Words Can Change Your Brain Book Summary - Words Can Change Your Brain Book explained in key points
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Words Can Change Your Brain summary

Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

12 Conversation Strategies to Build Trust, Resolve Conflict, and Increase Intimacy

4.4 (544 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

'Words Can Change Your Brain' by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman explores the impact of language on the brain and provides techniques for improving communication and reducing stress. It emphasizes the power of positive words to enhance well-being and relationships.

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    Words Can Change Your Brain
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    A calm, present, and silent mind is crucial for good communication.

    What do you do before a big event? Say you’re running a marathon – do you just count down until race day and cross your fingers? If you want to run a good race, this probably won’t be your approach. What you’ll really do is try to get your body in top shape for the big day. 

    Communication works in much the same way. The difference is that, instead of training your body, you need to train your mind. And the first 3 of our 12 steps to mastering communication are geared toward just that. 

    The key message here is: A calm, present, and silent mind is crucial for good communication.

    Anyone who’s ever snapped at someone innocent while in a bad mood knows that stress influences interactions. It makes people more likely to experience irritation and anger – both moods that can derail communication. That’s why the first of our 12 steps to better communication is calming your mind

    So how do you calm down when you’re stressed? In a word, relaxation! But this doesn’t have to mean a lengthy massage. Just 60 seconds of breathing exercises before a conversation will do the trick. According to a 2007 study published by the United States National Academy of Sciences, this is enough to activate areas of the brain that control mood, social awareness, and communication. 

    Breathing also helps with the second of our 12 steps – learning to be present. Focusing on your breath brings you back to what’s happening in the moment, making you attentive to the other person’s words and emotions.

    Sounds good, right? But there’s a catch. Most people can’t stay present for long. Very quickly, a thought comes along, followed by another. These thoughts make up inner speech – a constant stream of ideas and dialogue running through your mind. In conversations, this mental chatter can distract you, and the people speaking to you tend to notice. Just think of how often you’ve become frustrated because a friend or partner’s mind has wandered off.

    Fortunately, you can tame your inner speech. And doing just this is central to our third step to better communication: cultivating inner silence. To help you, the authors recommend the following exercise. 

    Ring a bell that resonates for 15 to 30 seconds and focus on the sound, even as it fades. When the sound fades completely, focus on the silence. Repeat the exercise several times, aiming to be more attentive each time. When you get used to focusing this intently, it becomes easier to silence your inner speech during conversations.

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    What is Words Can Change Your Brain about?

    Words Can Change Your Brain (2012) is an easy-to-follow guide on the art of effective and compassionate communication. Informed by the brain’s natural behavior and responses, these blinks outline measures we can take to become better at listening, expressing ourselves, and fostering trust and cooperation with others. 

    Words Can Change Your Brain Review

    Words Can Change Your Brain (2013) explores the profound impact of words on our brains and offers practical techniques for harnessing this power. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Discover the neurological effects of words and learn how to use them to improve communication and foster empathy.
    • Explore the transformational potential of linguistic techniques like positive affirmations and loving-kindness meditation.
    • Gain a deeper understanding of the connection between language and emotions and how words can shape our thoughts, attitudes, and relationships.

    Who should read Words Can Change Your Brain?

    • Anyone who wants to improve their communication skills
    • People who’d like to approach difficult conversations with confidence
    • Those curious about the science of communication

    About the Author

    Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist in the field of neurotheology and the director of research at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health in Philadelphia. He’s written a number of books, including the best seller Why God Won’t Go Away.

    Mark Robert Waldman is a business and personal development coach who teaches leadership and communication through brain-based strategies. He’s also on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University’s Executive MBA program. Together, Newberg and Waldman coauthored the best seller How God Changes Your Brain.

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    Words Can Change Your Brain FAQs 

    What is the main message of Words Can Change Your Brain?

    The main message of Words Can Change Your Brain is the transformative power of language on the brain and our relationships.

    How long does it take to read Words Can Change Your Brain?

    The reading time for Words Can Change Your Brain varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Words Can Change Your Brain a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Words Can Change Your Brain is a thought-provoking book that explores the impact of language on our minds and interactions. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Words Can Change Your Brain?

    Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman are the authors of Words Can Change Your Brain.

    What to read after Words Can Change Your Brain?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Words Can Change Your Brain, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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