We all have a thing or two we want to change about ourselves. Same goes for our life. And positive affirmations are a very powerful instrument to help us with that.
What are positive affirmations?
To understand how positive affirmations can help us become who we want to be, we first need to know: What are positive affirmations?
“Affirming” something is the act of validating or confirming a fact, according to Merriam Webster. Basically every time you say a sentence that is not a question, you could call that an affirmation. Saying “I am cold” would affirm to yourself and others your feeling of being cold.
Even if you just think sentences like that, your brain uses those thoughts as an affirmation of facts.
Now I don’t know how aware of your thoughts you are. You might know that many of the things going on in your head are not necessarily positive. And this is where the concept of “positive affirmations” comes in.
So what is the positive in positive affirmations?
Positive affirmations are selected statements of a positive nature. Rather than just saying a fact, you make it a point of saying a positive statement. You would repeat those to yourself in order to plant a certain belief, attitude or value in your mind.
It is important to note that not only the topic of the statement will be positive. For example love, wealth, happiness… Also the wording should avoid negative formulations. Instead of saying “I am not sad today” you would say “I am happy today”. This is important, because your brain actually likes to ignore words like “not”. So in order to not affirm sadness to yourself, you would use the second variant.
How affirmations work
Now that we have established what positive affirmations are, let’s have a look at how affirmations work.
Do affirmations work?
First of all we need to ask the question if affirmations work at all. The short answer is yes, they do have an effect on your thought patterns. Especially if you use them regularly.
The longer answer is: Affirmations do something to you. But they might not work exactly as you hope they would. While there are numerous studies on affirmations and their effects, their exact mechanism of working is still unclear.
Positive affirmations and the brain
We do know though, that the effect of using self-affirmations can be measured in our brains. According to another publication on how affirmations work, people who had used affirmations showed more activity in certain areas of the brain. (Compared to people who hadn’t used any affirmations.) Specifically brain regions that have to do with “self-related processing” and reward were more active.
How Affirmations work: The power of affirmations
So how powerful are positive affirmations? According to a publication by Geoffrey L. Cohen and David K. Sherman “affirmations can decrease stress, increase well being, improve academic performance and make people more open to behavior change”. Quite a mouthful, right?
They are basically saying, that affirmations can change our life for the better in quite a few ways. In their abstract they also mention that those benefits sometimes last for months or even years. Powerful stuff.
As with any good thing, there has to be a word of warning as well though. Another psychology paper found affirmations to be harmful under certain circumstances. In their study, people with low self-esteem actually felt worse than before, after repeating the statement “I’m a lovable person”.
And I can see how that makes sense. If I am convinced that I am not lovable, saying that statement would make me feel horrible. And make me think of all the reasons why I am not. In that case, my first step should be to work on my self-esteem.
So using affirmation to improve your life can work. Just make sure to not use affirmations going against your own deeply held beliefs.
Find the right positive affirmations for your goal
In order to successfully use positive affirmations for personal development, you first need to figure out what your goal is. Who do you want to be? What should your life look like?
List of positive affirmations
For many topics there are already long lists of affirmations out there. To give you an impression of what they look like, I am gonna list a few affirmation examples for common topics here.
positive affirmations for anxiety
Disclaimer: Anxiety is a special topic. While I am going to give a few examples for affirmations for anxiety, I want to make something very clear. Like I wrote above, affirmations can help, but they can also be damaging. And they are certainly not a replacement for professional care. If your anxiety is a clinical condition, please get professional advice.
Some examples for affirmations that could be used to help states of anxiety:
- I’m in charge of my breathing, and I can slow it down.
- I am calm and mindful.
- I am solution-driven.
- I look forward to new challenges.
- I am curious what life has in store for me.
I personally very much recommend the last one. Changing my attitude to curiosity the moment I start feeling anxious has changed things for me! New things become less threatening and more playful.
Beauty affirmations can simply be “I am beautiful” affirmations. But they can also go on a deeper level and focus on inner values and attitude.
- I radiate beauty.
- I have great posture.
- I am confident.
- I find it easy to think positively.
- I am healthy and attractive.
- I am beautiful exactly the way I am.
positive affirmations for kids
Yes, even kids can already successfully use affirmations. Making it a fun and playful exercise, it can help them shape positive attitudes.
- I am loved.
- I enjoy learning.
- I make friends easily.
- I am perfect just the way I am.
- I like myself.
For a huge list of affirmations for children, check out this article on “Planet of success”!
affirmations for depression
Disclaimer: Depression, like clinical anxiety, is not simply “fixed” by using affirmations. Like I wrote above, affirmations can help, but they can also be damaging. And they are certainly not a replacement for professional care. Please make sure to get professional advice!
- I find and enjoy the simple pleasures life is offering right now.
- I am good enough.
- I choose to forgive myself for the mistakes made and learn from each one.
- My depression is separate from me.
- I am resilient and getting better.
affirmations for happiness
Happiness can mean many things to different people. So these example affirmations are rather general. They’ll still work!
- I choose to be happy every day.
- I deserve happiness.
- I spread happiness to others and get happiness back.
- I am grateful for my wonderful life.
- Being happy comes easy to me.
Healing affirmations can be used together with medical care to support the healing process. Please do NOT use them as a replacement!
- I am healing.
- I am getting better every day.
- My body is strong.
- Every atom of my body does what it’s supposed to do.
- Peace flows through me like a healing stream.
Same as above. Health affirmations will work great to support your health. What we think directly influences our body chemistry, after all. Still, health affirmations cannot replace a healthy lifestyle.
- I am healthy.
- It’s easy for me to choose healthy habits.
- I enjoy healthy food.
- I love moving my body.
- I give my body what it needs to keep it healthy.
