July 1, 2016

Is It Rehearal or Exercise? - Labels Matter

The labels we use can affect our behavior.  The word rehearsal implies I am getting ready to do something I want.  The word rehearsal stops me from feeling like I am exercising for no good reason.  Here are three examples.  (1) I live alone so I warm up my voice before I make the first telephone call of the day.  I sing the alphabet song and practice saying letters that are hard for me like the letter  "s."  (2) I stretch my ankle every morning as soon as I get out of bed.  This makes it easier to don my leg brace and walk to the kitchen for breakfast.

(3) It is hard to open my hand in the morning.  My hand does not always open far enough to grasp the deodorant bottle.  In sitting I rehearse opening my hand while pressing the back of my hand on the bed with my wrist fully bent.  Then it is easier for my hand to open to grasp the deodorant bottle so my sound hand can take the cap off.


  1. I love this idea. I first realized the power of word choice when I learned that, physiologically, 'fear' and 'excitement' have the same symptoms. But wow, how much better I feel when I label my racing heart and sweaty palms as 'excited' rather than 'frightened.' Bonus: With excitement, I find myself much more able to meet the emergency even when genuine fear is probably what started my body acting this way.

    1. I love your example. Since the same nerve pathways carry both positive and negative input the only thing that makes a difference is how the brain interprets that data. When I present at a conference in October I will tell myself "I'm excited."