(Excerpted/adapted from C. Raypole at https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/do-affirmations-work#making-them-effective.)
Scroll down for examples of affirmations and meditative affirmation activities.
Saying, writing or reading affirmations is a self-help strategy that can promote your belief in yourself and your abilities, as well as aid you in getting through challenging moments. Affirming statements can help you move your focus away from your perceived inadequacies and toward your strengths.
Of course, an affirmation practice is not a magic bullet for positive change. It is just one strategy to promote it. It is more likely that you use multiple self-help strategies to keep yourself in an emotionally balanced state of mind (or to restore the balance when it gets out of quack).
How do affirmations work?
Creating a mental image of yourself doing something can activate many of the same brain areas as experiencing the situation in real time. Regular repetition of affirming statements about yourself can encourage your brain to take affirmations as fact. When you believe you can do something and can envision it, actions often follow. Think of affirmations as steps toward a positive change rather than the change itself.
Keep it real.
Affirmations are usually most beneficial when they center on your traits or realistic, achievable changes you’d like to see related to them. If your affirmation focuses on a statement that you don’t view as true or possible, it likely will have little effect.
It is fine to use affirmations such as the ones below if they speak to you. You can also customize affirmations to be more specific to your situation and that you think will help you the most.
- Start saying or writing down affirmations for a few minutes each day, preferably more than once.
- Repeat each affirmation several times. Listen to yourself saying it. Or reread them if you are writing them. Focus on the words and strive to believe them to be true/possible.
- Ask someone close to you to partner with you. Sometimes, to reinforce your belief in the affirmations, it can be helpful to ask someone you trust to repeat your affirmations. You could do the same for that person.
- Make your affirmations routine consistent. Try not to skip days.
- Consider adding affirmations to your meditation practice, if you meditate or want to. (See below for examples of meditative activities that you can pair with affirmations.)
- Be patient. It may take some time to get comfortable with using affirming statements and to notice changes that are inspired by them.
If you are working with a counselor or anticipate you will be doing so, your counselor may be able to assist you in considering if and how affirmations and meditative practice might be useful to your self-care.
Contact us if you are interested in making a counseling appointment.