“I am worthy, I am enough, I am brilliant, I am beautiful, I am a good parent, I am successful, I am happy”
Reading those phrases made you feel so much better, right? Do you tell yourself positive things like that often? How do you speak to yourself? Are your inner conversations building your self-esteem and confidence?
Words are powerful. They can either build or break a person, relationship, or situation. What you say to others can impact them positively or negatively and the same goes for what you tell yourself. Positive affirmations are the best use of words because they not only improve your mental health but also improve your relationships with others.
What are affirmations?
Every word that you speak is an affirmation and it can either be negative or positive. What you say is an assertion or declaration of your reality. If you’re always saying to yourself, “I am so stupid” then that’s what your mind will believe about you and your actions and decisions will be a confirmation of that belief which then becomes your reality. The same is true for the positive things you say.
Human beings have what we call a negativity bias. Our brains fixate more on what’s negative than positive including the things or qualities we think are negative about ourselves. So essentially, we’re continually affirming ourselves more negatively than positively and this leads to self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. This is why practicing and saying positive affirmations is necessary for us so that we can gently and lovingly talk to ourselves especially when we make mistakes.
How do positive affirmations work?
There’s a powerful quality of our human brain called neuroplasticity. The brain can rewire itself when presented with new information or experiences. This means that it’s possible to form new patterns of thought. By feeding your brain positive affirmations, you can completely transform how you think of and view yourself or the situations you’re in.
Positive affirmations are not wishy-washy phrases. Your brain believes what you expose it to and feed it. When you repeatedly say positive affirmations, your mind will start to believe what you say is the truth. These beliefs then become how you act and present yourself to the world.
Positive affirmations for mental health
As great as positive affirmations are, they are not a genie-in-the-bottle solution for mental illnesses or difficulties. You still need therapy and/or other interventions. However, they are incredibly beneficial to mental health. People with anxiety or depression often have a loop of negative thoughts and positive affirmations can be a great coping mechanism. Other benefits include:
Boosting confidence and self-esteem
Improving mood, energizing and a pick-me-up for sad times
Help us react more positively to negative situations
How you can create positive affirmations that work for you
There are very many cookie-cutter affirmations out there and even though they may be great, they may not also address your pain points. A good affirmation is specific to you and the feeling you want to inspire in yourself. You can create your affirmations and this is how to do it:
Understand who you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are you hoping to achieve or working towards? Eg: Sharon knows she struggles with her confidence and expressing herself.
Be specific about what you want your affirmations to be about. Eg: Sharon’s affirmation is “I present myself, my thoughts, and my ideas with confidence” or simply “I am confident”.
Make sure that your affirmations are positive. Eg: Sharon shouldn’t write an affirmation like “I am not afraid of expressing myself” because her brain will focus on the fear part of the affirmation instead of building her confidence (remember negativity bias). The right affirmation for Sharon is “I am confident”.
Write affirmations in the present tense, not the future tense. The whole idea of affirmations is for your brain to register them as a reality or fact in the present moment. By writing them in the future tense, you are tasking your brain to work towards believing what you want. E.g Sharon shouldn’t say, “I will be confident” but say “I am confident”.
Say affirmations repeatedly or as part of your routine. Remember that they aren’t magic words but they can be powerful when said repeatedly. Sharon won’t experience any changes in her confidence if she says “I am confident” just one time. Neuroplasticity is a process that takes time so feed your brain positive affirmations often. Make it a part of your daily routine when you wake up, work, or go to bed.
We highly recommend using positive affirmations for better mental health. If you need more guidance about how to use them to better yourself and your relationships, kindly reach out to us for a consultation at email@example.com or call us at 786-490-5988.