Despite the old adage about sticks and stones, words have power. The words that you use mean things, and they can have a huge impact on your life. If you struggle with negative self-talk or an antagonistic inner monologue, you can probably see how these kinds of words and thoughts influence your day-to-day. You may be fearful, doubtful and riddled with anxiety. Not to say that you can solve every problem by thinking and speaking more positively, but by being more mindful of the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, you can improve your self image and confidence, which can in turn, improve your life. If you want to change negative thinking patterns, consider incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine.
What is a positive affirmation?
So, let’s start by defining what a positive affirmation is. Pretty much, it’s a sentence, or series of sentences, consisting of powerful words that form a positive statement. When repeated frequently, this statement taps into your subconscious and conscious mind to inspire and motivate you. To some extent, it’s about faking it til you make it. When you begin reciting positive affirmations, you may not initially believe the statements to be true. But over time, they can become your reality.
What does the science say?
You may be thinking that this all sounds like a bunch of hocus-pocus. But science has proven the effectiveness of positive affirmations. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections. More simply, it’s the brain’s ability to change and adapt due to experience. The way that you use your brain alters it. If you repeat positive affirmations regularly, the brain will adapt to thinking more positively. The same is true for negative thoughts, so you want to create positive thought patterns in your brain by repeating positive affirmations. Furthermore, self-affirmation theory is a psychological theory that considers the ways people adapt to experiences and information that poses a threat to their identity. Based on this theory, we maintain self-integrity by affirming our beliefs and core values in a positive way.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of positive affirmations are many. You can enjoy a boost in positivity, self-esteem and self-confidence. You may become more resilient to stress. You may also find yourself being more productive and better positioned to accomplish your goals. Positive affirmations are simple and easy to do, so the risk-to-reward ratio is definitely in your favor. To be clear, positive affirmations are not a substitute for mental health intervention when dealing with serious issues like depression, anxiety or other conditions. That being said, working affirmations into your daily routine can help improve your mood and overall outlook.
Where do I start?
Incorporating positive affirmations into your life is easy. You can come up with your own statement or find thousands of examples online. A good way to get in the habit is to write your affirmations down on a post-it and stick it to your mirror, door, desk or anywhere else that you visit daily. Recite them aloud at least once a day. It may seem awkward at first, but eventually it will become second nature. See for yourself how this simple practice can transform your self-perception and outlook overtime. You can do it.