The Power of Positive Affirmations
You may have heard of the power of self-talk or positive affirmations. Affirmations are rising in prominence because the dialogue that we have with ourselves has an enormous impact on how we perceive the world, how we handle stress, and ultimately, on our success.
If you know that you have a tendency to give in to negative thinking, it may be time to start thinking about incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine.
What Are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations, or positive self-talk, are statements or conversations that we confidently have with ourselves about perceived truths. They are messages that we repeat to ourselves to replace negative or harmful internal dialogues that keep us from growing and attracting what we want.
The goal of positive affirmations is to rewire our thinking patterns towards positivity and to foster true confidence in the statements that we are making. By repeating the words over and over to ourselves, we make a habit of believing them to be true, which can have profound impacts on self-confidence, levels of positivity and optimism, and personal success.
What Positive Affirmations Are Not
Many tote positive self-talk and affirmations as being core to successful daily routines, but positive affirmations are not a one-stop shop solution to all of life’s problems. There are a number of misperceptions that surround positive affirmations that should be noted when beginning a practice.
The goal of positive affirmations is to foster positive thinking and to rewrite negative inner dialogues with a more constructive message. They are not, however, supposed to create blind optimism in the practitioner.
Our negative self-talk tracks are often developed in childhood and have permeated into our adult lives. The reality is that we all experience things differently, and that experience will have an impact on which affirmations we need.
Making statements to ourselves like “Everything is perfect” may not be as constructive as instead saying “I have a purpose and choose to see the good in this life.” While both statements attempt to look at life more positively, the latter recognizes that there are variances in the good and bad of life. Blind optimism is not constructive and in fact, can be harmful in the wrong context.
Positive self-talk and affirmations generally recognize that we have a tendency to make events more stressful than they need to be by cycling an unhealthy dialogue of negativity and self-doubt in our heads. That being said, affirmations are not supposed to deceive you into believing that your stress is unfounded, that your life is free of problems, or that you are free of responsibility and/or accountability.
Affirmations can and should be rooted in reality, and should help to frame your intentions constructively. If you find yourself using affirmations to deceive yourself, you may not reap the benefits that positive self-talk can have.
Positive vs Negative Self Talk
For those who are stuck in a cycle of “negative self-talk”, a typical reaction to situations may involve assuming guilt and creating elevated levels of stress as a result of thoughts of shame, self-doubt, anger, and other unconstructive emotions. Positive self-talk, on the other hand, involves making a conscious effort to react to situations more positively and constructively. In lieu of giving in to feelings of negativity, the goal is to recognize the negative emotion and counteract it by finding a related positive truth instead. For example, in lieu of cycling, “I am not good enough” over and over in one’s head, a replacement may be “I am doing my very best, and that is enough.” The negative thought is then recognized and replaced by a more positive outcome.
Positive self-talk has proven to be an effective means of alleviating stress and reducing pain and anxiety in a range of therapies, including through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which involves learning to control your emotional reactions through more constructive thinking. Positive self-talk and CBT are commonly used in the treatment of illnesses such as depression and chronic stress.
What Are Positive Affirmations Good For?
Positive affirmations can benefit anyone who chooses to practice them. By committing to emphasizing positivity over harmful dialogues we can change the way that we perceive ourselves and our daily lives. Positive affirmations can be particularly helpful when dealing with issues such as:
How we perceive situations and the degree to which we allow them to cause us stress has a great impact on our happiness. The implementation of positive affirmations into your daily routine can significantly reduce the degree of stress that you allow yourself to succumb to. Choosing to overwrite negative thought patterns with positive self-talk can allow you to more constructively process the situation at hand, providing a higher degree of resiliency as a by-product of your elevated confidence in your abilities.
Given the propensity for stress to cause physical and biological changes (such as muscle tension and pain, headaches, distress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more), positive affirmations can be a great, proactive way of addressing the emotional issues that harmfully manifest themselves in our bodies through negative self-talk. Those who practice positive affirmations are able to reduce their overall stress and anxiety by actively replacing negative statements with milder or more positive wording, and eliminating self-limiting declarations. This reduction in stress and anxiety can positively contribute to better symptom management in diseases, disorders, and issues that are aggravated by stress and anxiety.
Get Started Improving Your Inner Dialogue
One of the benefits of implementing positive affirmations and self-talk is that one can begin immediately. For those seeking to start a practice of changing your inner dialogue:
Start by making small changes to your inner dialogue. Begin to recognize how you react to situations, and ask yourself why it is that you are feeling a given emotion.
Identify Negative Thoughts
When you begin to think negatively or cycle unproductive thoughts, take a moment to recognize the negativity and identify the emotion. Are you feeling doubt? Guilt? Shame? Acknowledge the feeling for what it is.
Identify Positive New Thoughts
Once you’ve identified the negative thought, replace it with something positive. Instead of saying “I’m a failure”, try replacing it with “I tried my best, and that is enough” or similarly, positively-oriented statements.
Make it Believable
Positive affirmations should be rooted in reality to be effective. For example, if your goal is to make more money, a positive affirmation may be “I am worth the salary I am seeking.” This is far more believable than “I will come into $2 million in the next week,” and far more likely to build the real confidence that you will require going into something like a salary negotiation.
Get Inspiration from Others
With so many people using positive self-talk and affirmations to bolster their daily confidence, there is an endless number of examples that you can adopt into your own daily routine. Seek out successful people that you admire, conduct research online, and adopt affirmations that are recommended to you.
The key to success with positive self-talk and affirmations is repetition. Rewiring your thinking won’t happen overnight, so make sure to practice your affirmations daily. Allow them to manifest as a new and critical component of your routine.
Craft A Practice That Sets You Up For Success
The beauty of positive affirmations is that anyone can reap the benefits of the practice. The sooner you begin to identify which of your thought patterns are holding you back, the sooner you can begin to heal those thought patterns by manifesting positivity in your daily life.
If you find yourself still having trouble even after following this guide, we can help. ThriveTalk is here to match you with a counselor to help you make a change and live the positivity you want to see in your life.