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What does "lockdown" mean to you? How the meaning of words matter.

What does "lockdown" mean to you?

England went into “lockdown” this week, and this will have caused different feelings for many people.

What does “lockdown” mean to you? For example, you might think it means restrictions, or a loss of freedom, or state control. And does your meaning harm or benefit you?

When you see or hear the “lockdown” word, what is the immediate impact in you? And, does this cause an involuntary negative mindset?

You can’t actually change the word “lockdown”; in England it is given to you by the government and repeated by media outlets and the general public. The word or words used in your country may be different, but the principle is still true … that you can’t really change it.

So, when you hear, see or experience the word “lockdown”, what meaning do you apply to it, and does that meaning harm or benefit you?

The meanings that you apply to “lockdown” & the things you think about, then generate one of more emotions or feelings … sadness, peace, full on exploding anger, frustration and so on ...

And, as an example, if your meaning generates feelings of anger then … is that meaning harming or benefiting you? The emotional feeling stems from the meaning you apply, and you can have greater control of this.

So, what could you do?

How could you take that simple word, “lockdown”, and apply a different meaning to it? You could apply a different meaning that reduces the impact of any negative emotions that you experience?

Locking or unlocking the door?

Maybe you could think of it in terms of personal and family safety, maybe about how you can protect the NHS or your local service, maybe you could think of it as an opportunity to do things you haven’t done before or maybe … well, you can explore the other more positive “maybe’s”.

We are all meaning making machines. The meaning you apply to words, phrases and experiences will show up in your feelings and emotions.

And, if it’s needed, and knowing this, how could you apply a more positive meaning to the word “lockdown”?

About Stuart: Stuart is an executive and corporate professional coach and student mentor. He can be contacted via his website at

Photo by Pedro Ramos on Unsplash

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