What Are Positive Affirmations?
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Affirmations are phrases spoken aloud, or within your head, over and over again. Positive affirmations specifically are phrases we deliberately choose to repeat so we can transform our mindset.
Whatever that little voice in your head is saying is an affirmation. Have you ever considered changing what it’s saying?
Because if you aren’t mindful about the words you repeat to yourself constantly, they’re going to default to something negative. Our human brains are hardwired to focus on the negative.
It’s within your power to choose the words you say to yourself. And the effects of doing so are profound! It will literally change your brain, thus changing your entire life.
Every time we repeat a positive affirmation, the words sink into our subconscious mind a little bit more. The more we repeat it, the more we believe it, and the more our reality reflects it.
In this post, we’re going to talk about what affirmations are and how they work from a scientific perspective, how to use them properly, and how to create them for yourself.
How do Affirmations Work?
Consider your internal monologue and the landscape of your mentality. What is it like inside your head? If it were a city or a village, what would its atmosphere be like? What kind of community would it have? Would people like visiting there, or would they avoid it?
Because we’re the only ones living inside our head, it should be a place we want to be. We have the power to create the atmosphere in our mind. Nothing is permanent in the brain–we can literally mold and shape it to our liking. We can choose to support ourselves with our own thoughts.
Affirmations, whether they be positive or negative, work because of neuroscience. Each time we think a thought, an electrical neuron moves along a neural pathway along the surface of the brain.
Neurons are also sparked when we partake in actions. Affirmations coupled with action create a bonded pair of neurons, reinforcing that particular belief/habit combination.
The more those neural pathways are used and evoked, the deeper they get. They physically change the shape of our brain because of neuroplasticity.
You may have been taught in school that your brain is “fully formed” by the time you reach your mid-twenties. That the brain is “done” developing at that point.
This may be true from a biological standpoint (consider the differences between a teenage brain and an adult brain), but from a psychological standpoint, our brain is ever developing.
With the development of brain scanning, scientists were able to observe brains of all ages morphing, creating new and more neurological connections.
Depending on what thoughts and activities the people partook in, the brain would respond by forming its shape around the neural pathways being carved out by those thought/habit combinations.
Our brains can grow, stretch, reform, and change shapes at any time. And indeed, it’s already happening constantly whether we’re doing it mindfully or not.
This is empowering! Because the nature of the brain is to change and mold itself, we are already in a perfect position to take control of what neural pathways and combinations are created.
We don’t have to live on default. It would be wrong of us to believe that our thoughts and our minds are stuck in one perpetual state of being. This is where writing our own affirmations and reinforcing them comes into play.
How to Use Affirmations
Affirmations aren’t just about rewiring your brain. There’s also a lot of heart, love, and faith that goes into the practice of reciting them. I want to talk to you a little more about how to use affirmations effectively, especially when it feels like an impossible thing to believe in.
I guarantee you’re already using a plethora of affirmations. But most of them are negative, keeping you stuck in limiting beliefs and repeating old stories that don’t have to be true anymore.
I want you to pause for a moment, and consider your inner monologue again. What words are constantly running through your mind? What events are being replayed? How are you sabotaging yourself?
Now is the perfect time to emphasize that blaming yourself for having these negative thoughts is counterproductive. Every single human being does this. It’s part of being human. Every person you’ve ever known and will ever know is naturally inclined to negativity over positivity.
The people who don’t appear to be negative are the ones who have done the work to keep a positive mindset. Below is a basic outline of how to do this work for yourself:
Trust the Process
The question of how to successfully use affirmations can be answered with a single word: trust. Trust that these positive words will eventually replace the negative ones. Trust that these positive words will become truths in your world.
That’s the first step to using affirmations successfully. You must trust in them and believe in them. And this brings me to another dilemma my clients often face.
How can I believe an affirmation is true when it simply isn’t?
Here’s an example. To manifest more abundance, you decide to adopt the affirmation: “My bank account grows every month.” Or, “I end the month with more money than I began the month.”
That’s all well and good, but that’s literally not what’s happening in your life right now. Or at the very least, that’s not what’s been happening. Your bank account is dwindling, not growing. There’s less money there every month, not more. Now what?
It’s time to trust the process and have faith in the Universe. And to also be mindful of the thought gap, which we will discuss more in a moment.
To use affirmations, even if they don’t appear to be entirely truthful yet, you must repeat them consistently in some way.
And you have options. You can write them out, read over them, or state them internally or aloud. Personally, I believe a combination of all four of these will be the most effective.
Once you’ve selected your affirmations, which we’ll go over in a moment, write them all out. Pick no more than a dozen to work with at a time. Even that is quite a lot.
You can write them out in your journal, on your phone, on sticky notes, across your bathroom mirror, wherever you can easily access them multiple times a day.
Next, you want to make it a point to repeat these affirmations consistently. I suggest having at least two 5 minute slots a day where you focus only on repeating them. Take those meditative 5 minutes and really sit in the feeling of the words.
Another strategy I highly suggest is catching yourself mid thought and turning it around. Once you realize you’re repeating your old, negative affirmations, stop yourself right then and there. Repeat your positive affirmation in that very moment. The more you do this, the less you’ll have to.
Reinforce with Action
Once you get the hang of repeating your selected affirmations, you must reinforce your words with your actions. If you want to believe that your bank account has more money at the end of the month than the start of the month, what do you need to do to make that happen?
The thing about affirmations and the neural pathways they create: they will fade away if your brain doesn’t see any outside reason to believe they’re true.
Be careful not to turn your affirmations into “wishes.” Simply wishing to have more money in your bank account will do absolutely nothing. You know this.
