THE BLOG
11/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How Happy Is Your Home: How Changing Your Language Can Change Your Life

I decided to write this article while I was watching the Vice Presidential Debate as it really struck me that Sarah Palin continuously uses war metaphors. "We will fight," she kept saying. "We will attack" etc. Like McCain, she obviously sees life as a battle and every encounter is a competition or a struggle, in which she is either winning or losing.

Now, we all use metaphors in our every day language and the metaphors that we use will govern whether we see life as exciting or frightening. If, like Sarah Palin, you go through life as if it's a struggle and each day you wake up to 'battle a new day' how stressful do you think that would be on your body?

If you start to become conscious of the language that you use you will begin to have an idea of what your metaphors for life are. You may think 'Life is like a battle', like Palin obviously does or perhaps it's like an adventure, a garden, a race or a rollercoaster ride.

If it's like an adventure, you may see life as full of new opportunities to explore round every corner. Whereby, if something doesn't quite go your way, you might put that down to just another part of the journey and move through it rather quickly. How much easier do you think that would be rather than battling through, as if people are "out to get you?"

Metaphors develop as children when we begin to organize and categorize the world in order that we can understand and control it. If the brain is like a filing cabinet, we put each experience in to a file and label it. We then spend the rest of our lives putting new material in to these old files. If your childhood was healthy, then you may have a pretty good filing system. If it was a struggle, then you will probably see life as a struggle, unless of course you decide to change it.

So what is life 'like' for you? Is it 'like a garden', which you cultivate and watch it grow? Is it 'like a classroom' where there are always new lessons to be learnt or perhaps it's 'like a race' and you're always 'running' to keep up with your peers.

Metaphors can indeed 'run' your life. They can help your journey to become easy or you can let them have the power to make it hard. So, find out what yours is, by becoming aware of the words that you use, it will really help you to understand how you operate and if your language is adding joy to your life or causing you stress and limiting your choices. It is possible to change your metaphors, but you will have to do it consciously first.

That's it for this week. It's really great to be back and if you want to make contact with me I would love to hear from you so please e-mail me at sophie@howhappyis.com.