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Change your words, change your story during the coronavirus crisis

Words define the nature of our reality. Our perception of reality can influence how we feel and how we choose to behave, as well as impact our physical health.

Research indicates that negative words can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression including irritability, disrupted sleep and appetite. They can also lead to decreased cognitive functioning, such as difficulties in our ability to concentrate, remember, make decisions and problem solve. It goes without saying that in such situations it is not only ourselves who are affected, but everyone else around us too.

This is why the words we use have the power to do harm.

To demonstrate this, reflect for a moment on how the words “quarantine” and “isolation” make you feel.

Yet, just as negative words have power, so do positive ones.
When we realise the importance of words, we can learn how to harness their power in our favour and positively affect those around us.

For example, you can think about:

Homecation (spending time/time-off at home) instead of quarantine (staying at home because our freedom to move is restricted)

Quality (family) time and Self-care instead of Social isolation

Blessings instead of loss

Single-tasking instead of Multi-tasking

Available and Helpful instead of Unavailable

Slowness instead of Busyness

Being present instead of Absent-minded

Can you see the difference?

Notice how you feel now with these words in mind.

Could these new words influence:

  • the mood you wake up to in the morning?
  • what you decide to do and not to do in your day?
  • how you behave in front of your partner, children or flatmates (and what you say to them)?
  • how you pace yourself throughout the day?


Words can push and pull us around. But taking a moment to stop and replace them with different words can change what feeling predominates the day, our course of action, how we approach our days, and what effect we have on others.

This simple technique can help you master the power of words and cope better during the coronavirus outbreak.

For every negative word you notice you are using, come up with 5 positive ones.

Then use these positive words in your phrases, change your narrative and let them help you make different choices in how you are going to go through today. Just that.

Keep doing it – persist, persevere. It’ll help you reprogram your mind and change your story.

NB: For further reading on this topic read this blog and this one.


Dr Patapia Tzotzoli

Dr Patapia Tzotzoli founded My Psychology Clinic where she gained her reputation working as Clinical Psychologist with clients on one to one basis in London and worldwide via online therapy. She specialises in adult mental health and couples therapy. Studied at the universities of East London, Oxford and Cambridge and trained at the Institute of Psychiatry where she worked across world-renowned NHS Trusts.

Dr Patapia Tzotzoli

Medical LiveWire Award Winner

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