Affirmations are short, simple, positive statements that you say to yourself, out loud and in repetition, in order to redirect your mind and focus on positive thoughts. Affirmations can help you improve your mindset and thus your life if practiced on a regular basis. Many people credit affirmations for their success.
In many ways, words have the power to build you up or to tear you down. These “word” messages can affect your mood, your perception of the world, and your outlook on life.
Unfortunately, for many people, what they “say to themselves” can often be negative. This could be consciously or unconsciously. Negative thoughts can and will literally ruin your life.
How can you retrain your mind and inner dialogue from negative to positive? One way is through the use of affirmations.
Affirmation Definition and Examples
Affirmations refuse to succumb to a negative, fatalistic outlook on life. Instead, affirmations are positive statements that choose to look on the bright side. Focus on how things could work out for the better and on how you can succeed rather than be defeated.
Affirmations should always be honest and truthful, rather than deceptive. They should also always allow you the benefit of the doubt, to see how well something could turn out rather than dwelling on what could go wrong.
This is not just wishful thinking or even empty statements that could be considering “lying to ourselves.” Affirmations are a technique to reprogram your mindset.
Affirmations are not fantasy statements. For example, you are not saying, “I have the ability to fly!”
Your affirmations need to be grounded in reality. This is very possible and very achievable with just a little bit of work and thought. Remember, the reality you put in your mind and reach for is one that isn’t bound by a self-defeating prophecy. Don’t unwittingly feed yourself negative thoughts.
Positive Affirmations for Shifting Realities
Your personal affirmations will vary greatly by your circumstances in life. For example, one person may have different anxieties or fears that must be combated by different affirmations than another person.
Another consideration is that circumstances will change by timing and other events in your life at the moment. A particular affirmation may be necessary for a given situation.
Your life and the circumstances you encounter are constantly changing and evolving. Your affirmations may need to change accordingly.
Take a moment to honestly assess your mental state right now. What about your life is weighing you down? What keeps you awake at night?
Do you fear that things will go wrong? Are you concerned that you won’t measure up to the expectations of others? Do you worry about the standards you set for yourself?
What does your inner dialogue sound like? Where do you consistently drag yourself down with negative thoughts?
Whether it’s one aspect of your life or dozens, those negative statements that you make about yourself need to be counteracted in the same way that antibodies and vaccines attack bacteria and viruses that affect your physical health.
Affirmations, if properly utilized, indoctrinate your mind against toxic thinking.
How Do Affirmations Work?
A classic comedy sketch that parodied affirmations ended with the saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me!”
While the character is meant to be a satire on affirmative thinking by using a glib and universal statement, it is really not too far removed from the reality of how affirmations work.
They are statements you may make about yourself that affirm your positive aspects, deny a negative outlook, and are a way that you reframe your way of thinking.
Think of affirmations as exercises for the mind and emotions. When you go to a gym, you use repetitive motions and actions to build up and strengthen a particular muscle. This helps it grow in size, strength, and endurance, and is an essential part of improving your overall physical fitness.
Affirmations work exactly the same way, except for our minds. Consistently and repeatedly telling yourself positive statements, you can slowly retrain your mind to have a more optimistic view on things rather than a pessimistic view.
Only through faithfully making affirmations a habit can you thus improve your overall mental and emotional wellness.
How to Create Affirmations
Crafting an affirmation is often very easy. Think of a moment in your life when you told yourself, “I can’t do that!” The affirmation for that scenario could be as simple as, “I can do that!”
Another example would be a time you told yourself, “That will never happen.” The reverse affirmation could be, “I will make that happen!”
These are very generalized statements, and therefore will lack the kind of power needed to dislodge that deep-seated negative thinking. But if you’re ready to start building some affirmations for yourself, think about these criteria:
How to Create Affirmations that Actually Work
- Make it Personal
This means two distinct things. First of all, it must be an “I” statement. Begin it with “I will,” “I can,” “I am,” or whatever most closely fits your circumstance.
Remember that this affirmation is something that you tell yourself; be your own biggest cheerleader. The other aspect of a personal affirmation statement is that it applies to a specific situation unique to you.
No one else knows exactly how you think and feel, so no one else will know how deeply ingrained your thought patterns are. Make your affirmations blunt, direct, and specific.
- Focus on the Positive Outcome You Desire
While affirmations can and should be grounded in reality, you should remember that you have the ability to make your own reality through your perspective. If you limit yourself by your fears, you will inevitably be fearful when the moment arises.
By focusing on a more positive and empowering outcome, you can retrain your mind to think and feel in a different way when you encounter that situation again. Instead of reacting in fear, you are more likely to be courageous by the affirmations you have built into yourself.
- Keep Your Affirmations in the ‘Here and Now’
The statements you make in your affirmations should not be far-off dreams. Try to make them firmly rooted in how you will make a difference in your life today.
- Keep Your Affirmations Brief
An affirmation is not a manifesto or a life philosophy. It does not have to be extremely detailed. Your affirmations need to be something memorable and repeatable.
In some ways, it becomes your mantra, and no mantra reads like a term paper. A simple statement like “I will eat healthy every day” is much better than listing all of the ways that you will count calories or eat a certain number of vegetables each day.