- I am love.
- I find it easy to love myself and other people.
- I attract positive and healthy relationships into my life.
- My heart is open to love.
- I give love to people around my and I get lots of love back.
Money, wealth, abundance and prosperity affirmations are a very common topic in the world of positive affirmations. And it makes sense. Especially women often have trouble asking for money for their products or business services. A first good step to help with that is to change our mindsets regarding money.
- I am worthy of making money.
- Money flows to me easily.
- I am surrounded by abundance.
- I deserve prosperity.
- I am open and receptive to all the wealth life offers me.
Need a little push to get that motivation back? Try these examples of motivational affirmations.
- I am motivated.
- I am a go-getter and I will keep pushing until I reach my goal.
- I love taking advantage of opportunities.
- I am full of energy and inspiration.
- I easily motivate others.
affirmations for strength
No matter if you want to affirm physical or mental strength, the following affirmations fit both cases.
- I am strong and getting stronger every day.
- It’s alright to be strong.
- I feel strong in all circumstances.
- I feel the strongest I have in a long time.
- I breathe in strength.
positive affirmations for stress
I admit, this headline is a little confusing. Obviously the following example are not positive affirmations for stress, but to help with stress.
- I am relaxed.
- I will be okay.
- I am letting go of my worries.
- I release all tension from my mind and body.
- I am finding it easier to release excess tension and worries.
affirmations for success
Who doesn’t want to be successful?
- I believe in myself and my ability to succeed.
- I am committed to achieving success.
- I attract successful people who encourage me into my life.
- I focus on success.
- Small successes build up into large successes for me.
positive affirmations for work
No matter if you work for yourself or if you are employed, positive affirmations for work can help you get your job done.
- I’m excited about my job.
- My work day is going to be productive and fulfilling.
- I look forward to getting things done today.
- Work gives me a sense of fulfillment.
- I am a reliable and responsible worker.
- I wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
- Today is going to be a great day.
- I am grateful for this new day.
- I cannot wait to see what this day brings.
- I am full of love and happiness this morning.
affirmations for self esteem
If you want to boost your confidence generally or for certain situations, positive affirmations can help.
- I believe in my abilities and skills.
- Confidence is my second nature.
- I approve of myself.
- I am capable and confident.
- I am courageous.
weight loss affirmations
Losing weight can be quite some work. So why not use some weight loss affirmations to help you get there?
- I love getting physically fit.
- My body is getting healthier and stronger every day.
- I deserve to be healthy and happy.
- I can achieve my weight loss goals.
- Eating healthy comes naturally to me.
How to write affirmations
In order to have your own set of affirmations, you might decide to write your own affirmations. Awesome! Let’s go over a few tips on how to write affirmations!
1. How to write affirmations: Use positives
I already touched on this briefly in the definition of positive affirmations. Always say what you want, not what you don’t want. Why would you want to repeat a negative every day? Exactly.
2. How to write affirmations: Keep it short and specific
As you will want to repeat your affirmations daily, keep it short and simple. If you feel like now you have to leave something out, no problem. Just make two affirmations out of it!
3. How to write affirmations: Pull your wish into the present
Okay, it might not be entirely clear what I mean by that. In other words: Write down a sentence that states your wish as a present time fact. Still not quite clear? Maybe an example helps. If you want to become wildly successful, your affirmation would be: “I am wildly successful”. State it as a fact. In present tense.
Make sure to use the positive affirmations regularly
Now that you figured out the perfect affirmations for yourself, it’s time to use them! Probably the most important aspect of using them is consistency. For many people, simply thinking of them once is not enough to get into the habit of using positive affirmations regularly. So let’s look at some possible helpers.
daily affirmations app
Apps can be perfect little helpers for so many things. Why would positive affirmations be an exception? You can find daily affirmation apps for iOS just as much as for Android devices. I personally haven’t used any so far, so I cannot give you a specific recommendation. But judging by the numbers of downloads, those apps seem to help huge amounts of people!
Audio affirmations are great for when you are in your car, in public transport… Pretty much any time you can listen to something. You can buy audio affirmations on various websites.
But my favorite version of audio affirmations are affirmations I recorded myself. I don’t know how it is for you. But my inner voice, the one that starts nagging be about everything, it sounds like my normal voice. So recording my normal voice with positive messages and listening to that has a huge impact on me. You can easily try it by recording your own affirmations with your phone and listening to them for a few days. See how that feels.
Another help in using positive affirmations regularly are books. There are myriads of them out there. Some have specific topics, like affirmations for success. Some just generally list positive affirmations. Either way, they can be very helpful if you prefer something physical to hold in your hand.
positive affirmation cards
Similar to affirmation books, but a bit more lightweight. Unlike a book, you can easily carry your daily affirmation card around or put it in an easily visible place. For example on your desk or next to the mirror.
Probably my favorite affirmation helpers are affirmation meditations. I like using them as part of my morning routine or to listen to them before going to sleep. There is a Youtube channel called “The honest guys” and their videos just always work for me. So when I look for affirmation meditations I will always start with theirs‘. Absolutely recommend!
printable positive affirmations
In the wondrous wide web you can also find countless printable affirmation resources. Something I found very cute are the printable affirmation cards from Maria over at tinselbox.com. You can download the printables and then follow the instructions to make some really cute cards.
Regardless of which version you pick, if you want to successfully use affirmations to make a difference in your life, make sure to use them regularly. Implement them in your routines. Also put a reminder on the coffee machine. Give it a real chance and you will notice changes in your mindset.
Now as usual, I would love to hear your experiences. Have you used positive affirmations before? If yes, how was it? If no, what held you back? Let me know in the comments! And if this article was helpful to you, why don’t you share it with someone?