But reciting abundance affirmations, coupled with careful budgeting and a higher paying job, will signal to the Universe and your brain that your affirmation is completely truthful. Thus, you’ll experience more opportunities to reinforce its truthfulness.
Gratitude has a huge impact on our brain from a neurological perspective. I’ve talked about gratitude at length, and I hope you take the time to listen to that episode.
This isn’t just about “staying positive.” It’s about turning off the natural, negative survival response of the brain and realizing that you are safe the majority of the time.
Otherwise, your brain will default to negativity as a survival mechanism even when you’re not in any real danger. And because it’s hardwired to pluck out the negative, we have to consciously focus on the positive.
When practicing gratitude, you want to be specific, and you want to stay in that energy for at least 10-30 seconds. Because if you cut it too short, or it’s too vague, your brain literally won’t be able to register it.
Create Your Own Affirmations
Okay! Now you know what to do with your affirmations. So now we can address the more important question: how do you create your own affirmations?
Of course searching the internet and books are a great place to start. Especially if this is completely new to you. I’ve found countless amazing affirmations by borrowing from others. However, I do have some important tips for you regarding affirmation creation:
When you read or recite an affirmation for the first time, pay careful attention to how you react to it, physically and mentally.
You want to select an affirmation that feels good in your body, but “scary” good. You want to get a little uncomfortable. If you’re questioning it just a little bit, that’s a good sign that particular affirmation is a fit for you.
But if the affirmation makes you scoff and roll your eyes, perhaps you’re not ready for that one yet.
The whole point of an affirmation is to change the way you’re perceiving your own reality. If you only stated affirmations that were already “true,” then your reality wouldn’t change at all.
Consider the size of the “thought gap” between the affirmation and your current reality. If your bank account has been dwindling for months, the affirmation “I easily earn one million dollars each year” probably seems way too far fetched for you to believe it (thus reinforce it).
But saying “my bank account grows each month” is much more believable in comparison because the thought gap is smaller.
Your affirmation needs to feel possible, and within reach, in order to be successful.
Honestly, you don’t really need to root around much for your affirmations. A good place to start is listening to your own intuitive guidance. Consider what you wish to manifest, then adopt an affirmation to reflect that.
Your intuition will speak to you if your vision is in alignment with your soul purpose.
I am always amazed at how easily my clients come up with their own affirmations. I am always ready to offer them suggestions, but they almost never word the affirmation in the way I phrased it. That’s because they have their own personalities and ways of stringing sentences together, making each affirmation unique to them.
It’s important to phrase your affirmations in your own words. Your own language will have the greatest impact on your brain, heart, and soul.
That’s not to say that you should disregard all affirmations written by other people. Sometimes, you find one that just makes your heart sing. Go with it! If not, don’t be afraid to rewrite it in your own words.
All affirmations should be written in present, active tense, using “I” or “I am” language. I am rich. I am lovable. I am successful, etc. Keeping them short and sweet is the most effective.
I’m going to list off a bunch of words that you should try to avoid as much as possible when writing your affirmations:
The reason you want to phrase your affirmations in the positive, present tense, is mostly because you’re aiming to embody that energy right now.
To say you “will” be rich or successful will put you in the perpetual state of waiting and wanting. But if you say you “are” rich, you’re rewiring your brain to look for reason to believe this is true right now.
It’s best if your affirmations only concern yourself. Even if you have good intentions, you cannot change anyone else’s mindset. For example, the sentence “my husband loves me” would make a terrible affirmation, even if it is actually true.
Instead, something like “I am in a loving marriage” is focused on you and your desired outcome without interfering with anyone else’s free will.
The sentence “I don’t need to work” would also make a bad affirmation, because all the Universe hears is “I need to work.” Instead, say “I am financially stable” which will ultimately result in you not needing to work.
The Universe cannot register the meaning of those negative words because It is inherently positive.
I could spend all day writing out examples of affirmations. Instead, I’d rather help you design yours!
The ego’s natural tendency is to create negative affirmations. This is what is keeping you from FINALLY manifesting that one thing you’ve always dreamt of.
We can do all the right things–taking action, being strategic, following through–but if our mindset isn’t in alignment with what we’re trying to accomplish, we will literally NEVER accomplish it.
A positive mental mindset creates a strong foundation for changing your life. AND a positive mental mindset could be the thing that finally gets the ball rolling on your dreams.
I know what it’s like to feel bogged down by negative affirmations. It seems like there’s no other way for it to be. As if we’re destined to just suffer through it and hope we can muster up enough strength to move past the heaviness.
But, making that first mindset breakthrough proves all of this wrong. There is definitely another way to be! And you certainly don’t need to suffer your way to success.
Having a mindset breakthrough will be much easier, faster, and more profound when you partner up with someone who can objectively evaluate the quality of your thoughts. As a manifesting coach, this is what I specialize in.
I help every single one of my clients break these mental cages that are keeping them trapped and small. We come up with their clear vision for their future, then we compose affirmations that accurately reflect that.
And I want to do this with you, too. If you take advantage of your free spiritual coaching session, we can dedicate 45 minutes to breaking down barriers, clearing blocks, coming up with a plan, and whatever else you need to begin mindfully manifesting with the power of affirmations.
Your first coaching session with me is absolutely free–but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a breakthrough.
I am committed to helping every single woman that is courageous enough to get on a call with me. I truly believe every single human being can change their own lives, but they just need support and an outside opinion.
Book your free spiritual coaching session here and we can get started. It doesn’t matter to me if you decide to work with me privately afterwards or not.
My goal is purely to help you get past whatever manifesting block you’re struggling with, because an empowered woman is unstoppable! And the world needs more empowered women.