If you have ever attended a laughter yoga session with me, you know I end each one with a positive affirmation. I call it a “Laugh-irmation.” We form a circle, join hands and joyfully shout our proclamation to the world. The affirmation may be silly, or it may be serious or it may be solemn and thoughtful. No matter what, though, our laugh-irmation is always filled with positive intent, which becomes a mantra to carry us through the upcoming week until we can meet again.
Last week, after the laughirmation was proclaimed, the group lingered to chat. The energy we raised from the session was beautiful and it was apparent that everyone wanted to stay and enjoy it, and it made for a wonderful discussion about the power of words.
To illustrate the impact words can have, I would like to point out the works of Dr. Masuru Emoto, a Japanese healer who wrote on this topic in his 1999 book, “The Hidden Messages In Water. “ The book is a photo journal, documenting his travels throughout the world and shows that the water quality of any particular place is heavily dependent on its surrounding ecosystem.
In many of the images, Dr. Emoto shows water molecules that are highly structured and even look regal, whereas water that comes from polluted areas looks sickly and diseased. He then took water samples and exposed them to actual words--positive words and negative words. The water molecules conformed to the previous conditions, either regal when enveloped in positive words, or sickly when exposed to negative words. Further, using the power of thought and intention in the form of prayer, Dr. Emoto is able to transform the molecules from sickly back so they rival the beauty and structure of the molecules from the beautiful environment.
The healing powers of prayer have been examined in triple-blind, randomized controlled trials and have been found to have a profound impact on subjects and the rate at which they are able to heal. Interestingly, recent studies show that even in Intercessory Prayer (a type of prayer offered when the sick individual is not present, i.e., they are spoken from a distance), subjects have been shown to heal at an accelerated rate.
Now, I want to make something clear. I am not advocating any one religion. Personally, I am a very spiritual person, but I do not want to come off as being evangelical or preachy in any way. I do want to share, however, that in my research and in my own personal experience I have seen the impact words can have on individuals.
The word "prayer" is derived from the Latin precari, which means "to entreat." Prayer may be defined
as an intimate conversation with a higher being for the purpose of imploring or petitioning for something or someone. That someone may even be one’s self. A prayer may be performed using words. Word power is something which affects each and every one of us, regardless of faith, belief system, spirituality, etc… In simple terms, the best way to explain it is this way: even if you are not religious and do not pray, you must consider that your words, coupled with intent, are a type of prayer that can have lingering effects. On closer examination, prayer and affirmations are essentially the same. As well, negative thoughts can be considered a type of curse--the opposite end on the spectrum of “prayer.” And what do we do to our own bodies every time we entertain negative thoughts?
On the flip side, just how powerful is positive thinking and optimism? No one knows the precise answer to these questions, but the findings of Dr. Emoto and are certainly compelling. With his findings, we realize the quality of our thinking can greatly impact our health and wellbeing.
Back at the laughter yoga session, Mary, one of our new laughter yogis, wondered out loud about how she could surround herself with more positive words. We discussed simple methods which included creating a screen saver on her computer, downloading apps for her iPhone and getting a wall calendar that had empowering statements which she could view every time she looked at them. These were her ideas alone, and I like each one because I believe they will go a long way to helping Mary in her quest to be surrounded by positive affirmations.
My advice? Be careful what you entertain in your mind! Negative and positive self-talk has far-reaching consequences, so be kind to yourself and feel confident in relying upon positive thinking to help you reach your goals. It truly is one of the most powerful self-help solutions that we know of.