An affirmation is, in short, a truth. When you affirm something, you are stating it is true. Affirmations are commonly used as positive thought training tools. Your mind believes what you tell it to believe. If you tell yourself, over and over, that you are not “good enough” or not “smart enough,” you will believe it. You will even work to justify your belief. Every time you make a mistake, you will say, “See, I am so stupid.”
The theory behind positive affirmations is that you have the power to change your beliefs, simply by telling your mind good things. Affirmations are a way to change your thought processes. Affirmations are a way for you to take control of your thoughts and your life instead of waiting for the anxiety to take over.
There are many places to find affirmations, but you should choose those that are specific to you or create your own. When coming up with affirmations, remember:
- Your affirmations should be about you
- Your affirmations should be worded in the present tense
If you are just beginning to use affirmations, choose one or two to work with. Once these thoughts have become part of your thought process, choose one or two more.
Examples of Affirmations
Some examples of anxiety-reducing affirmations:
- I can overcome my fears
- I no longer need to be frightened
- I am calm and relaxed
- I am safe
Tips for Using Affirmations
- Affirmations should be worded to be in the present tense.
- Affirmations should be worded to state what you accomplished, for example, “I am not frightened of crowds” rather than "I don’t want to be frightened of crowds.
- Say or write your affirmations between 10 and 20 times each day, making sure to say or write them right after waking up and right before going to bed
- Affirmations should be in your own words
- Affirmations can include how you want to feel, such as “I am safe” even if you don’t feel that way right now
- Use affirmations as soon as you begin to feel anxious
- Catch negative thoughts and replace with a positive affirmation immediately
- Use visualization along with your affirmations. Picture yourself feeling safe as you say, “I am safe.” Visualization helps make affirmations even more powerful
Affirmations, like other methods of reducing anxiety, take time. Many people begin working with affirmations only to stop a few days later. Using affirmations takes time and patience. Try setting a goal to follow through with affirmations for 30 days.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.