Do you use an O or an A? | READ

Who would have thought that one letter in a word can have such an massive impact on how you achieve or not achieve your goals.

I imagine that this story will resonate will all you MasterMums who have anxious children or sometimes feel a bit panicky yourself.

During lockdown in Singapore and the home schooling period all parents had to face (I still have a nervous twitch when someone mentions that time 😳) my daughter who is 9 years old was learning about the Greeks. Thankfully this is a subject that I am really interested in rather than mathematical fractions which I still don’t really understand! One of her tasks was to write about a character who was going to war. I noticed that she misspelt the word ‘warrior’ and spelt it as ‘worrier’. Rather than berating her about her spelling  I asked her “Who do you think wins when they go to war a worrier or a warrior?”

I asked her to physically show me how a worrier stands and acts. She was immediately able to demonstrate the physiology connected with that disempowering state.  I then asked her to do the same as a warrior and again she immediately demonstrated the physiology connected to that empowering state.

In 2000 when I trained with Anthony Robbins  he taught us ‘The Triad’ – how we can change how we are feeling in an instant:

  1. Change our PHYSIOLOGY
  2. Change our FOCUS
  3. Change our LANGUAGE

Physiology – The quickest and easiest way

Changing our physical body is one of the quickest and effective ways to change our emotional state. The change can be a simple as standing tall, shoulders back, chin slightly down, eyes looking forward and slightly up, and deepening our breath. It could also be doing some star jumps, going for a walk or run, or busting out a downward facing dog or doing the Warrior asana*, not the Worrier asana!

When we move our body, we move the emotions in our body.

Focus – Energy flows where attention goes

If we change what we are focusing on, we change our emotions. If we focus on what we don’t want to happen, we have a very different emotional experience than if we focus on what we do what to happen. If we focus on the problems or focus on the solutions, both have different energy states.

Change your focus to what you want and your emotions will not just follow the new focus, you will also be engaging your RAS.  The Reticular Activating System is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through. The RAS is the reason you learn a new word and then start hearing it everywhere. In the same way, the RAS seeks information that validates your beliefs.

You can proactively change your RAS filtering to gain more of what you want and less of what you don’t want can’t you, that’s right.

Language – Your language can self hypnotise you positively or negatively

When we change the words we are using, and the way that we are using them, we again have the opportunity to change our emotional state. If I say “I am really angry”, it generates the harmful impact of cortisol and adrenal to start flooding your body it has a very different emotional impact than if I say, “I am feeling a bit peeved” which allows your parasympathetic nerves to remain calm and in control.

Words have immense intensity to effect our emotions and we have absolute power to change them in an instant.

If I say “I am feeling depressed”, it has a very different emotional response than if I say “I am feeling a bit fedup today”. You have a choice when it comes to the language you use, and therefore the type of emotions you feel.

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. It basically undoes the work of the sympathetic nervous system after a stressful situation. The parasympathetic nervous system decreases respiration and heart rate and increases digestion.

“We live in the feelings of our thoughts” – Michael Neill

My daughter happily got the message and learning on both levels. Interestingly whenever she feels a bit anxious about something now I say “Show me your Worrier, now show me your Warrior” and she laughs out loud, stands tall, chest out with her tiny arms outstretched in a strong pose. She now feels more ready to take on the next adventure in her life knowing the choice is hers and how she wants to use her physiology going forward.


The next time you or your children are feeling worried ask yourself the question,

‘If I approach this situation as a Worrier or a Warrior what is the potential outcome that I am going to achieve?’

The best option is to change all three, to create an empowering emotional state change and that can be done as simply as changing one letter in a word, and it can, can’t it? That’s right!

*Warrior I — Virabhadrasana I (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) — is a standing yoga pose named after a mythological Hindu warrior, Virabhadra. … Warrior I transforms the intensity of this deity into a pose that builds focus, power, and stability.

Cover image by Gemma Correll