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How can positive affirmations help?

Positive affirmations

Positive affirmations

You must have come across the age-old phrase, “if you believe in it, you can easily achieve it.” What is this phrase exactly? It is a positive affirmation. Positive affirmations are a part of a helpful strategy guide that can be used in your everyday life. Most people are skeptical of bringing positive affirmations into their daily life. However, once they do, they start to notice the benefits and make it a part of their daily ritual. If you still have doubts about what positive affirmations are, here are a few examples:

‘Today will be a great day.’

‘I believe in myself.’

‘I am going to give this project my all.’

These are fairly simple statements that are easy to remember and chant every day. However, these simplistic-looking statements can help you move your focus from your inadequacies and perceived failures towards your strengths and keep you motivated.

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What are positive affirmations?

The primary problem we face when harboring negative thoughts is that these thoughts can easily become prophecies. When we constantly feel that we are not good enough, our mind starts to believe in it. These thoughts drag us down in our relationships, careers, and personal lives.

If you choose to go in the completely opposite direction and focus on using positive thoughts regularly, you will constantly motivate yourself. The effect of such thoughts can be highly positive and allow you to lead a more fulfilling life.

Positive affirmations are defined as phrases that can either be said out loud or they can be repeated in your head. These are very helpful in building yourself up. These come in especially handy when you feel low, your day is going bad, or even if you just want to have a good day and be successful in your ventures.

Positive affirmations can also help you overcome any negative thoughts and emotions that might be dwelling in your mind. Constantly feeling negative about yourself will immerse you in the sea of self-doubt. Under such circumstances, it will become difficult to excel in anything. Positive affirmations can help you overcome these negative feelings and start to feel motivated and believe in yourself.

What are positive affirmations?

Is the use of positive affirmations an unrealistic goal?

As I mentioned before, many people have doubted and continue to doubt the power of positive affirmations. They feel that positive reformations are just wishful thinking. However, let’s look at positive affirmations in a different light:

Suppose you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. You start exercising regularly. You do the same exercise over and over again every day. Eventually, you start noticing a difference in your body. You become lean, lose fat, gain muscles, and feel better about yourself. Positive affirmations work similarly. As you use physical exercises to train your body, positive affirmations can be used to train your mind and thinking patterns. The use of positive affirmations every day can reprogram the thinking patterns in your brain and change the way you behave and act.

The functioning of positive affirmations

The brain is a very powerful organ. It has the power to adapt and change depending on life scenarios. This is why you do not think the same way you used to when you were a child. Your brain has constantly been evolving through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The exposure to different life circumstances has reprogrammed it many times to help adapt to different scenarios and work more efficiently.

However, sometimes our brain gets influenced by our surroundings. If the surroundings, in general, are full of negativity or if a negative person is constantly by your ear, demotivating you about everything you do, you may start losing focus and stop believing in yourself.

An amazing fact about the human mind is that sometimes our minds can get mixed up in the differences between the imagination and reality. This factor can be very helpful in improving the effectiveness of positive affirmations.

Use of mental imagery

When you use positive affirmations, you are also asked to employ a mental image along with the affirmation. For example, suppose you have an interview coming up. Focus on building a mental image of where you are facing the interviewer. If you are afraid of height, imagine yourself performing a bungee jump. Your imagination opens up sections of your brain that can conquer fear. Thus, when performing any of the above-mentioned activities, you will not feel as afraid as you would if you had not practiced the positive affirmations.

The regular repetition of specific sentences about your own self can help your brain view these positive affirmations as facts. Once you start believing in yourself, your actions follow to reflect that. You become more confident, and this confidence helps you in achieving your goals.

Take the negative thought

Suppose you have a negative thought like, “I’m horrible at giving interviews. The last interview I was in was an absolute disaster. I froze in front of the interviewers. There is no way that I am going to clear the upcoming job interview. I should not even bother to prepare.”

Turn it into a positive thought

Now replace this negative thought with a positive affirmation such as:

“I have the necessary qualifications. I have an amazing educational pedigree. I also have an excellent job experience which sets me apart from the other candidates. There is no reason why they should not hire me. I am the perfect candidate for the post.”

When you repeat the sentence to yourself regularly, your brain starts to believe in it. When your brain starts to believe, your overall confidence, demeanor, and calmness improve. These affirmations also help avoid self-sabotaging behaviors or thoughts that might be interfering with your success. Thus, when you finally appear in front of the interviewers, you are a much more confident person than you were before you started using the positive affirmations.

Action is the key to success.

Only repeating a positive affirmation on an everyday basis is not going to help. It will boost your confidence and motivation. However, along with the positive affirmations, you must take action. You must look at positive affirmations as a stepping stone in the process of change. The positive affirmation is not itself the change.

