When negative thoughts intrude into our minds, it can be very hard to crawl away from them. However with some practice, learning how to use self-affirmations in times such as those, can be the the source of encouragement and comfort when you most need it.
What are self-affirmations and what can they be used for?
Self affirmations can be described as positive phrases or mantras that are repeated to oneself, in hopes of creating the outcome of the desired phrase or who one wants to become. They can be short and sweet or more layered and in depth depending on the situation at hand, along with personal preferences as well.
Whether, you want to relive stress, anxiety, guilt or pain, there are affirmations for it. If you desire to build up your confidence and self-esteem, there are affirmations for that too! The list can go on and on, there are no limits as to what you can say to yourself.
It might feel awkward and unusual to tell yourself these types phrases at first, but with some practice and understanding of how beneficial they are, it can become second nature.
The neuroscience and benefits behind self-affirmations
Many studies have shown that self-affirmations reduce threats that deal with self-integrity. According to Catherine Moore, Psychologist and contributor to Positive Psychology, “There is MRI evidence suggesting that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks (Cascio et al., 2016).”
Moore went on to explain additional research by adding, “…when we choose to practice positive affirmations, we’re better able to view ‘otherwise-threatening information as more self-relevant and valuable’ (2015: 1979).”
When it comes to benefits, there are plenty. For example, research supports that self-affirmations steadily lower health-deteriorating stress and rumination. Moore further explained that, “They can make us less likely to dismiss harmful health messages, responding instead with the intention to change for the better (Harris et al., 2007).”
Moore included how academics can be brought in as well, “They have been linked positively to academic achievement by mitigating GPA decline in students who feel left out at college (Layous et al., 2017).”
With all of that, practicing self-affirmations can shape your mind into a thinking in a clearer and broader way. They are able to make you stronger when conflicts arise, all while increasing your sense of self.
Examples of self-affirmations
Below are some general affirmations that can apply to many people and different aspects of life.
- I am a successful person.
- I am doing my best.
- I choose to be happy.
- I love the person I am becoming.
- I add value to the world.
- I acknowledge my self-worth.
- I deserve love, empathy, and compassion.
- I believe in my skills and abilities.
- I am in charge of myself.
- I will speak with confidence and self-assurance.
Those are just a few of the thousands of affirmations you can tell yourself. You can cater what you want to say to yourself depending on what feels right and the most comfortable. There are specific affirmations for anxiety, stress, peace of mind, body positivity, relationships and much more.
If you are feeling stuck and don’t know where to begin, sites such as Pinterest offer lots of inspiration.
Once you decide on a few affirmations that fit, you will want to repeat them to yourself once or twice a day. When first practicing, it might be a good idea to repeat your affirmations to yourself morning and night so that you can start and end your day on a positive note, all while creating a routine so that you can put your words into action.