Today I am going to talk about positive affirmations! 😄 To be completely honest with you, I had actually pushed the whole idea to the side for a long time due to thinking it was a gimmick, one of those uber-cute and uber-positive, trendy-for-a-bit kind of things to the point of cringing. Then I read about it and did some research. I was totally wrong and ignorant about what positive affirmations actually mean, how they work, and what effect they can have on you!
If you use them right, consistently, and you’re in the right mindset for using them (I read that it doesn’t work for everyone all the time), it’s been studied and proven that positive affirmations can reverse negative thinking and help us become more positive overall, and increase our motivation towards doing something, for example, achieving our goals.
I happen to set goals for myself nowadays on a monthly basis, and I am absolutely going to start using positive affirmations to see how they will help me get where I want to be!
But, how do positive affirmations work? Is there scientific reasoning behind it? How can you make your own positive affirmations? What are some of my own? I’ll talk about all of that below! 😊
How do positive affirmations work?
According to sources such as Psychology Today that I have been reading recently, affirmations work because they essentially program your brain into believing what you are saying due to the brain’s plasticity; it constantly rewires itself by forming new neural connections, and while it’s doing that, you can make sure to insert your positive affirmations to balance and even replace the multitude of negative messages we tend to carry with us either from our past or from other people and the media outlets.
So when you repeat positive affirmations on a regular basis, it will help you to actually start feeling that they are true because your mind starts orienting towards them being true! Little by little you can reverse some negative thinking patterns.
(More info on Neuroplasticity on Wikipedia)
Kind of a side note but related to the brain and how it changes over time based on outside stimuli, and what that actually means… There’s a super interesting documentary available on YouTube called The Brain That Changes Itself. It’s quite long, almost an hour, but if you have the time and interest to check it out, I will include it here! 👍
How can you make effective affirmations?
Think of a goal for your affirmation. Do you want to achieve something? Do you want to turn something negative into positive?
Let’s use an example of wanting to do well in a work meeting where you are presenting, like what I was doing yesterday. Your goal would be to succeed in your presentation so that your audience would find it engaging and informative, and your boss would be impressed and appreciate the effort you made. You’re also feeling super anxious about it because presenting is not your strongest point.
When writing your affirmation, here are 3 helpful suggestions on how to do it effectively:
- Always write your affirmation in a positive format, instead of negative. For example, “I speak energetically and engage my audience perfectly” instead of concentrating on not wanting to sound tired and not wanting to bore your audience. Your mind can get stuck on negative affirmations as well – you definitely want to avoid that happening, so always remember to write it in a positive way!
- Use present tense! You want your affirmation to be in the here and now to start training your brain to think that way. If you write about something in the future, or in the past, it won’t be effective as you want the change to happen right now.
- User more positive and powerful words. Instead of writing my affirmation as “I’m good at presenting and I engage my audience”, I can write instead that “I’m amazing at presenting and I really captivate my audience”.
- Try to always start your sentence with “I am”, or at least, “I” so it definitely relates to what you want to change in yourself.
How do you use positive affirmations?
The trick is to repeat them multiple times in a row, multiple times per day. For example, when getting out of bed yesterday morning I could have repeated “I’m amazing at presenting and I am relaxed and calm”, several times, while making my morning coffee and preparing to leave for work. You could also stick post-it notes around your house with your affirmations written down so you’d constantly see them.
Then, during my commute, before arriving at the office, I could have repeated them a few times again. Or, read from a notebook or from my phone, in case I don’t want to appear talking to myself on the bus!
Right before the meeting, I could have taken a little break and a look at the affirmations again, especially if any negative thoughts were starting to creep back in. It’s important to try to stifle those and “override” with your positive affirmations instead.
Then, hopefully, the presentation would go well and I would feel at least slightly less nervous, and more self-confident. (It actually went pretty well yesterday!)
My own affirmations 💛
Here are some positive affirmations I made that relate to my current situation, and some general ones I thought I could use sometimes. 😊
- Related to my inability to ever get out of bed as early as I’d like: “I love challenges and seeing the early morning sunrise while enjoying a cup of delicious coffee.”
- Related to stress arising from demanding tasks at work: “I’m super-resilient, I can do this, and I love my job so much.”
- Struggling with my commute and the temptation to take Uber to work and back: “I’m strong in my convictions, and so excited about all the money that I’m able to save.”
- General anxiety: “I’m alright, nothing is hurting me, life is good and I am relaxed.”
- Struggling to drink enough water during the day: “I am so productive and feel healthy when I’ve had enough water.”
- Blogging/writing rut guilt: “I’m relaxed and at peace, I deserve a nice break”
- Related to my sometimes low self-confidence with managing other people at work: “I’m experienced and I’m excellent at what I do.”
Have you used positive affirmations yourself? Did you notice any change in your thinking? What are some of your current affirmations? I’d love to hear about it! 😊
Also, let me know if you have any suggestions on making the above affirmations even more effective. I’m still learning about it myself!