Have you ever heard the schoolyard rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”? It originates from the 19th century and became a child’s defence against verbal bullying. But, as we all know, it’s not true. Words have the power to cause deep and lasting wounds. On the other hand, by focusing on short positive affirmations, it’s possible to create amazing, life-changing results…not that it’s easy. It takes dedication and regular practice.
Many years ago I was a single mum, living in a rental home, at the mercy of landlords with their quarterly inspections and restrictions about what I could and couldn’t do with the place. Often, I’d want to renew my lease but the landlord would decide they wanted to move back into the property forcing me to find somewhere else to live. After my sixth move in ten years, I decided enough was enough. No more renting. The next house I moved into would be my own. I had absolutely no idea how I’d make that happen but I’d heard about the power of positive affirmations so decided to give it a try.
Every night, before I went to sleep, I would affirm “I am happily living in my own home”. I would also visualise myself decorating it, relaxing with the kids, pottering around in the garden. Not wishing to be overly ambitious, I visualised a modest home for me and my two boys. It worked because the next home I moved into was my own. It wasn’t like the house in my visualisations, though. It was bigger and better.
What are positive affirmations?
In a nutshell, they’re positive statements, similar to the one above, written in the first-person, present tense. You can say them out loud, write them down, make posters of them for your wall. The important point is to focus on them on a regular, consistent basis.by focusing on short positive affirmations, it's possible to create amazing, life-changing results #positiveaffirmations #lifechanging #motivation Click To Tweet
There is science behind positive affirmations. If you’re interested check out these academic web posts:
- Study Reveals the Neural Mechanics of Self-Affirmation
- Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation
- Benefits of Self-Affirmation
When you first start to do positive affirmations you may think they are silly and untrue. You might feel self-conscious reciting them out loud and question the sense in them. But if you persist with this daily practice, the words will gradually sink into your subconscious, replacing the opposite, negative beliefs that may be lodged there. You should then notice positive changes creeping into your life.
However, it must be emphasised, it’s not enough to just do the affirmations on their own. You can’t affirm you’re slim and healthy then live on a diet of burgers, cake and chocolate. Your actions have to correspond with the actions of a slim and healthy person. The point is, you are more likely to succeed with the right mindset, which is how this works.
Often, we aren’t even aware of all the negative thoughts/beliefs that filter through our minds on a daily basis:
- I’ll never find a partner
- I’m not clever enough to be rich.
- I’m always overlooked by my boss.
- I never get the good breaks.
- I can’t lose weight.
- I don’t deserve to be wealthy
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Sometimes, our negative beliefs are fed to us by others. “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re a hopeless cook” “That colour doesn’t suit you.” Isn’t it strange how we can get a string of compliments and a single negative comment yet it’s that one negative comment that we focus on? The best way to deal with negative thoughts is to blast them with positive statements.
How do you create an affirmation?
1) Choose one issue to work with.
Maybe you’d like to improve at a particular sport, or attract a partner, be more prosperous, or improve your general health and wellbeing. There are many possibilities, however, it’s best to work with one issue at a time. Once you’ve chosen something, consider what your current beliefs are about that issue. For example, if you want to lose weight but you’ve been on thousands of diets in the past with little success, you may believe that losing weight is impossible for you. Your affirmation, therefore, should state the opposite. For example, “I am becoming slimmer and healthier every day.”
2) Keep the words positive.
Don’t affirm “I am free from all illness”. Your brain will focus on the word “illness”. Instead, a more positive affirmation would be: “I am energised by the good health flooding through my body.” By including an emotional description such as “I am energised”, the affirmation will seem more real in your mind.
3) Create your affirmations in the present tense.
If you word your affirmations in the future tense e.g. “I will win the tennis tournament next summer” you’ll never achieve your goal because you’re affirming “next summer” which of course, like tomorrow, never comes!
4) Use “I am” statements.
Don’t use phrases like “I want” or “I need”. They highlight the fact you’re wanting and needing. Your brain will focus on those words and give you more feelings of wanting and needing.
Create about three affirmations relating to the issue you want to work on. If you have trouble finding the words to compose your own, there are plenty of examples online to inspire you. I have a Pinterest board just for positive affirmations.
Once created, repeat your affirmations several times during the day. You could write them on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror to remind you in the morning or memorise them and say them in the car on the way to work. Alternatively, you could find a quiet place to focus on your positive affirmations.
As you repeat your affirmations, try to focus on how you’d feel if you already had whatever you’re aiming for. If negative feelings come up, then you need to address those first. For example, you may want to win the lottery, but when you focus on how you’d feel if you did win you may notice worries about how you’d cope with all the inevitable changes that would come to your life.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting positive affirmations you can use to get you started, so check back regularly.
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed and could vary from person to person. I am not a medical professional so please do your own research. If you have any medical or psychological concerns you should always consult your doctor.
If you want to explore this subject in greater depth, you may be interested in the following books available from The Book Depository: