An Underestimated Mental Tool
Do you ever feel like your mind is working against you? Like you're trying to accomplish something, but every step of the way, your thoughts are telling you it's not possible? Can you be overly harsh, judgmental, or critical of yourself?
You are not alone, and it’s completely normal! Self-compassion does not come easily or naturally to most human beings.
Thoughts like these are incredibly common and can be incredibly effective at keeping us from achieving our goals. This can lead to feelings of being stuck or not progressing on your life path in ways that you feel are in alignment with whom you truly are.
But what if there was a way to turn those thoughts around? What if we could use them to help us achieve our goals instead?
Believe it or not, there is a way. Using affirmations can be transformative in helping us shift our perspective about ourselves and the world.
In this article, we’ll discuss the commonly underestimated technique of affirming,in-depth!
Let’s get to it!
What Are Affirmations?
So what exactly are affirmations? In the most basic sense, an affirmation is simply a statement that intends to induce change.
It might be something as simple as declaring "I am valuable" or "I can do this."
But it can also be more complex, like "I am attracting abundance into my life" or "I am releasing all fear and doubt."
The key is that it is a statement that you believe to be true - or that you want to become true.
Affirmations are often used as a tool for positive thinking and self-improvement.
By repeating an affirmation regularly, it can help to shift your mindset from negative to positive, and from doubtful to confident.
This can, in turn, lead to real changes in your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Over time, these changes can add up to significant improvements in your overall well-being.
Do Affirmations Work?
Most people think of affirmations as some sort of spiritual gobbledygook, but in fact, they can be useful, and research is being done on their effectiveness.
One of the best ways to reprogram the mind is through repetition.
A study published in 2020 titled Self-affirmation buffering by the general public reduces anxiety levels during the COVID-19 epidemic (Li, Wu, Zhang, Xu, and Zhou) revealed some fascinating information about the impact of affirmations. The results revealed that "an experimental intervention involving the affirmation of personal values can buffer psychological stress response and participants who affirmed their values did not show an increased level of anxiety compared with control participants.”
Repeating a positive statement to oneself can help to break down negative barriers and open up new possibilities.
In fact, affirmations are even more effective when used at the time of occurrence of negative behaviors or thoughts.
For example, if you notice that you’re putting yourself down in some way (i.e telling yourself you’re ‘not good enough’) you can counter that with an affirmation, such as ‘I can learn the skills necessary to be good at this.’
Over time, such affirmations will help to change your mindset and make it easier to stick to your goal.
Simply said, affirmations are not your 100% effective tool for inducing change on a mental level, but they CAN have a positive impact.
3 Affirmations To Use!
Let's face it, everything in our lives is mostly about three things: health, wealth, and relationships.
All 3 of those are subject to our tendency to think negatively and in a limited way.
We worry about our health, especially as we get older. We worry about money and whether we have enough - or whether we're making excellent decisions with the money we have.
And we worry about our relationships - with our partners, our friends, our families, and everyone else we interact with daily.
These concerns are perfectly natural, but we have to remind ourselves from time to time that the situation isn’t as grim as our brains may tell us!
Here are our 3 favorite affirmations that you can use to improve your day-to-day life and reprogram your mind toward growth!
“I honor my body’s wisdom by trusting the signals that it sends.”
This affirmation we took from Deepak Chopra. Here the focus is on realizing that the body is an intelligent, sentient being that wants to communicate with you. It is capable of sharing with you its limits, wants, needs, and desires. It is your choice to tune in or ignore the message being delivered.
“Each and every word and experience I share with a fellow human being goes towards the greatest good of us both, for whatever this may be. I offer and take no resistance in my social interactions.”
This relationship affirmation is one we came up with, that we found useful, especially in people who are socially awkward.
“I am a wealthy being. Money comes to me easily and frequently. I use my wealth to improve my life, my skills, and the lives of others. I am grateful for my abundance, and I share it freely and willingly. I am always open to unexpected venues and opportunities that bring about financial riches.”
Last but not least, you can use this wealth affirmation, at times when you are more towards the scarce mindset, rather than the growth mindset!
So, do affirmations work? The research says “yes.”
However, while affirmations may not be effective for everyone in every situation, using positive self-talk can have real benefits.
It seems the key to making affirmations work is to find what works for you and use them regularly in a way that feels authentic.
If you're curious about trying out affirmations, start by picking one or two statements that resonate with you and repeat them in your mind daily.
Pay attention to how you feel when you say them and whether your mood changes or your stress levels go down.
If they seem to help, keep doing them! And if they don't, well, at least you tried something new.
What’s your favorite affirmation? Comment below!
Shifeng LI, Yiling WU, Fumin ZHANG, Qiongying XU, Aibao ZHOU. (2020). Self-affirmation buffering by the general public reduces anxiety levels during the COVID-19 epidemic. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 52(7), 886-894.