A significant factor in both relationship satisfaction and individual mental health is the individual’s perceived level of criticism. More criticism = less satisfaction. So how we frame criticism, whether to a child, a spouse or a work colleague, matters. The good news is, a simple switch in perspective and language can make a big impact.

Instead of thinking about what someone is not doing or what they are doing wrong, think about what you would like them to do instead. View it as a teaching moment rather than criticizing perceived wrongs. Here are some examples.

Try “walk” instead of “don’t run” to your child.

Try “if you load the dishwasher this way, the dishes will not break” rather than “that’s not how you load the dishwasher.”

Or “your clothes will be less wrinkled if you fold them right out of the dryer” rather than “you never fold your clothes, you are so lazy.”

Reflect on your day. Think about something that you may have been able to phrase differently. Give it a try and share it in the comments section.

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