Suppose you have a psychopathic mother who wants to be a part of everything you do. She inquires about your whereabouts every hour. When you get home after a long day, she wants every detail. Her questions annoy you, but you do not have the option of running away or leaving your home at the moment. How do you deal with such a situation?

You tell yourself, “I can stay calm from within even if her questions annoy me. Furthermore, you must couple this sentence with deep breathing exercises or grounding exercises. You know, when you meet your mother, she is going to ask you annoying questions. Therefore, it would be a wise idea to start practicing the breathing exercises even before you come face to face with your mother. This will help keep your blood from boiling. You can answer a couple of her questions and then politely excuse yourself by saying that you have to attend to some work.

Action is key

The positive affirmation you practiced helped. However, it was not the complete solution. Affirmations can offer you a starting point. However, it is up to you to take action beyond the finish line. The deep breathing exercises that you used, combined with the positive affirmations, helped you survive the interrogation of your mother until you could politely escape from the scene.

How do positive affirmations help?

Boost your work efficiency and productivity

Studies have shown that the use of positive affirmations regularly can help you do better at your job. As per researchers, spending a mere few minutes motivating yourself and thinking about the best qualities that you have before a stressful situation like a performance review or a high-pressure client meeting, etc., can help calm you from within, boost your confidence and improve your probability of attaining a successful result.

Combat everyday stress

Positive affirmations can be used to easily mitigate the harmful effects of everyday stress. A study was conducted in which positive affirmation exercises were used on three groups of subjects. One category of subjects regularly practiced positive affirmations while the other two subject categories did not. The results showed an increase in the problem-solving capabilities of the group practicing positive affirmations when they were under high levels of stress.

The psychologists also compared people in two categories. In one category, the subjects were chronically stressed, but they were given positive affirmations to practice. In the other subject category, people were provided with only mild levels of stress. When they compared the results, the psychologists realized that people who were chronically stressed showed problem-solving capabilities that were equal to those of the low-stress category. However, when the subjects in the chronically stressed category were not provided with positive information, their problem-solving capability was very low compared to those who were kept in the low-stress environment.

Boost mental health

Another scenario where positive affirmations can be extremely helpful is in boosting the mental health of a person. If you suffer from depression, have low self-esteem, anxiety, or any other mental health issue, you must use positive affirmations every day. Studies have shown that positive affirmations can successfully stimulate those sections of the brain that allow us to imbibe positive changes in our life.

Another study has shown that positive affirmation also increases the sense of self-worth in a person. This makes the person more interested in their own well-being. Suppose you are always worried about the type of food that you consume since you do not have enough time for exercise. If you invite positive affirmations into your life, your behavior towards both food and exercise might change. You may start to take some time out to exercise while eating healthy and nutritious food.

The correct way to use positive affirmations

You must use positive information in any section of your life where you want to bring in a change. The different scenarios where positive affirmations might help can be:

Write down the positive affirmation in your journal.

If you do journaling every day, make it a point to write down your positive affirmations in your journal as well. This is especially beneficial if you journal in the morning time before you start your day. Always have a gratitude section in your journal. In the gratitude section, write down at least three to five positive affirmations that will be your focus for the day. If you carry a digital or paper journal along with you, you can keep referring to the positive affirmation. If you do not, you can also write the positive affirmations on a piece of paper and carry them along with you. This way, you can keep looking at it and keep reminding yourself about how you should feel.

Boost the effectiveness of positive affirmations

The effectiveness of the affirmations can be increased if you pair them up with other goal-setting techniques and positive thinking methods. It has been observed that positive affirmations work very well if used along with visualization techniques. As I mentioned before, if you plan to go bungee jumping, start visualizing how it would feel when you make the jump. Start practicing the positive affirmations one month before you actually go on the trip. This way, when you are about to make the jump, you will not have cold feet. Alternatively, you can write down the affirmations or say them loudly to yourself.

Use affirmations with personal goals to make them work for you.

The reason we use affirmations is that we want to attain certain goals. Therefore, it is imperative that you first identify the goal before you decide on the affirmation to use. Once the goals have been identified, the affirmative statements will keep you motivated so that you can quickly achieve your goal.

The power of affirmations

The power of positive affirmations increases when you regularly repeat them. It can be incredibly useful if you recite the affirmations a few times every day. To make this possible, you can:

The power of affirmations

A time when the use of positive affirmations is a must is when you are feeling down, low, or negative. Whenever you notice the seed of self-doubt creeping into your mind, start chanting positive affirmations to yourself. The positive affirmations will help you combat the negative thought or behavior that has popped into your head.

How to write positive affirmations for yourself?

