Positive Self Affirmation – What, Why, and How?
We wouldn’t think twice about giving encouragement to friends and family, but the majority of us can probably admit that we very rarely encourage ourselves (if at all). Positive affirmations are positive statements used to motivate and encourage, and ‘self’ obviously means you are directing these statements to yourself. They are reminders to yourself of the positive things in your life, whether that’s personal qualities or the people you are surrounded by.
Research has shown that using positive affirmations can improve your feelings of self-worth. If you often find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, positive affirmations can help to replace these thoughts with more helpful ones. They have also been found to reduce stress, and to view ‘threatening’ messages (e.g. the graphic images on cigarette packets) with less resistance. In relation to that last benefit, the use of positive affirmations has been found to increase adherence to healthy living interventions.
Try picking two or three positive affirmations that feel like a good fit to you. They need to be a genuine reflection of what you think about yourself, not something you do not really believe. Then start repeating them each day in whichever way you see fit. For example, you could write them down in a journal before you go to bed or say them out loud when you get up in the morning. There is no right or wrong as this is truly a personal exercise.
Here are a few examples to get you thinking (but remember, they need to feel right for you);
- I am confident in my ability to stand up for myself
- I feel proud of myself when I start new tasks straight away
- I accept my emotions and let them serve their purpose
- My drive and ambition allow me to achieve my goals
- I put energy into things that matter to me
- I am grateful to have people in my life who make me laugh
- I am at peace with who I am as a person
- I believe in myself, and trust my own wisdom
- I am confident and capable in what I do
You may not feel a difference straight away, but keep at it as regular practice is required to make long-term changes to how you feel. It is easy to be put off by this practice as it sounds quite self-indulgent and awkward (no one likes the idea of bigging themselves up!), but positive affirmations are not statements declaring yourself an exceptional person. Instead, you are focusing on being competent across a number of areas that you personally value in order to be a good, moral, person.
So give it a go and see if you can feel the benefits!