I have recently been very intrigued about moods, specifically how our moods biologically change. The processes behind why we get happy, sad, or angry are integral to our existence, and having some insight into how exactly they come about could help us grow immensely.
In my search for answers, I discovered Dr. Masaru Emoto (d. 2014), a Japanese scientist that had dedicated his life to studying water. Dr. Emoto’s studies claim that thoughts, feelings, words, ideas, music, and even names affect the molecular structure of water and thus our physical reality. During his study, Dr. Emoto discovered that water droplets that had been repeatedly exposed to positive or negative words, profoundly changed the water’s color, shape, and symmetry.
His first experiment involved putting distilled water into small jars, writing a word or short phrase on a label, and then taping that label to each jar. The jars were then left overnight on their own. Some of these words had positive associations such as “self-love,” “beauty,” “passion,” and “happiness.” Other jars had negative associations such as “evil,” “hatred,” or phrases such as “you disgust me.” Each jar then had a small amount of water flash frozen in order to form crystals, which were then observed under a microscope. The results were astonishing; the positive words formed beautiful, symmetrical crystals that looked very similar to snowflakes while the negative words were discolored, chaotic, and fragmented.
His revolutionary findings were published in his book, The Hidden Message in Water. However, Dr. Emoto’s work was met with criticism, skepticism, and confusion. Other commentators were concerned that Dr. Emoto did not do enough to share his approaches or provide sufficient evidence for his experiments.
He decided to take the experiments a step further and wanted to see what would happen to a large amount of water over an extended period of time. His famous “Rice Experiment” involved putting the same amount of rice in three different jars and then adding the same amount of distilled water into the jars. He then closed the jars and labeled each jar with a different word. On the first jar, he labeled it with the phrase “Thank You”; the second jar with the phrase “You are an idiot”; and the third jar was left with a blank label. Every day, for 30 days, he visited each jar and read aloud their corresponding label to the jar for one minute and tracked the changes in each jar over the month. By the end of the month, he had noticed that the water in the jar labeled “Thank you” had started to ferment, giving off a strong, pleasant aroma. The water in the jar that was labeled “You are an idiot” turned black with an unpleasant shape. The most interesting result, in my opinion, was the last jar with the blank label that had been ignored the entire time. It turned into a nasty green-blue color as opposed to staying near its original color. His results were consistent with his previous experiments with smaller jars, and it appeared that there was a trend. I was astounded by these discoveries and could hardly believe it, so I decided to try it for myself. My daughter and I did the same experiment as a part of her science fair project. To our amazement, we got very similar results within just 19 days. This experiment was a great lesson regarding the impact that our words have on others for my children beyond being just a science fair project.
Dr. Emoto concluded his findings by stating that water is a “blueprint for our reality” and that emotional “energies” and “vibrations” could change the physical structure of water. It is imperative to remember that water is life; about 70% of the human body, and almost two thirds of the world, is made up of water. Therefore, everything happening around us, our thoughts, our attitudes, our behaviors, and our intentions are related to each other and can affect our emotions. Scientists still need to figure out how exactly these changes in water may affect our bodies and our world, but the results are clear for all to see.
This puts more responsibility on our shoulders to be responsible human beings. We should always think, speak, and act positively if we also want our surrounding environments to be positive.
There is also a great lesson in this study for teachers and educators. We teachers come across a variety of students at various ages all throughout the school year. Our interactions with them can have a very real impact on their lives, minds, and futures for better or worse. Every year we are given around 25 jars of rice with water, to represent 25 students, in each class with no label on them. We meet with them at the beginning of the year with no bias towards any of them. They are each a perfectly clean slate in our eyes, a new jar of distilled water and rice waiting to either ferment or rot. We then, consciously or subconsciously, label them in our minds and hearts; the students labeled “jar 1” receive praise and compliments; some students are labeled “jar 2” and are told that they will fail or are troublemakers; while the last group is labeled “jar 3” and is largely ignored due to their own shyness and/or our indifference. If you are a teacher or interact with children on a consistent basis, it is more than likely you already had hundreds or thousands of jars by now and now you can ask yourself that how many of them finished the year in better shape than the beginning of the year. How many of them were labeled as “jar 1”,”jar 2” or “jar 3”? When I close my eyes and think about all the years I taught, I am not sure if I was able to treat all the jars with positive attitude.
I believe everyone had an experience about how our tone of talk or our answers changed the heat of the discussion. As stated in the Bible, “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Sometimes a simple small word could change your life completely in a positive way or a negative way. Our modes, attitudes and the language we use, impact the people around us and most of the time we are not fully aware of its extent.
Both positive and negative thinking or thoughts are contagious. When we see cheerful friends around us, we feel our days a bit brighter, or we feel down when we talk to grumpy people. Positive attitudes, positive thinking and positive thoughts do change our lives. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi put it well: “A person who sees the good in things develop good thoughts. And he who has good thoughts receives pleasure from life.” People who can develop positive thinking will more likely have a healthy, happy, and successful life, and they can overcome struggles more easily. If you want to have a healthy, good looking, warm environment that is productive and gives a pleasant time, you need to use positive, encouraging and soft language to make it happen. It is in our hands to improve our world with love and gratitude.
Positive thoughts lead to good feelings, good deeds, and diminish negativity, make our hearts delighted. Whereas negative thoughts generate bad feelings, hatred, jealousy, anger, depression, stress, and negative emotions which cloud our soul and lead to an unhealthy life. To be able to stay healthy emotionally and psychologically we have to immediately turn ourselves to positive thinking when we feel we are surrounded with negativities. The Prophet Muhammad, the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said “Follow a bad deed with a good deed and it will erase it.” We may not have full control initially over the types of thoughts that cross our minds every moment, however we have the ability to ignore or pursue them as prescribed by the Prophet, peace be upon him: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent.”
● Beyond Words Publishing www.beyondword.com.
● Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1987, Grade: Sahih
● Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6110, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi