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The Power of Affirmations

Jonathan Riley

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.”- Roy T. Bennett

Many people battle an inner voice or a feeling that tells them they are not good enough, smart enough, or worthy enough. This inner voice or feeling is the barrier that keeps many people from experiencing wholeness and happiness. These inner voices usually come from our early life experiences that are internalised and taken in as ways we think about ourselves. Many of these negative voices often come from our parents or primary caregivers. Parental attitudes are the most powerful social influences that a child encounters during their formative years. Children pick up on their parents’ negative attitudes towards their children as well as themselves. These voices can also come from interactions with peers and siblings or influential adults.

Affirmations are highly effective self-help tools that can be used to influence a person’s moods, feelings, thoughts, and behaviour. Affirmations are positive phrases or statements used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They also can serve to focus attention on goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change. Affirmations are used to reprogram the subconscious mind, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it. People use affirmations for a variety of purposes. You may choose to use positive affirmations to motivate yourself, encourage positive changes in your life, or boost your self-esteem. If you frequently find yourself getting caught up in negative self-talk, positive affirmations can be used to combat subconscious patterns and replace them with more adaptive narratives.

According to Hazelton & Miller (1990) positive affirmations can reduce negativity, fear, worry, and anxiety. MRI evidence suggests that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmations. You can change the way you think over time and become resistant to negativity or unhelpful thinking by using affirmations. Moore (2020) highlights that repetition is the key for positive affirmations to be effective. Ideally, affirmations should be read and/or spoken aloud several times throughout the day, or intensively at a certain point in the day, until they become automatic thoughts. In some cases, people may feel foolish writing or saying something that they actually don’t yet believe. But it is important to remember, the purpose behind affirmations is to rewrite the subconscious mind. Eventually, the positive thoughts will transform a person’s cognitive sphere into a safe and pleasant source of strength and support.

Here are some examples of affirmations that can be used on a daily basis. In addition, some people find creating their own personalised affirmations helpful.

1. I am in charge of my thoughts, and I don’t judge myself.

2. By being myself, I bring happiness to other people.

3. I’m fine with who I am, and I love who I am becoming.

4. I choose only to surround myself with supportive and good people.

5. I turn obstacles into learning opportunities.

6. I believe in myself as a person and I believe in all my capabilities.

7. Whatever difficulties come my way; I have the power to overcome them.

8. I believe in, trust and have confidence in myself.

9. I am working every day on the best me that I can be.

10. I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

11. Through my contributions, I make positive changes to the world.

12. I practice patience, understanding and compassion with others as well as myself.

Finally, affirmations can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way. When we change our thoughts, our beliefs follow. When we change our beliefs, our behaviour follows. In this way, we change our lives.


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