Take the word “panic”, for example. It is usually used by stock traders to describe the market. Unfortunately such words can become part of a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I see or hear the word “panic” I usually gasp and feel my heart rate go up a little bit. It also makes me feel a little less secure in my world.
“Fear” is another one. To me it implies that you’ve resigned yourself to certain doom from something you can’t control. That’s not really a good thing when you’re dealing with a horse. As a reactive animal who is interested mostly in self-preservation, when horses get scared and look to us for leadership and we’ve lost it, we can’t be much good to them.
Come to think of it, “scared” is another emotive word.
I propose the following: whenever you come across a sensational word that makes you gasp, and there are lots of them on the evening news, replace it with a word that doesn’t evoke so much emotion and see how it feels.
Scared? Try “concerned”.
Panic? What about “reaction”? That’s a word that can go either way, good or bad.
Fear? Try “caution”. Trying to be “cautious” instead of “afraid” suddenly makes the situation more controllable.
I’d be interested to know what words you find. Send me a reply if you think of one.