*The Main Event

In this corner, we have Anxious, as in “I’m anxious to see your new car.”

And in this corner, we have Eager, as in “I’m eager to meet your new boyfriend.”

The question is, why do people use the wrong adjective to describe something they can hardly wait to do? It’s not just anxious vs eager, but this one has the chalkboard fingernail effect on me. Does it you? Do you use anxious when you should be using eager? Do the words we say affect the way we think and feel?

There are studies that show that speaking, thinking, even just seeing negative words, actually do effect your feelings. They will make someone who is already anxious or depressed feel worse, and the more you think about those negative words, the more you can damage the regulation of your memory, feelings and emotions. It can disrupt your sleep, appetite and your ability to experience long-term happiness and satisfaction. It supports the known phrase “Fake it ’til you make it”, proving that the way you think really effects your mood.

Even more amazing, just a frown can cause the extra stress chemicals that vocalizing negativity releases. It’s not only your brain that gets flooded with these chemicals, the person who hears you gets flooded with those chemicals, too. That’s why hearing too much negativity brings you down, or angers you, and you have to walk away…or others walk away from you. Being around negative people makes a person more prejudiced toward other people, as well as increasing anxiety and irritability. Not unexpectedly, too much negativity diminishes trust and cooperation. You can see it in work places, and in broken friendships.

Unfortunately, once you start using negative words, it’s hard to stop. So all this to discuss the difference between using “anxious” and “eager” when you’re looking forward to something happening in the future. “What gives?” you ask.

It’s really quite simple. When people use the word “anxious” in place of the word “eager”, they are perpetuating a negative concept into their minds. Anxious is the descriptive form of anxiety, which is a negative experience. Sure, some people don’t understand what true anxiety is, but it’s still a negativity as far as the brain is concerned. We’ve all heard the devastating effects of anxiety on people’s lives.

Oh, you haven’t? Let’s go there. Just a touch of Webster, I promise not too much, because I hate it when people use dictionary definitions in their speeches or writings, too. Anxiety: apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill; or, medically: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.

Now, when your sister tells you that her boyfriend just proposed to her last night, are you really anxious to see the ring? Or your spouse has been gone for the weekend with the boys, are you really anxious for his return? Maybe you are with that one, but if you are excited for his return, are you anxious? No, you’re eager. You have an enthusiastic or impatient desire for his return.

Now, with everything I’ve just told you, how does a person using the word “anxious” instead of “eager” effect everyone involved in the conversation, and, I suppose, those eavesdroppers we all know exist? How does negative talk help your depression get better? How does negative talk effect your loved ones? The saying holds true. You’ve really got to fake it ’til you make it, and in this case, it shouldn’t take that long before you see a difference in how you feel. Once you stop the negative talk, the stress hormones and chemicals will stop flooding your brain, and once that happens, the happiness and joy will have a fighting chance. If you keep up the positive talk, and stay away from negative people and negativity, like the news, and sad songs, and sad stories, you WILL feel the depression and anxiety lift.

Try this activity. Get a journal or scrapbook and some magazines. Look through the magazines and cut out all the happy, positive words you find, and glue or tape them into your journal or scrapbook. You can use the words to make sentences, if you want, or just paste them in randomly, whichever makes you feel good about yourself. Then, whenever you come across a magazine that is done being read, continue to cut out the happy words, and glue them into your journal. Go back and look through your journal regularly, especially if you start to feel negatively, or start to use negative speak or thought again. Flood yourself with positive words. Put them wherever you can, legally, and with permission of those you live with, around your house, in the car, or at work. Use posters, post-it notes, magazine clippings, whatever you can to surround yourself in positivity, and remove all the negative words that you can. Not just the words, but anything that speaks negatively to you, hide it, give it away, or toss it…again, with permission if it’s not yours to handle.

Remember the boxing ring with Anxious and Eager. Teach others the lesson you’ve just learned. We have enough negativity in the world, we don’t need more created in our speech. Eager wins this fight by a knock-out. Be eager, not anxious.