The Affirmative Effect of Positive Affirmations
You’ve probably heard of positive affirmations before and are left with some lingering questions. Are positive affirmations effective? Can positive affirmations heal your body? Can positive affirmations change your life? Do positive affirmations really work?
In this article, we’ll cover how positive affirmations work to create a positive, affirming effect in your life. In fact, after reading this post, you’ll be able to put positive affirmations into practice today.
Read on for everything you need to know about positive affirmations.
What Positive Affirmations Do
Mastering your mentality is no easy task. Priests, monks, tradesmen, mentalists, psychiatrists, and everyday Joes alike work relentlessly to be the best versions of themselves.
Is there a way to promote healthy mindfulness? Is there a way to overcome anxieties simply by thinking that you're overcoming them?
To boost motivation, positive affirmations can be a seriously life-changing habit.
If you aren’t currently in middle school, it’s easy to revert back to that mentality (even as an adult). Acne, the boys, the girls, the pop quizzes -- it’s all too easy to compare and complain when life gets challenging.
You’ve probably already given yourself positive affirmations in your life. Think sticky notes on our mirrors, a note on a bulletin board, dry erase doodles -- even famous quotes can turn into positive affirmation statements.
We find ways to tell ourselves positive things each and every day–and for good reason. Affirmations are more than just quirky little boosts, they can actually be life-altering mantras. Repeated and reinforced, positive affirmations can take the place of negative narratives that we tell ourselves.
What Are Positive Affirmations?
Most simply put, positive affirmations are little phrases that we tell ourselves to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts. When our brain starts to spiral, or we feel out of control, positive affirmations may help to ground us back in the reality of the present moment. This helps us to stay focused, motivated, and in control of our choices.
There's no right or wrong way to positively affirm yourself. Affirmations are ancient -- they pave the way for stronger mindsets and a more resilient spirit. Both passed down and invented anew, affirmations can follow generations or you can create your own powerful phrase.
Positive affirmations don’t just have to be about you either. They can uplift others, instill hope, promote kind acts, and even more. The possibilities are endless.
How Do Positive Affirmations Work?
There’s actually quite a bit of science to back up these powerful little statements. Many now understand that positive affirmations help to minimize anxiety, mitigate stress, and alleviate defensiveness.
Used by therapists, social workers, and couples alike–there’s more happening behind the scenes than just verbal platitudes.
The Science Behind Positive Affirmations
There's the old adage that says, "as a man thinketh so is he."
Scientific studies have proven this ancient wisdom true -- that our self-integrity is maintained by telling ourselves what we do and do not believe. In a study issued by Claude Steele in 1988, he coined the term self-affirmation theory, which later paved the way for the theory of self-efficacy.
These theories prove that our perceived ability to control moral outcomes and respond flexibly when our self-concept is threatened is almost entirely based on self thought, and self-identity. In other words, how we see and speak to ourselves matters.
Can Positive Affirmations Change Your Body?
MRI studies suggest that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmations. Basically, thinking positively actually changes the way the brain works.
Resiliency can carve new neural pathways and neuroplasticity, or the ability of our brain to adapt and change networks and pathways, ensures that you don’t stay set in your ways. Essentially, positive thinking helps shape the pathways in the brain to be healthier.
Not only that, physical health can improve as well, including:
- Overall circulation
- Lung health and strength
- Balance of mood
Positive Affirmations for Success
So, it would seem that we're naturally hardwired to want to improve and do better.
That makes sense. For the history of mankind, all we have known is survival of the fittest and natural selection. Those that fail a task, or are not as good at a task as others, face the risk of becoming obsolete -- but positive affirmations help us confront this traditional way of thinking with a more innovative approach.
Survival of the fittest doesn't quite fit in in modern Western society anymore. We put our best foot forward when we learn from our mistakes. More and more research is showing that our brain doesn’t quite recognize the difference between what we manifest and what we are already masters at doing -- that means positive affirmations have the potential to start our day out on the best track possible.
Essentially, we can trick our own minds into thinking we’ve already achieved success at some task or challenge. Then, we enter the day with the confidence that makes us competent enough to take that task on. In most cases, this motivation and self-confidence changes everything about our ability to tackle whatever comes our way that day.
Are Positive Affirmations Effective?
Self-efficacy is a form of manifestation that tends to help people achieve, accomplish and succeed more often than others.
Those with high self-efficacy can manifest in multiple ways, for example:
- A newly hired employee who is scared about the tasks at hand, but is determined to succeed regardless.
- A new mother who is terrified about raising their child incorrectly, or "failing" at parenting—but continues headstrong and determined regardless.
- A new teammate who is told that they do not understand the culture or standards that have been in place, but works diligently to apply themselves to the greater whole.
Self-efficacy isn't simply a matter of thinking you're good at a task, it's setting your mental capacity to match the level of dedication that you're about to put into a project.
Daily positive affirmations assure that when placed in front of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, your brain and your body work in tandem to overcome any obstacles.
What Are Some Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations can take place at any time of day. Many people like to repeat theirs in the morning, but you can take charge whenever you feel the time is right for you personally.
To be most effective, positive affirmations:
- Bring the focus to areas of your life that you'd like changed
- Root and ground you in what is realistically achievable
- Turn harmful negatives into helpful positives
- Help to reiterate an emotion, even if you’re not currently feeling it
Understand that everyone is at a different level -- there is no right or wrong way to practice positive affirmations. Root yourself in a reality that feels good, and in a direction you know is positive, and they'll be effective.
Positive Affirmations For Women
- I am more than what people think of me, I will become the best of what I think of myself.
- I trust my abilities, I trust my nature, I trust my heart, and I trust my future.
- Fear does not mean failure, being afraid of my future means I'm heading in the right direction.
- Only I can decide my future. I will follow my dreams no matter what happens around me or who tells me otherwise.
- I will award praise to myself for my accomplishments. I've earned it.
- I am more than what has happened to me, I am what I decide to be.
Positive Affirmations For Kids
- I am perfect just the way I am.
- I love my family, and they love me.
- I am capable of so much when I put my mind to it.
- I can do better next time.
- I am proud of what I did.
- I am happy to be me.
- I am free to make my own choices.
Positive Affirmations For Men
- I value my worth.
- My accomplishments and worth are separate. Neither affects the other, and I am proud of both.
- I embrace me. Society cannot affect my love of self.
- My sense of peace comes from how I respect the lives of those around me.
- I am making good choices for myself.
Positive Affirmations For Anxiety
- I can choose to react positively to this.
- This situation is reality. It is neither good nor bad, it is what it is.
- I give anxiety permission to leave, with every slowing breath.
- I think I did okay today, and I choose to do better tomorrow.
- I respect that my 100% today may look different than it did yesterday, than it will tomorrow.
- I am healthy, and for that I am grateful.
Positive Affirmation Quotes
- "The chance to love and be loved exists no matter where you are." ~ Oprah
- "Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." ~ Brene Brown
- "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
- "Am I good enough? Yes I am." ~ Michelle Obama
- "Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life." ~ Mr. Rogers
The Final Word on Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations may have the power to change your life and transform your health. The effects ripple out beyond a simple sentence -- they turn into positive thoughts and actions that can help you adapt when things get rough. What are your favorite positive affirmations?