Midlife Research

Does the language I use affect how I think?

Last week’s Big Read reflected on the stories we inherit, consciously and unconsciously, about menopause and midlife, and the impact they can have on our own transitions. Narratives, and more specifically, the words we use every day, can have a significant influence on the way we view the world too.

MPowder Team

1 Dec, 2020


Last week’s Big Read reflected on the stories we inherit, consciously and unconsciously, about menopause and midlife, and the impact they can have on our own transitions. Narratives, and more specifically, the words we use every day, can have a significant influence on the way we view the world too.

Researchers have been exploring how language shapes our views since the 1940s - both in terms of the impact of the vocabulary we have access to and how culture shapes word selection and use. People speak roughly 7,000 languages across the globe and linguists believe that finding the common threads can provide insight into what unites us, what makes us human.

There is much research today into the impact of speech patterns and particular behaviours and beliefs. We now know that how we frame a thought in our head, the labels we give to our actions, impacts the way we feel and act. Noting the words we internalise and the stories we tell ourselves can be a first step in greater self-care and change.

We were very lucky recently to interview the force of energy that is Tamu Thomas, founder of Live Three Sixty. On describing how she wishes to age, she reflected;


‘Too many women own ‘cantankerous’. I am going to own ‘resplendent’.

The joy in that statement! And the conviction of ‘I am’. A considered use of language - and a completely different trajectory emerges.

So, this weekend, if you can, find a little time 10 minutes to consider how you talk to yourself about where you are in life, with this simple journaling exercise:

What words do you use, internally, to describe midlife and how you feel about yourself today? Write down all that comes to mind. Consider the words. Are they compassionate and balanced? Perhaps think about whether you’d ever use them when talking to someone you love? Do they move you forward positively?

Write a better story for tomorrow. What words could you choose to use instead? Are they kind and fair? Then, try the new narrative for size. Write it down so you have it to hand.

Practice. Over the next week, repeat your new story whenever the old stories surface. It can feel like a small step, but a change in self-talk can change alot.

Words shape worlds. And your world should nurture you.

Make midlife your superpower

@mpowderstore