As I have mentioned before, positive affirmations are used to target a specific behavior, area, or belief that you wish to change or are struggling with. Use the following points to write the best affirmation statement that will fulfill your requirements.

Focus on the area that you wish to change:

Whatever be the behavior that you wish to target, write down all of them on a piece of paper first. Ensure that the behavior that you have chosen really matters to you. If the behaviors are not compatible with your beliefs and values, positive affirmations will not be able to help. Therefore, only focus on those sections that are crucial and matter to you. This way, you will feel genuinely and sincerely motivated to achieve your goals.

Make your affirmation achievable and credible.

Since you are making the positive affirmation for a specific area of your life, the affirmation must be based on a fact or reality. Suppose you are unhappy with your current payment. You wish to ask your boss for a raise but somehow do not have the courage to do it. Therefore, your affirmations will focus on boosting your confidence so that you can muster up the courage to discuss the situation with your boss.

However, it would be impractical and unrealistic if you affirm that you will ask for a double salary. In most organizations, doubling the salary is not a feasible option. Therefore, your affirmation must be realistic and achievable. You must understand that affirmations are not a magic spell. You must believe in them for them to work. However, your belief must also be realistic.

Focus on changing the negatives into positives

We all struggle with negativity at some point. If you are struggling with self-doubt or negativity, note down the specific beliefs and thoughts that are constantly bothering you. Once this is done, you can focus on choosing an affirmation that is completely opposite to your thoughts and beliefs. Over time these affirmations will help turn your negative beliefs and thoughts into positive ones.

Suppose you feel that you are not good enough to progress in your career. Under such conditions, your positive affirmation should be I am skilled and experienced feared I am sincere at my job. I completed all my tasks on time. There is no reason why I should not get a promotion.

Affirmations must be in the present tense.

Affirmations are all about the now. Therefore, every affirmation should be written in the present tense. Write your affirmation as if it is happening in your life, right at this moment. This will reprogram your brain to think that the statement is correct and is a part of your life.

Suppose you are worried about an upcoming presentation. Under such circumstances, you can use the positive affirmation as follows:

“I have prepared well and rehearsed multiple times. There is no question that I cannot answer. This presentation is going to go very well.” This will help you combat the jitters that you may feel just before beginning your presentation.

The reason experts suggest using positive affirmations in the present tense is that when you act as if you have already succeeded in a task, the neuroplasticity or changes in the long-standing patterns and beliefs in your brain become much easier. Affirmations can help strengthen your confidence. It will constantly remind you what you are capable of and what you can easily achieve. Therefore, it makes goals that may seem impossible easily achievable.

Rehearse your positive affirmations with feelings

If your affirmations do not have emotional weightage, they will not be as effective. Therefore, ensure that the information you use has emotional weight. The reason you are using a positive affirmation is that you want to bring a change into your life. Therefore, every affirmation you use must have a phrase that holds meaning for you.

Focus on being positive

You must understand that affirmations will not change your life. They will put you on a track of positive belief. Changing your life depends on the amount of work you put in. If you do not use the affirmation every day, it will not work when you need it to. The focus of positive affirmation is to remove the room that your brain has for negative ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.

There is a psychological concept referred to as ‘survival of the busiest.’ The thoughts that keep us most busy are most likely to take root and change our thinking patterns. Therefore, if the thoughts that are keeping you busy are positive affirmations, it will be much easier for the affirmation to help you lead a more fulfilling life.

Rehearse affirmations with feelings

Keep the skepticism away.

We are all skeptics, and we have the right to be that way. It does feel funny to stand in front of a mirror and say things out loud to yourself, especially when they are nice things that you find hard to believe. However, you must resist the temptation to just give up. Tell yourself that it is a chore that you must do daily and with conviction.

If it is a negative thought pattern that you are trying to change, it will take time and patience. It will be hard to stand in front of the mirror and say nice things to yourself, especially things that you do not believe in. However, persistence is key in this case. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself time for positive recognitions to take root and change your mindset.

Say them loudly

When practicing positive affirmations, you have two choices. You can either say them loudly to yourself, or you can repeat them in your mind. Which option you choose depends on you. However, experts suggest going for the first method. When you repeat things in your mind, they may feel unrealistic. But, when you say it out loud and to yourself, it will have a bigger impact. It is also more likely that when you say affirmations out loud, they will take root quickly.

Do not go for stock affirmations.

If you are looking for affirmations, you will find them anywhere and everywhere. From T-shirts, Internet articles, coffee mugs, and images on social media, affirmations are everywhere. If you read an affirmation somewhere that stuck with you, it is excellent. However, try not to use the exact affirmation. Experts advise creating an affirmation that is specifically tailored for your needs and requirements. Such affirmations work best.

When you write out your affirmations, you can exercise your creativity and look for ways to make your affirmation as specific to you as possible. Many people have a tendency to link the affirmations to their own core values like honesty, kindness, and dedication. This helps them stay focused on what really matters to them.

For example:

You have been feeling pretty low of late because your career is not going the way you imagined. It is very likely that you have negative thoughts brewing in your head now. You wish to remedy these negative thoughts and change them into positive ones. Under such circumstances, you must remind yourself about the things you appreciate.

“I have been blessed with a loving family and caring colleagues. My work provides me with satisfaction. I am helping make a difference to the world.”

This statement will help your brain remember that there is much more to life beyond a fat paycheck.

Practice everyday

The power of practice cannot be undermined. Whether it is training your dog or practicing positive affirmations, practice makes perfect. Therefore, you must bring your positive affirmations into your regular habit.

Focus on repeating the affirmations right after you wake up and right before you go to bed. Keep aside three to five minutes every morning and night for this exercise.

Repeat every affirmation ten times. Make sure that you say the affirmation out loud to yourself. When you listen to the words, it will help you focus more. As you tell them to yourself, your mind believes it to be true.

Enlist the help of a loved one. You can ask your loved ones to repeat the affirmation for you. This will help you reinforce your belief in the sentences.

Keep a consistent routine. You must never skip a day. Affirmations work only if they are a part of your daily routine. If you decide to practice affirmation once a week, they are never going to work.

Be patient with yourself.

It will feel weird in the initial stages. It will take time for the affirmations to become a part of your everyday life and start showing changes. However, you must give your mind the time it needs to allow the positive affirmations to sink in.

Always pair the affirmations with examples.

As I have mentioned before, only thinking positively and having a positive thinking habit is not going to help unless you put in the work. Changing your thought patterns is crucial. But it must be accompanied by work on your part. Therefore, as you focus on boosting yourself and keeping yourself meditated, you also must work to reach your goal.

Suppose you have a misbelief that you are not good enough and people don’t like you. To improve this, tell yourself, “I am likable; people love me.” However, you must pair this positive affirmation with work on your part. Try smiling at people you pass by on the roads. As and when they smile back, it will boost your confidence in yourself. You will start seeing yourself in a new light. Eventually, you can muster up the courage to ask your colleague to go on a coffee break with you.

Remove toxic positivity

As I mentioned before, unrealistic self-affirmations can be dangerous. You cannot stand in front of the mirror and say things like:

“I am the best-looking person in the world.”

“I am amazing.”

“Everyone loves me and wants to hang out with me.”

Since these affirmations are not realistic, they may not work very well. Therefore, identify those positive affirmations that are achievable and acknowledge your reality.

Remove positive toxicity

Acknowledge the problem

Make sure that the positive affirmation has been tailored to address the issue that you are facing. Go for an affirmation that acknowledges the current problems in your life but also reminds you of the times when you have successfully conquered your problems.

Some examples of such affirmations might be

Positive affirmations examples

Even though affirmations are very specific and most people have their own tailor-made affirmations, here are some examples that can inspire you to get started on writing your own affirmations:

Can there be scenarios where positive affirmations do not work?

Yes, unfortunately, there may be scenarios where positive affirmations are of no help to you. Even though most psychologists suggest that positive affirmations are the holy Bible for behavioral change, it is not always the case. The negative ideas that are driving around in your brain come from deep-rooted past or childhood trauma. Under such conditions, positive affirmations cannot be of much help.

If this is the case, you need to see a therapist so that your childhood trauma can be addressed. You may require EMDR therapy to change the negative thoughts and beliefs related to the incident into positive ones. Along with EMDR therapy, your therapist may employ positive affirmations to boost the effectiveness of the therapy. Your therapist may also provide you with other coping strategies to help you deal with the past and be strong for the future. If your kid has undergone a traumatic experience that has bolstered negative thoughts and self-doubt, the therapist may use sand play therapy. Along with the treatment, you should start positive affirmations as well. Repeat the affirmations to your child for maximum effectiveness.

Conclusion

Positive affirmations can be a life-changing experience for most of us. Do not undermine the power of affirmations. Practice saying them out loud every day to yourself and couple them up with actionable steps. Have faith in yourself and your affirmations. In a matter of a few months, you will start to see yourself change into a better person.

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Have you ever tried using positive affirmations? How has been your experience with affirmations? Which affirmations did you use for yourself? How did they help you? Please, leave your opinions and comments in the comment section. Your thoughts and viewpoints matter. Your experiences may encourage someone else to bring positive affirmations into their life and make it better. If you have any queries about this blog post or any other, feel free to reach out to me on any of my social media channels. You can also reach me via email or by dropping your queries in the comment section. I will be happy to help.

See you in my next blog post

Dr. Shruti

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