Words Can Change Your Brain | Andrew B. Newberg

Summary of: Words Can Change Your Brain: 12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy
By: Andrew B. Newberg


In a world filled with distractions and misunderstandings, ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’ by Andrew B. Newberg provides readers with 12 conversation strategies to build trust, resolve conflict, and increase intimacy. This comprehensive guide teaches readers the importance of cultivating a calm, present, and silent mind, mastering facial expressions and non-verbal cues, and staying in touch with their inner values. As you dive into this enlightening summary, you will learn how adopting positive thinking and using the right tone can improve your communication and brain functioning, while techniques like speaking slowly, brief statements, and deep listening will significantly enhance any conversation.

Mastering Communication: The Power of a Calm and Silent Mind

Communication is a two-way street, which requires a mindful approach. To achieve effective communication, it is vital to train your mind. The first three of the 12 steps outlined in this book are based on this principle. A calm and present mind is fundamental for active listening and successful communication. Stressful situations can hinder the ability to communicate, and this is where the first step comes into play- calming the mind. Relaxation techniques for just 60 seconds before a conversation have been shown to activate areas of the brain responsible for social awareness, communication, and mood control. The second step requires focusing on being present to the current moment and the other person’s emotions. This can be accomplished by focusing on your breath. While the third step requires the cultivation of inner silence and taming inner speech during conversations. Authors suggest focusing on the silence after ringing a bell for 15-30 seconds repeatedly to improve attentiveness and inward focus. By following these three steps, one can efficiently master communication.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Negativity not only harms morale but also damages brain functioning in the long run. The key to improving communication is increasing positivity. Research shows that approaching conversations optimistically and countering negative thoughts with positive ones can have a significant impact on the outcome. If you can’t think of at least three positive thoughts for every negative one, there’s very little hope for the interaction. To combat negativity, up the positivity and imagine positive dialogues before important conversations. Knowing when to postpone a conversation until you’re in a better frame of mind is crucial.

Navigating Communication with Inner Values

In this book excerpt, the author compares communication to driving without a map – you need a plan and a destination, or in communication’s case, inner values. Identifying your values and using them as a guide can make communication more effective and meaningful. The author provides an exercise to prompt reflection on inner values, which can lead to greater resilience and less stress. Sharing inner values in difficult conversations can also encourage cooperation and understanding, fostering more productive communication.

The Power of Facial Expressions

Did you know there are over 10,000 facial expressions? While we can’t recognize them all, we can learn to be conscious of our expressions when communicating. It’s just as important as the words we use. The best expression for connecting with others is a genuine half-smile and soft eyes, like the Mona Lisa. To achieve this, recall a happy memory involving a loved one. Practice identifying and controlling other expressions like anger, sadness, and fear. Our non-verbal cues, including facial expressions and body language, must align with our words to hold our audience’s attention and avoid confusion. Understanding others’ non-verbal cues can also help us address underlying emotions and conflicts.

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