught my eye and, more importantly, it made me smile! While I was telling my colleague how beautiful her headband was, my mind also whirled around with thoughts.

Color can have a positive influence on our and other people’s moods. This knowledge has been used in Marketing to elicit a specific action from you.

Isn’t that interesting, the power of colors? I should explore that more. It’s such a beautiful way to positively influence other people’s moods. That’s when I started doing more serious research into it. There are many books and articles on the psychology of colors. This knowledge has been used in Marketing to elicit a specific action from you and each color has specific properties.

Here is some information I discovered about primary colors: yellow, red, and blue. Yellow helps with memory, encourages communication, boosts confidence, and stimulates the nervous system. It is associated with happiness, energy, and optimism. Red elevates blood pressure, stimulates libido, boosts metabolism, and increases your level of enthusiasm, energy, and confidence. Blue helps you relax and deal with stressful situations, boosts open-heart communication, and enhances your intelligence and intuition.

I then moved on to studying other colors and different tones and shades of color, until I decided to apply this knowledge to myself. Based on my research I realized I had been unconsciously picking clothes whose colors clearly mirrored and reinforced my low mood. For instance, some of the colors I was wearing every day included black, dark grey, and dark olive green, which are associated with less positive feelings and sensations such as depression and fogginess. Empowered by this information, I thought I should find a way to reverse it by changing the colors I was choosing to put on myself.

Buying new clothes at this point in time, however, was out of the question. Instead, I decided to recycle some t-shirts, transform them into fashionable scarfs, and color them based on what I had studied about colors and their therapeutic effect. I first created a scarf in blue tones, because I needed to relax and reduce my anxiety levels. Then I decided to create another scarf to induce some calmness allied with some playfulness as well. It’s fun to make experiences with color!

Concluding Thoughts

Using color as a healing method might not be the first option we think of but it’s a powerful one. Since I began this journey of learning more about color and its impact on psychology, I’ve been using and mixing different colors when selecting pieces of clothing and accessories. Today, even my eyeglasses frames are picked with the impact of color in mind. I may not see them but I know people always find my eyeglasses fun.

Become a Well-being Ambassador

The role of a Well-being Ambassador is to influence one’s own well-being and raise awareness of the importance of an overall culture of well-being that gives people permission to be and care for themselves.

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5 Ideas to Make Your Life Better Right Now

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Sometimes, small changes or habits can have a great impact on the way we perceive life and the way we feel about something distressful that might have happened to us. Whether you are going through a rough patch or you are simply interested in improving the quality of your life, there are practical ideas you can adopt right now to uplift your mood and increase your well-being. Here are five ideas you can use to make your life better right now:

1. Do 3 Jumping Jacks

Change your physiology and you will change the way you feel. When we exercise, we produce a special range of hormones that gives us that good feeling experience we all need to get out of a rough patch.

2. Let Go of The Victim Mentality

Comparing yourself or asking unhelpful questions such as “Why me?” can only prevent you from growing and going after your goals. Learn from what you have been experiencing and empower yourself by putting it to good use. You may also want to read the article “What is holding you back? Four Major Psychological Roadblocks” and “3 unrealistic expectations that are making you miserable“.

3. List 5 Reasons To Be Grateful for Today

Gratitude has become a buzz word but the effects of feeling grateful and finding gratitude even in small details of our days are undeniable. Gratitude can be the difference between feeling sorry for yourself when life is not going your way and feeling content for just being alive.

4. Set Up a Healthy Routine

If your routine is solely based on working, eating, and sleeping, then you might need to redesign it to add more well-being practices to your day. Add time for recreation but also time to work out or engage in some other meaningful activities such as volunteering locally, or baking for your best friend. You may also want to read the article “A Stoic Evening Routine for Success“.

5. Book a Call with a Coach

Life can seem and feel pretty overwhelming at times, especially if you are sensitive. It’s not only OK but advisable to ask for professional help. Working with a coach can be the turning point you are needing right now in your life. A coach is equipped to guide toward the right questions and best-fitting solutions. Could you and I be a great coaching team? Book a free call today to find out.

Other Articles

Is Happiness a Realistic Goal?

realistic goal and a desirable one. It is rather impossible to be happy all the time, of course, and it is rather difficult to be in a pure state of bliss on a regular basis. However, we can aim to develop skills and strategies that enhance our level of consciousness.

The 4 Jewels of Well-being

According to neuroscientist Richard Davidson, well-being is a skill, and it can be developed with practice. It’s like learning to walk or playing the piano. The more you practice it, the more you strengthen the neuronal circuits associated with well-being, and the better you get at it. These neuronal circuits are plastic and thus can be expanded and trained. They are awareness, connection, insight, and purpose.

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