Interested in the psychology of affirmations, but do not know where to start? Here, you will learn all about creating and using affirmations.
What Are Affirmations?
Before I explain how to build affirmations, let’s talk about what they are. Affirmations are not magic tricks or voodoo witchcraft. But they can work wonders, which is why they are a central part of Positive Psychology. Affirmations are short, powerful, positive statements. They state a fact or a strong opinion.
Examples of Affirmations
Here’s an example: “I am open to change.”
That’s an affirmation! It’s easy to repeat an affirmation like this if you believe it about yourself already. The seeds have already been planted, and your mind is a garden that supports your openness to change. But maybe it’s not something you believe about yourself right now. Maybe change makes you nervous, but you are looking to be more open to change. This is when affirmations are especially important.
Of course, this is just one example of an affirmation. Maybe your goals have nothing to do with openness - maybe you are more focused on becoming more focused, more wealthy, or more friendly. Let’s look at ways that you can form affirmations to help you start to change your beliefs.
Why Do Affirmations Work?
Picture your mind as the Earth. The things that you say to yourself everyday are like seeds. As these seeds enter your mind, their roots grow deeper and deeper. With the right amount of care and attention, they blossom and take up the space of your mind. Are you growing seeds of encouragement, or seeds of despair and dread? Are you filling your head with nice, encouraging, or empowering thoughts? Or are you repeating the same story about how you can’t do something or you’ll never accomplish anything?
A lot of people find themselves growing a garden of discouraging and limiting thoughts. They might not even know that this is what they’re doing! But they continue to tell themselves, “I’m too old,” or “It’s too late,” or “I’ll never live up to anyone’s expectations.” Soon, they have a garden so filled with these flowers that they have no room to believe anything else.
If you are looking to feel more positively about yourself, or just want to boost your confidence throughout the day, affirmations will help you get there, no matter how you feel about yourself right now.
How to Form an Affirmation
Think of your ideal self. The person that you’ve always wanted to be. The person that has everything that you want right now. What is this version of you like?
Is this version of you confident?
Is this version of you wealthy? Successful? Calm? Open to change?
Choose one word or phrase that describes this version of you. Let’s keep this first affirmation short and simple. Just add “I am” or “I have” to this word or phrase.
For example, “I am successful.”
“I am calm.”
“I am confident.”
Put this affirmation in the present tense. No need to adjust it so that it reflects your current beliefs. “I am successful” is much more powerful and transformative than “I would like to be successful.”
Sure, maybe you don’t feel so successful, or calm, or confident right now. Maybe you, your parents, or the people around you have been planting seeds in your mind that tell you that you are not these things. If that’s the case, then your affirmation is even more important.
How to Use Your Affirmation
Write down your affirmation on a Post-It note or in a journal. Write it down on a Post-It note and in a journal. Place it in one or two places where you will see it at the beginning or end of every day. I like to place my affirmation next to my bathroom mirror. That way, I see it before I head out the door, and I see it before I hop into bed.
When you see it, read it to yourself. Read it out loud. Repeat it. Repeat it again and again. Repeat it for every time someone told you that you couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or would never. Repeat it over and over. Repeat it until you believe it.
Try it with me. Put together a little affirmation, and say it out loud.
Say it again.
Say it again!
Great work. At first, it might feel a little silly. But this is the simplest thing that you can do to boost your mood, put yourself in a more positive headspace, and enjoy the person that is looking back at you in the mirror.
Do What Works for You
Play around with your affirmations. Write something more specific to your goals. Recite them in the car before a big meeting. Write them on every page of your notebook. If you start to feel good, keep doing it. These affirmations are short and sweet so that they can fit into your life and personal development in the way that works best for you.