Keeping it brief and to the point is an important aspect of putting affirmations that work into action. An all-encompassing statement can often be the most effective.
- Discover Your Why
When you want something in your life to change, there is always a reason behind that desire. Look deep inside and discover what that ‘why‘ is. The reason you want a change.
Until you know your personal ‘why’ you won’t be able to create affirmations that work.
- Focus on Positive Language
This is one of the biggest keys to a strong and effective affirmation. Only use positive language, avoiding anything that even remotely resembles a negative mindset.
You don’t “avoid being afraid,” you “stand with courage and bravery.” Don’t say, “I will try to volunteer”. Instead say, “I will volunteer.”
- Focus on Yourself
Don’t compare yourself to others and judge yourself based on that. That is a sure way to failure and unhappiness. You are unique and not comparable to anyone.
- Don’t Tear Down Someone Else
Your affirmations should never cause harm to others. Don’t affirm your own worth in order to belittle someone else or make them jealous.
How Long Does it Take for Affirmations to Work?
As we’ve previously explored, affirmations are deeply personal and will vary based on your lives and timelines. Many other factors will affect how long it takes for affirmations to successfully shift your mindset.
Much like physical exercise, repetition and consistency matter. If you only go to the gym once or twice a month, you would never see any meaningful gains. You must follow an exercise regimen faithfully, with a clear goal in mind, and using the right exercises to target certain muscles.
You must also ensure that other factors like diet and proper self-care outside the gym are incorporated. When you bring all of this together, you will eventually see the gains you desire.
It works the same way with affirmations. You need to begin as soon as you wake in the morning, and never let up until you fall asleep at night. It will take effort, and sometimes you won’t feel like it (just like going to the gym or on a run) but you must push through until it becomes second nature.
Any habit takes dedication and hard work before it seems effortless and natural and produces the desired results.
How to do Affirmations
- Say your affirmations to yourself “out loud” on at least two or three separate occasions throughout your day.
- Repeat them five to ten times each time you say them to yourself. Remember, biceps won’t grow by lifting a dumbbell only once. It takes multiple reps to build muscle.
Affirmations only work with lots of “spoken reps.”
- Say your affirmations as closely as possible when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night.
When your first and last thoughts of the day are willfully positive, you set yourself up for a better likelihood of having a good mindset the rest of the day.
Also, a better chance for positive thoughts when you wake up the next day.
How to Use Affirmations
Begin by carefully crafting your affirmation. Even if you have lots of goals and dreams, or even if you’re overwhelmed by the volume of negativity rattling around your brain, focus on just one thing.
How to Write Good Affirmations
Make your affirmations:
Write it down someplace you will see it when you wake up the next morning. Then, make the effort to read over your affirmation several times. Don’t rush through this exercise, or pick up your phone when you first roll over.
Repeat it to yourself out loud a few times (your first “working set”) to make sure you have it memorized.
How to Speak Affirmations
Take the time and energy to give this the attention it deserves. Later on in the day, take a moment to repeat this exercise. Make sure to say it out loud to yourself. Use a confident, firm, and loud voice tone!
Try it just before a moment of tension or anxiety, or whenever you feel like doubt or negativity are starting to creep to the forefront. Make sure to say it like you mean it though or your affirmations won’t work.
Finally, the moment you go to bed, stop and focus your mind on your affirmations and repeat it to yourself before you go to sleep.
How to Make Affirmations Work
Most importantly, you will need to put effort and belief into your words. Simply saying words aloud is meaningless if you are not mentally retraining yourself to believe that your affirmation will become reality.
The outcome you desire may seem daunting, but that is the very reason you are using affirmations in the first place. They are the tool and the weapon you are wielding against doubt and resignation.
Put extra effort into the actions necessary to live out your affirmation. Words and beliefs without action are equally meaningless.
Over time, your daily affirmations will change your beliefs about yourself. This will lead you to more positive actions that will in turn lead to the results and outcomes you wished for. Truly life-changing.
Do Affirmations Work?
Yes, affirmations have been proven to work very well!
Positive affirmations are powerful tools for retraining your minds and emotions to focus on the good rather than the bad. They are a reminder of how powerful words can be to your mindset.
How you “speak to” and “think about” yourself truly matters.
Try using affirmations today and see how long it takes for your outlook on life to change for the better!
More About Affirmations
Do sleep affirmations work?
Yes, many people say that performing affirmations right before you go to sleep will help you get to sleep faster and have a better nights rest. So go for it!
Does listening to affirmations work?
Yes and no. Listening to affirmations can help you reduce stress and anxiety but it probably won’t help too much with reprogramming your mindset to actually create a positive change in your life. But it is still a good thing to do.
What are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations are statements that are positive in nature that you repeat, out loud, over and over to create positive change in your life.
examples of positive affirmations
- I am a confident and outgoing person
- I am a highly successful person
- Being a good person comes naturally to me
- I am beautiful
- I am in charge of my own happiness
- I bring value to the world every day
- I trust myself to make the right choices
- I am a hard worker
- I am a highly ethical person
- I am a smart and capable person
What is Reality Shifting?
If you search online you come across a few ways of describing reality shifting. Using affirmations in your life is a form of reality shifting. Affirmations allow you to change the way you view your life.