Affirmations: What Are They And How To Use Them Effectively?

"I will never be good enough"

"I'm not gonna succeed in my career. I'm just not smart enough." 

"I don't like how I look"

"I always let others talk over me. I'm never gonna be taken seriously"

A lot of us experience negative thoughts such as the ones mentioned above, sometimes regularly. By thinking this way, we can diminish our self-esteem, confidence, and overall mood, leading to a pessimistic outlook on both ourselves and our lives. These negative thought patterns and perceptions can act as self-fulfilling prophecies and hold us back in many areas of our lives. 

That's why it's so important to try to do the opposite and practice having positive self thoughts and engage in positive self-talk. This can have a much more beneficial impact on us, our self-perceptions, and the activities we engage in. 

What are Affirmations?

Affirmations are positive phrases that can help transform negative thoughts and behaviours if they are used repeatedly. They are very beneficial as they boost self-esteem, challenge negative thinking, motivate us into taking positive action, and reduce stress, allowing us to persevere through tough times and improve our well-being. 

Whether you've accomplished something great or are feeling down because you've had a very challenging day, how you phrase things matters a lot when you talk to yourself. Affirmations replace negative self-talk with positive statements. For instance, instead of saying "I am so stupid", say something like "Everyone makes mistakes. I can learn from my mistakes and grow". 

Affirmations and positive phrases are used commonly during yoga and meditation to reinforce positive thinking. They help restore your self-image at times when you have negative perceptions of yourself. Once you repeat them over and over again, you begin to believe in them and make positive changes. By using affirmations and boosting your self-perception, you can handle challenging situations with greater confidence.

Benefits of Affirmations

Some research studies indicate that using positive affirmations can enhance individuals' work performance. For example, spending a few moments to reflect on your strengths before a work meeting can help ease your anxiety, boost your self-confidence, and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Additionally, affirmations have proven to lessen the impact of stress. A research study revealed that a brief affirmation exercise improved the problem-solving skills of participants who were classified as being chronically stressed. 

Another study revealed that participants who repeated positive and encouraging self-affirmations about matters that they considered important performed better on a stressful problem-solving activity compared to participants who repeated affirmations that were unrelated to what they value. 

Affirmations have also proven to help individuals who struggle with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and many other mental health conditions. It's even been found that they stimulate certain areas of the brain that are associated with making positive changes regarding our health. A meta analysis study revealed that affirmations can assist individuals in making positive behavioural changes such as avoiding alcohol, limiting their caffein intake, engaging in exercise, and more. 

At times, positive affirmations can also act as reminders of our resilience and they are often used during therapy. When integrated into cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), positive affirmations can help people accept their reality and enable a shift towards viewing situations through a more rational lens. 

How To Use Affirmations Effectively 

When used appropriately, affirmations can have a wide variety of positive impacts on an individual's life. 

It's important to choose affirmations that truly resonate with you and your goals, are positive, and have meaning to you. For example, is your goal for the affirmation to assure you of something? Motivate you towards something? Or increase your confidence and sense of worth? 

Then, it's important to consistently repeat these affirmations to yourself. Integrate these positive affirmations into your daily routines to create a sense of consistency that can help you shift your mindset and make positive changes over time. For example, you can state affirmations every morning when you wake up and a few times during the day when you look in the mirror. You might also find it helpful to write your affirmations down since they can act as visual aids that way. 

It can also be very beneficial to go beyond just words and truly embody the emotions and feelings associated with your affirmations. For example, you can use visualization techniques and imagine yourself experiencing your desired outcomes. This can help create a deeper connection between the affirmations and your subconscious mind. 

For maximized effectiveness, consider combining affirmations with other positive practices. For example, you can couple affirmations with meditation or mindfulness practices to create a calm and receptive state of mind. 

Lastly, when using affirmations, it's important to be patient and persistent. Change takes time, and affirmations are not a magical quick fix. It may take weeks or even months of you consistently repeating these positive affirmations to yourself until you see the positive and long-lasting effects.  

It's also important to note that the effectiveness of affirmations vary from person to person. You must find an approach that resonates with you and feels authentic. 

Sample Affirmations That Can Be Used By Anyone

  • I'm going to be alright 
  • I deserve the best 
  • I am worthy of love 
  • I am in charge of how I feel, and today I choose happiness
  • I am thankful for my partner, my family, and my friends 
  • I am beautiful
  • All I can do is my best 
  • Failure is a part of success
  • Today is going to be a great day
  • I am at peace with everything I cannot control 
  • I forgive myself for the mistakes I made when I didn't know better
  • I am worthy of respect

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of affirmations or want to get additional guidance on how to effectively incorporate them into your life, please don't hesitate to reach out to us and we can provide valuable support on your affirmation journey.