What Effects Do Words Have On You?
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We probably all realize that this childhood verse is far from the truth. Words do injure; words wound. Teasing, hatred and disgrace, all are a source of injury, and when it is conveyed in childhood from a child’s peers or a respected adult, verbal abuse produces more than emotional pain. It causes long-term physical effects on the structure of the brain.
An amazing thing about the human brain is that it matures after birth. This is different from most animals whose brains are scripted at birth; our brain is so immature at birth that we are unable to walk for months. Self-awareness does not develop for years. Personality and cognitive skills take decades to mature, and these traits develop in a different way in each individual. This is due to the fact that maturation and wiring of the human brain are directed by our experiences during our childhood and adolescence. Developing the human brain outside of the womb affects our evolution, and this is the reason for the success of our species.
When that atmosphere is intimidating or not healthy, the development of the brain is affected, and many times compromised. Early childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or even witnessing domestic violence, has demonstrated abnormal physical changes in the brain of the child, with lifelong effects that influences the child to develop psychological difficulties. The evidence of brain scarring is recognized by brain imaging studies. By holding positive and optimistic words in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity according to Mark Robert Waldman, Neuroscientist, Therapist, and one of the world’s leading expert on spirituality and the brain. Words can change your brain; they leave e a structural imprint on the developing brain.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, findings of psychopathology associated with childhood exposure to parental verbal abuse is an aversive stimulus associated with alterations in brain structure. Young adults, ages 18-25, with no history of exposure to domestic violence, sexual abuse, or parental physical abuse, were asked to rate their childhood exposure to parental and peer verbal abuse when they were children, and then they were given a brain scan.
The results discovered that individuals who recounted experiences of verbal abuse from their peers during middle school years had immature connectors between the left and right sides of their brain through the massive bundle of connecting tissues of the corpus callosum. Psychological tests administered to all participants in the study showed that individuals in this same group experienced higher levels of anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, dissociation, and drug abuse than others in this same study.
Words are powerful, yes they are!
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