What amazes me most about our brain is its capacity to let us do things that we never thought we could possibly or physically do. It brings to mind the popular saying, “Mind over Matter,” which suggests that we can overcome challenging circumstances and physical limitations by harnessing the power of our minds. The power of the mind has been demonstrated repeatedly, from athletes who use visualization techniques to improve their performance, to individuals who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles through sheer force of will. Indeed, the human brain is a remarkable organ that continues to surprise us with its capabilities.
The question now is, how can we tap into the power of our minds and use it in our everyday lives? One solution is through the practice of affirmations. Although some might find it cheesy, if it works and helps us accomplish the goals we set out to achieve, why not give it a try?
The Science Behind Affirmations
Affirmations involve repeating positive statements to ourselves regularly to shift our thinking patterns and ultimately improve our behavior and outcomes. Positive affirmations are generally used to manifest goals and dreams we wish to achieve, motivate ourselves, and combat negative self-talk. These positive phrases are not mere chants we repeat for good luck but rather a method of reprogramming our subconscious mind to align with our conscious goals.
Positive affirmations came from a widely accepted and well-established psychological theory called “Self-affirmation Theory” by Claude Steele in 1988. This theory states that humans have the innate need to maintain a positive self-image when faced with threats to self-integrity. Thus, we can use self-affirmations as a coping mechanism against said threats.
Research on self-affirmation theory conducted in 2016, demonstrated that positive affirmations can activate specific brain areas connected to self-relevant processing as well areas associated with the reward centers of the brain. This can be effective in enhancing an individual’s sense of self-competence.
The mechanism behind positive affirmations boils down to “neuroplasticity,” the brain’s ability to rewire and reorganize itself. Although the brain has capabilities beyond our understanding, the power of self-affirmation theory lies in our brains ability to train and rewire itself with consistent effort and practice.
Repeatedly stating positive affirmations creates a mental image of our ideal version of ourselves. This image triggers the same areas of the brain that would be stimulated if we were actually experiencing our desired outcome in real life.
Thus, by consistently practicing affirmations, we are conditioning our brain to accept these affirmations as reality, which inspires us to take action toward achieving our goals. This process ultimately enables us to reprogram our thoughts and beliefs and achieve greater success and fulfillment.
How to Start your Daily Affirmations
Practicing affirmations is as simple as repeating positive phrases and sentences to yourself. When done consistently, it is a powerful technique that can help redirect your mindset and achieve your goals. Here are some tips on how to practice affirmations effectively:
- Align affirmations with your values: When choosing affirmations to use, select the ones that best describe the person you envision to be and those that coincide with your core values. For example, if you want to practice gratefulness, you can say, “I am grateful.”
- Use positive language: Removing negative words in our affirmations will leave us with a feeling of positivity. So, instead of saying, “I am NOT afraid of public speaking,” it is better to say, “I am confident and comfortable when speaking in public.”
- Repeat your affirmations regularly: Set a protected time each day to say your affirmations. You may do this every morning when you wake up, during your break, or before bed. Anytime is a great time to affirm yourself. The aim is to be consistent and make this activity a daily habit.
- Visualize your affirmations: “Everything happens twice, first in mind, then in reality.” – Robin Sharma. When saying your affirmations visualize yourself embodying the qualities and behaviors that will help you achieve the goals you set out. This helps create a stronger mental image and a stronger emotional connection to your affirmations.
- Believe in your affirmations: Anything can happen if you believe. It is normal to have negative thoughts and feelings of doubt, and when you do, acknowledge them but then try reframing them positively. Keep in mind that the goal is to shift your mindset towards positivity and success.
Examples of Affirmations
To help you get started, here are some daily affirmations you can use depending on your goals.
- I am living with abundance.
- I practice gratefulness every day.
- I am inspiring people through my work.
- I am constantly and consistently growing into a better version of myself.
- I am liberating myself from all destructive doubt and fear.
Affirmations for Success
- I have the capacity to create the life I desire.
- Failure is part of my long-term success.
- I can freely set my own goals.
- I am open to future opportunities.
- I have the potential to succeed.
Affirmations when Feeling Anxious
- I am able to control how I react to others.
- I am relaxed and content.
- It is okay to say no and stand up to my negative thoughts.
- I have the power to let things go.
- I trust myself and my feelings.
Affirmations when feeling stressed
- I will stay present-focused and take this one day at a time.
- I will focus on what I can control and release the rest.
- When I feel overwhelmed, I will choose a healthy way to cope.
- I can lean on others for support. I am not alone in this.
- It’s healthy to take a break to rest or have fun.
Affirmations for Goal Setting
- I surround myself with people who help me grow and encourage me to reach my goals.
- I constantly step out of my comfort zone to achieve my goals.
- It is okay for me to challenge myself.
- My intentions for my life are clear.
- I am capable of manifesting anything I want.
If you’re a book lover and want to read further on how to empower your mind with affirmations, here are some recommended books written by well-renowned authors that you can read.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon hill is for those wanting to achieve their goals through the power of mental visualization and imagination. Napoleon Hill discusses the principles that can help ordinary people become successful in their chosen fields. He also teaches specific affirmations and “auto-suggestions” to apply daily. Think and Grow Rich is a classic book filled with positive affirmations and principles to help you harness the power of your mind.
- The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod highlights the importance of starting your day with a routine that sets you up for success. Elrod believes incorporating your mornings with affirmations and visualization sets the tone for your day and life. In his book, he shares how to incorporate a routine in your day that helps you overcome challenges and succeed in important areas of your life.
- You are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza explores the power of the mind-body connection and the role of positive affirmations in healing and personal transformation. Dr. Dispenza shares case studies and scientific research demonstrating the mind’s potential to heal the body and overcome limiting beliefs and patterns. Dr. Dispenza shows readers how to tap into their inner potential and unlock their true abilities through meditation, visualization, and positive affirmations.
It is natural to face challenges, doubts, and negative feelings in life. We may feel like we can’t get through it, but it helps to remember that we have the ability to overcome anything by rewiring our minds. So the next time you find yourself struggling, empower your mind by repeating positive affirmations to yourself and experience the incredible results it can bring you.