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Positive affirmations have become extremely popular lately, especially on social media. It appears that almost every successful person on the internet is using them! But what exactly are they and how do you use them?
In the following article I’m going to talk about positive and negative affirmations and why we should or shouldn’t use them. I’m also going to give a step by step guide on how to write your own positive affirmations to help you focus your thoughts on creating the life you dream of!
Affirmations, what exactly are they?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary the word “affirmation” means “a statement or sign that something is true”.
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome negative thoughts and behaviours. They provide inspiration as well as simple reminders helping us to focus on our goals.
What are negative affirmations?
Negative affirmations are the negative words we say about ourselves either internally or to other people. These negative thoughts can have a massive impact on how we act, our confidence, our self esteem, ultimately reducing our ability to progress both personally and professionally.
Imagine working in an environment were we are constantly given negative feedback or comments all day long. What impact would this have on our self esteem or confidence to do our job effectively? If we are told something often enough we usually begin to believe it!
The same goes in our personal life. Has a friend or loved one ever made an off the cuff comment about you? Did this stick in your mind? If it did, chances are it affected your self esteem in some way!
Examples of negative self talk:
- I can’t do this!
- I don’t deserve….
- People won’t like me
- Everyone else is better than me
- I’m not going to get any better than this
- I’m worthless
- I haven’t got time
- I’m too old to change…..
- I’m ugly
- I’m too fat
At school, I was one of those tall really skinny girls with terrible knobbly knees, well so I thought. I was always teased for it, even by friends and family members! So much so that for years later even well into my thirty’s I never felt comfortable wearing a skirt as I was so self conscious about showing my skinny knobbly knees!
Even to this day, I’m 43, people still comment on how skinny my legs are, telling me that I really need to eat more! For years I battled with myself and how I looked, however these days I don’t let it bother me! I started to tell myself; I know I am a healthy weight! I feel and look great when I wear a skirt! I am happy with the way I look!
Eventually these positive thoughts replaced the negative ones. Giving me my self confidence back. This confidence then has a knock on effect, today I get more compliments about my legs than I ever had! And for those who still make those negative comments, I just shrug it off and tell them that I’m healthy and happy with the way I look. This usually makes them feel bad for saying it in the first place!
In some cases negative thoughts can lead to negative behaviours. Not only do our negative thoughts affect our self esteem, if repeated enough they may create stubborn limiting beliefs. These beliefs will dictate how you respond to situations and the life choices you make.
In some instances, these beliefs may make you feel like a victim, focusing on what is going wrong in your life, making you feel stuck in a situation and unable to cope. Prolonged negative beliefs and low self esteem have also be linked to the development of some mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
By changing your mindset, whatever circumstances you find yourself in, you can always make a positive change! Even if its small, its a start, you have to trust the process and grow with it!
What are positive affirmations?
Just like negative affirmations positive affirmations are those positive words we say about ourselves either internally or to other people. Repeated over and over they feed our mind slowly changing both your thinking and your reality.
At first positive affirmations may not be true, however with constant repetition your subconscious mind will start to believe them and eventually become a reality.
Now this does’t mean that if we say, “we will win the lottery” enough times that it will happen. Of course it doesn’t work like that. It all about manifesting your own abilities to succeed in something particular.
Studies show it is easier to make positive changes in our life if we use daily affirmations. They give you the motivation to keep going through tough times!
Examples of positive affirmations:
- I will complete…….
- I will be successful
- Today will be a great day
- I can do anything I set my mind to
- I attract positivity
- I am beautiful
- I am a good person
- I am good at……
- I am worthy of……
Just as I described in my personal example above by using positive affirmations, I was able to overcome my anxiety about my legs. I now use these same techniques in other areas of my life, to help me reach my full potential and have the life I dream of.
What are the benefits of using affirmations?
As we have said above using positive affirmations can greatly improve your self confidence and self worth. However there are several benefits to using them such as:
- They motivate you to act, actioning your goals, further boosting your desire to continue your actions.
- They make you concentrate on your goals.
- They change your negative thought patterns into positive ones.
- They influence your subconscious mind to access new beliefs.
- They help you feel positive about yourself and boost your self confidence.
Although most of us will benefit greatly from using daily positive affirmations. For some of us it can be a much harder and difficult process with no real results.
This could be down to a couple of things.
Firstly, if you are already so caught up with negative thoughts and feeling, simply saying positive thoughts and phrases may not be enough. Instead start off with more neutral affirmations such as “I’m learning to accept myself” or “Today I’m going to be Ok”. This way we don’t put too much pressure on us and set ourself up for failure, deepening our negative beliefs further.
Secondly, your affirmation practice and structure is wrong. Don’t try to practice positive affirmations if you are not in the best state of mind. If there is too much conflict with what you are saying and what you are feeling then the brain can’t understand what you want! Try instead to practice when you are feeling relaxed, this way the brain will be more open and engaged.
Finally, it’s important to format your affirmations correctly. Aim to focus on what you want to achieve rather than what you are trying to move away from.
How to write your own affirmations:
You can use positive affirmations provided by someone else or you can create your own. For most people starting out, using other peoples is often the easier choice, however as you get used to using affirmations you’ll want to start using your own.
Below I’ve set out a simple way of writing your own affirmations. This process will make it easier to make your own personalised affirmations that you can use to focus your mind on creating your dream life.
Step 1: Start with I am….
Always start with I am, I will, I can etc. By using ” I” you are directly stating what YOU are going to achieve!
Step 2: Always use present tense.
Always write your affirmations in the present tense. If you use words like “In 3 months I would like….” you are saying you are still 3 months away from reaching your goal. Instead focus on goals that are more achievable. Break down bigger goals if needed. Use instead ‘Today I will…” or “I am getting better at…”. This way you will create an inner experience of having what you desire right now.
Step 3: Speak about what you want to do.
What is it you want to achieve? Is is a feeling, something you want or a career goal? To do this write down a list of goals and break them down into smaller chunks. Write affirmations to support these goals.
Step 4: Keep it short.
While length will vary according to your goals and personal style, shorter affirmations are generally quicker to remember and roll nicely off the tongue. The easier it is to say, the more often you’ll say it!
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a long affirmation. I have seen some very powerful affirmations that are long but very specific to the person using them.
After all, it’s all dependant on your own personal goals and what works for you.
Step 5: Be Positive.
Rather than focusing on things we want to change or let go of, focus on more positive behaviours. For example, don’t say ” I refuse to eat junk food” instead say ” I will embrace healthy eating”.
Step 6: Make it personal.
Affirmation statements are most effective when they are spoken in our own language. Be sure to write down your affirmations in the same way as your inner voice. After all these statements are for you and you only!
How to use affirmations.
There are several ways to use affirmations. What’s important is that you find affirmations that resonate with you.
Ways you can use affirmations include:
Say them out load – Start the morning off by looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating your positive affirmations out loud.
Visualisation – Every morning or evening allow yourself time to visualise yourself doing the actions you need to do to achieve your goals.
Write them down in a journal – Journaling is one of the best ways to understand your most inner thoughts and feelings. For those of you who do journal regularly, this may be a more natural approach to start off with.
Repeat them in your head like a mantra. This works especially well for shorter affirmations. Choose a statement that resonates the most with your goals and make it your regular mantra, your life chant, if you wish.
Pin them to your workspace – Or somewhere you go regularly. This way you are reading them throughout the day. Little reminders of the actions you need to do to complete your goals.
Record them – Record them on your phone and set timers to read them back to yourself.
Positive affirmations can have a great impact in a persons ability to change their life around or reach their dreams. These statements don’t have to be complicated either. Just one short statement such as “I can achieve…. ” can be enough for us to change our mindset and believe in ourselves!
Do you use positive affirmations? How have they helped change your mindset or reach your goals? Let me know in the comments below.
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Thanks for reading,
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