Affirmations - An Exercise for your Mind and your Outlook

We are the keepers of our minds, thoughts, outlook, and the global narrative we hold about ourselves.

Many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our physical health. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook. These positive mental repetitions can reprogram our patterns of thinking so over time we begin to think and act  differently. Several areas in which affirmations may help you challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts include:

  • Control negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience.
  • Improve your self-esteem.
  • Finish projects you’ve started.
  • Improve your productivity.
  • Overcome a bad habit.

Empirical studies suggest that positive self-affirmation practices can be beneficial. Several examples include:

  • Self-affirmation has been demonstrated to lower stress and rumination
  • Self-affirmations have been used effectively in interventions that led people to increase their physical behavior 
  • Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress

In addition, researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Michigan and UCLA, have uncovered what goes on in our brains during self-affirmation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they found that self-affirmation activates well-known reward centers in the brain, and can act almost like an emotional buffer to painful, negative, or threatening information.

Consistency is key when it comes to positive affirmations. Consistency gives you focus to create these new beliefs to overtake any negative ones. What affirmation do you need to hear today?

  • “I Am Safe”
  • “I Attract Ease into All Areas of My Life”
  • “I Have Faith in Me”
  • “I Love Myself Unconditionally”
  • “I Am My Most Powerful Healer”

Write your own affirmations following Mindtools formula: 

  1. Think about the areas of your life that you’d like to change. 
  2. Be sure that your affirmation is credible and achievable. 
  3. Turn negatives into positives. 
  4. Write your affirmation in the present tense. 
  5. Say it with feeling. 

The Affirmation Pod podcast is a great resource to turn to if you are looking to add affirmations in to your day. There are many categories of topics and the sessions are short (3-10 minutes, typically). Available online or through the Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Facebook, Twitter. Sample categories and program titles include:

  • Anxiety, Safety and Grounding: i.e. – When You’re Worried about Losing Loved Ones to COVID-19
  • Change and Moving On: i.e. – Fear of Abandonment
  • Grief and loss: i.e. When Losing a Pet
  • Money management: i.e. – Getting Financially Organized
  • Self-care: i.e. – I am Healing
  • Spirituality and compassion: i.e. – Releasing Judgements on Yourself

This is just one of many resources out there. If this one isn’t for you, find one that resonates with your style and need.

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