The relationship between the vocabulary we use and our mental and physical health

The vocabulary that is used to describe one’s own emotions is an indicator of the mental health and physics and from wellness overall, based on an analysis conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (United States).

The research, published in the scientific journal ‘Nature Communications” points out that a vocabulary full of negative emotions is correlated with more psychological distress and poorer physical health, while a vocabulary of positive emotions is correlated with better well-being and physical health.

“Our language seems to indicate our experience with emotional states with which we feel most comfortable“, Vera Vine, Doctor of Philosophy and from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mental health predictor

“There seems to be a congruence between the number of different ways we can name a feeling and the frequency and probability that we experience it, “he adds.

“There seems to be a congruence between the number of different ways we can name a feeling and the frequency and likelihood that we experience it”

Vine and his team analyzed public blogs written by more than 35,000 individuals and essays from 1,567 college students who reported their moods periodically during the experiment.

In general, people who used a greater variety of negative emotion words tended to show linguistic markers associated with lower well-being, such as references to illness and being alone, and reported increased depression and neuroticism, as well as worse physical health.

Girl writing.  Photo: Pixabay
Girl writing. Photo: Pixabay

In contrast, people who used a variety of positive emotion words tended to display linguistic markers of well-being, such as references to leisure activities, achievement, and being part of a group, and reported higher rates of extraversion, agreeableness, general health and lower rates of depression and neuroticism.

These findings suggest that an individual’s vocabulary can respond to emotional experiences, but it does not confirm whether emotional vocabularies were helpful or harmful in provoking emotional experiences.

You use the word more, the more you suffer it

Vine and his colleagues also found that students who they used more words for sadness they got sadder in the course of the experiment; the people who used the most words for him fear they cared more; and people who used more words for anger got more angry.

An individual’s vocabulary can respond to emotional experiences

“It is likely that people who have had more disturbing life experiences have developed richer vocabularies in negative emotions to describe the worlds that surround them, “he explains to Neuroscience News James W. Pennebaker, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and also an author of the study.

“In everyday life, these same people can more easily label nuanced feelings as negative, which can ultimately affect their moods, “he concludes

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