Tip #105: Affirmations, affirmations, affirmations.
The Why: When I first heard about affirmations, my cold, cynical heart thought “what a load of nonsense.”
Was it really possible to think yourself happy? Did saying positive phrases out loud to yourself every morning really make a difference?
But, then I looked at the science, the case studies, the facts. Then, I tried it for myself.
And by G-d, it truly does.
I should start with a little lesson: affirmations 101.
Affirmations, according to the source of all knowledge, Google, are:
“Positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualise, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.”
For instance, if you’re struggling with thoughts that make you doubt you can overcome anxiety, saying the affirmation “I can and will overcome anxiety” means that your brain will begin to internalise this narrative, and make it easier to do.
But how does this work?
Well, I’m a big believer in the idea that your thoughts do in fact become your reality. You see, sometimes the biggest roadblock to our happiness and success is ourselves. More specifically, our thoughts.
If you constantly tell your brain that you won’t overcome anxiety, that you’re not strong enough, that you’re not good enough, that you don’t deserve happiness, then this message will become so powerful that that narrative manifests itself into reality.
This is because the thoughts you have create strong neural pathways, literally changing the way your brain sees the world, and how you react to situations. So, if these neural pathways are formed in a negative way, then your brain will react to you overcoming anxiety with hesitation and obstruction.
Your brain will truly believe that you aren’t strong or good enough, and so every time you do try to overcome an issue, it will act as an extra roadblock on your journey.
Affirmations are the key to undoing this process and forming new, better, more positive neural pathways. Pathways that will lead you to where you want to be.
So, here are five tips that I have found super useful when writing and performing mine.
Number One – Be Specific
When writing affirmations, it’s easy to just put:
“I will overcome anxiety” or “I deserve happiness”
Now don’t get me wrong, these are also important. But for affirmations to really take effect, don’t be afraid to get specific with it.
For instance, if you’re suffering from social anxiety, try saying:
“I can make good conversation with strangers, and people like me.”
Identify your main triggers, and write affirmations designed to deal with them directly, as well as having more general ones.
Number Two – Say It Loud
The key to affirmations is that, as weird and conceited as they seem, you have to really try to believe them. To say them with conviction.
So, say it loud and say it proud.
Mumbling your affirmations isn’t going to fool your brain. The whole point is that you really start to believe them. You have to say them with confidence, even if at first you don’t feel like they are true.
Saying them out loud sends a message to the universe: come give me what I want. I deserve it.
Get in front of a mirror, and as silly as you feel, look yourself directly in the eye, and tell yourself how gosh darn great you are.
Number Three – Think About Exactly What You Are Trying To Achieve
When writing affirmations, really take some time to think about the kind of person you want to be, the things you want to achieve, and then write your affirmations based on the things you need to believe to get to that place.
For instance, I want to be the kind of person that doesn’t shy away from her dreams, and who is confident enough in herself to accept the way she looks.
So, two of my affirmations are:
“I can and will achieve my dreams” and “I am confident and happy with the way I look.”
Number Four – Start The Day Right
The best time to perform your affirmations is probably in the morning. This is because it sets a positive tone for the rest of your day, making you feel invincible straight out of the gate.
I would recommend trying to write ten to fifteen affirmations down to begin with and reading them every morning. In the shower, just before you leave for work, over breakfast.
Number Five – Stick With It
Like a lot of things in life, good things take time. Affirmations are no different.
It can take two or three weeks of daily affirmations to really begin to feel a difference, but you know what, taking three minutes out of your day every day to achieve that difference is so worth it.
I honestly cannot tell you how much easier and better and more positive life seems since I have started my affirmations.
I feel like I have begun to demolish the roadblocks in my mind, the things holding me back from the life I want to live. It feels a lot like freedom.
So, stick with it.