What Affirmations Are
Affirmations are statements that we say to ourselves.
The Latin verb “affirmare” means to strengthen/fortify. So, when we repeat these statements, it reinforces them in our minds. We start to believe that they are the truth and act accordingly.
Affirmations may be negative or positive
Depending on our inner-talk, such statements may hold us back or drag us down, undermining our confidence. We might say:
“I’m so stupid.”
“I’ll never achieve this.”
“Who am I to do this?”
Ever notice how we often find it easier to believe the negative stories we tell ourselves, things we aren’t even sure are 100% true?
This makes us focus on the things that we don’t want in our lives instead of all the good that already exists within and around us.
We forget the great things that we are capable of.
Think of how this affects your relationship with yourself and those around you.
Affirmations Are Powerful
See the power of affirmations? They determine how you live your life!
While positive affirmations might seem like some new-agey, “shelf-help”, happy-clappy stuff, when we look at how negative ones impact our lives, how about giving the opposite a go?
By saying positive words to ourselves and believing them, we feel good and are more motivated to take the right actions needed to achieve our goals.
The Science Part
Telling ourselves positive things may seem awkward initially.
We are simply not used to being our own cheerleaders.
The more we repeat positive affirmations, they become familiar and feel natural.
But they’re so much more than just nice words.
They empower us and boost our self-worth and confidence.
Empirical evidence also suggests that positive self-affirmations decrease stress, reduce anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, encourage us to eat healthier and raise the level of feel-good hormones.
They promote a healthier, more confident mindset, re-wiring the brain through neuroplasticity.
Who Uses Affirmations?
Athletes and celebrities are renowned for reciting positive affirmations to help them succeed.
It’s important to recognise that affirmations are for everyone- not just those in the public eye. Although, we can certainly use these figures as role models as we create our own affirmation practices.
Just like these role models, we all have our own stories and goals that we want to achieve.
You can use those stories, the good and the bad, for your benefit.
You can change them and turn your life around any time YOU CHOOSE.
You can take the first step, a small action to move you towards your big dream. And that can be speaking words to yourself that serve you best!
Think of it as mental training. If we want to be fit and healthy, we don’t just work out or eat well once and say “that’s me, done!”.
It’s an ongoing process and we need to work it in to our daily routine.
The same is true when it comes to practicing positive affirmations.
How to use Affirmations
It’s important to remember that you are the leader of your life- you choose what you say to yourself, good or bad.
Just like leading a team, what you say can have a motivating or de-motivating effect.
Invest time for you to compose your own positive affirmations.
Here are some pointers for developing and using them:
1. Reflect on your personal values
Raise your own morale by reflecting on your personal values, what really matters to you in your life.
You can include elements of these values in the positive statements that you say to yourself.
This helps you to connect to what you are saying and increases the powerful effect of positive affirmations to your life.
2. Consider what you would like to experience more of in your life
Perhaps this is more happiness, excitement, freedom, self-love, abundance, fulfilment?
Think of the most simple ways that you can experience those feelings, for example, getting outside and taking a moment to appreciate the world around you, going for a run, laughing with friends, spending time with pets, curling up with a cup of tea, discovering something new, being in the presence of your family.
Give yourself permission to feel those feelings now. Afterall, these are the feelings that you ultimately want to experience when you achieve your goals, aren’t they?
Remind yourself that it’s possible to feel those things in the present moment- perhaps in different ways, through different mediums, but the feeling will ultimately be the same, even if the circumstances vary.
These feelings set the foundation for creating strong, authentic positive affirmations that are personal to you.
3. Write your positive affirmations down!
Remember, positive affirmations are sentences that create change for the better in your life.
Coming from a good feeling place as discussed in step 2, get a pen and paper and enjoy being creative as you begin to write down your positive affirmations (we are more likely to follow through on something when it is written down).
Focus on you and write each statement in the present tense- doing this convinces your subconscious mind that what you are telling it is true.
You might like to start with “I am” affirmations, for example “I am enough” (see more positive affirmation examples below).
As you write down positive statements about yourself, remember to make them believable for you.
At the same time, it’s important to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone- remember how you’re more likely to believe really nasty and negative things about yourself? Well, flip that around and write really great things about you that you can also believe, for the better.
4. Make sure you have easy access to them
Put your positive affirmations somewhere you can see them every day, or in different places for when you need them- your bathroom mirror, notes in your phone, the glovebox of your car. You can even set phone alarms/reminders to go off throughout the day displaying your affirmations!
5. Make repetition of your positive affirmations a part of your life
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”– Muhammad Ali
You may have set times for saying your affirmations (e.g. out loud first thing in the morning), you may also like to repeat them as needed throughout the day (e.g. before an important meeting, when you’re about to do something new, if you feel your mind wandering to a negative place).
Bonus tip: you might also like to try incorporating your positive affirmations into your passwords. A great way to re-programme your subconscious mind for the better throughout the day!
6. Re-visit and mix up your affirmations as required
Check in with yourself and ask “what’s working and what isn’t?”, “how is this statement making me feel?”. We all know things can get stale over time and lose their impact. An affirmation may no longer be relevant to you or your needs and may need to be replaced with another that serves you best.
Know that you can repeat steps 1-6 as often as you like!
Examples of Positive Affirmations
Some of my favourites include:
I am really good at what I do (thanks to the wonderful Bee Flanagan from WHAT WILL BE WITH BEE for this one!)
I am resourceful and I always find a way.
Everything is always working out for me.
I am doing my best.
I am open to giving and receiving love from many sources.
I am amazing (another one from Bee- even if this one makes you giggle at first, it’s already having a positive effect and shifting your mindset, go with it and believe it!)
I am abundant and enjoy more than enough.
My talent and potential know no bounds.
Everything I eat and drink is an opportunity to fuel my body and mind for the better.
I learn from the past, I forgive myself as I enjoy this present moment and look forward to my future.
Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.
I’m not where I used to be, I’m not where I want to be… I’m okay, I’m on my way!
Positive Affirmations Get Us Into Action
Positive affirmations help us to take the steps needed to build up momentum and make things happen.
Instead of just talking about what we want to do, we take action and make our goals a reality!
They support us in feeling good about life and about ourselves in the present moment as we work towards our future.
By promoting these good feelings, positive affirmations make us more motivated to do what it takes to achieve what we want.
How do you feel about using positive affirmations?
Maybe you do already- let me know some of your favourites in the comments below!