If you believe the phrase “what you think you become”, then life truly stems from your thoughts.
“Why am I involved in this new project? Am I not busy enough with the current workload? I will not be able to complete the task on time. I will drag the whole team down.”
“Why does my boss want me to present at the trade show? I’m a terrible public speaker, and I’ll just embarrass the company.”
“I wish I could voice out my opinion at work. I am terrible in expressing my thoughts and deemed as zero contributor by my team. I am never going to get ahead at work.”
Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes frequently. When we think like this, our confidence, mood and outlook can become negative, too.
The problem with negative thoughts is that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. We talk ourselves into believing that we’re not good enough. And, as a result, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.
But, if we deliberately do the opposite and use positive thoughts about ourselves, the effect can be just as powerful but far more helpful.
What Are Affirmations?
The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, originally meaning “to make steady, strengthen.” Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. But of course, we cannot rely purely on thoughts; we must translate thoughts into words and eventually into actions in order to manifest our intentions.
You might consider affirmations to be unrealistic “wishful thinking.” But try looking at positive affirmations this way: many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our physical health, and affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook. These positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think – and act – differently.
Do Affirmations Work?
Evidence suggests that affirmations can help you to perform better at work. According to researchers, spending just a few minutes thinking about your best qualities before a high-pressure meeting – a performance review, for example – can calm your nerves, increase your confidence, and improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. In one study, a short affirmation exercise boosted the problem-solving abilities of “chronically stressed” subjects to the same level as those with low stress.
What’s more, affirmations have been used to successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions. And they have been shown to stimulate the areas in our brains that make us more likely to effect positive changes in regard to our health.
This latter study suggests that a stronger sense of self-worth makes you more likely to improve your own well-being. So, for example, if you’re worried that you eat too much and don’t get enough exercise , using affirmations to remind yourself of your values can spur you on to change your behavior.
Therefore, we have to be very careful with our words, choosing to speak only those which work towards our benefit and cultivate our highest good. Affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible.
How to Use Positive Affirmations
You can use affirmations in any situation where you’d like to see a positive change take place in your life. These might include times when you want to:
- Raise your confidence before presentations or important meetings.
- 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.
Affirmations may be more effective when you pair them with other positive thinking and goal-setting techniques.
For instance, affirmations work particularly well alongside visualization. So, instead of just picturing the change you’d like to see, you can also write it down or say it aloud using a positive affirmation.
Affirmations are also useful when setting personal goals. Once you’ve identified the goals you’d like to achieve, affirmative statements can help you to keep yourself motivated in order to achieve them.
The power of affirmations lies in repeating them to yourself regularly. It’s useful to recite your affirmations several times a day (have them pop up in your notifications!). You also need to repeat your affirmations as soon as you engage in the negative thought or behavior that you want to overcome.
Examples of Affirmations
By definition, your affirmation will be personal to you, and specific to what you want to achieve or change, but the following examples may provide some inspiration:
- I have plenty of creativity for this project.
- My work will be recognized in a positive way by my boss and colleagues.
- I can do this!
- My team respects and values my opinion.
- I am successful.
- I am honest in my life, and my work.
- I like completing tasks and projects on time.
- I’m grateful for the job I have.
- I enjoy working with my team.
- I’m bringing a positive attitude to work every day.
- I am excellent at what I do.
- I am generous.
- I am happy.
- I will be a leader in my organization.
Negative thinking can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, death. While these techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing occasional negative thinking, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over related illnesses or if negative thoughts are causing significant or persistent unhappiness.
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Affirmations do indeed strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. When we verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions, we are instantly empowered with a deep sense of reassurance that our wishful words will become reality.
If you constantly say “I can’t,” the energy of your words will repel the universal force against you. But if you say “I can!” the universe will endow you with the abilities to do just that. So speak away; relinquish your fears and purge your anger, predict your own future and live up to your potential with your own affirmations that will change your life!