People ask me if positive affirmations really work. That’s like asking a personal trainer if you will get fit by exercising at the gym every day. The resounding answer is yes! Positive affirmations are powerful, and they really work, when you know how to create them, what to include and what to avoid.
From my experience, people who say that affirmations don’t really work or are negative about ‘powerful affirmations creating positive results’, have rarely tried this technique. And if they have, they’ve only done it for one day, or they’ve done it for a week but the whole time had absolutely no belief that the powerful affirmation would have any positive impact on their life. They self-sabotage the power of affirmations before they’ve had time to create a new pathway in the brain.
The biological mechanisms that enable the powerful impact of affirmations are in our brain’s plasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain, to change in response to new stimuli and experiences. MRI reports show that activity in neural regions increases when repeating self-affirmations, physically altering our brains’ evaluation of the self. This allows us to maintain a positive self-view and be resistant when faced with threats to our perceived competence. Self-affirmation practices also have a noticeable effect on the brain’s reward system: the structures that elicit feelings of pleasure when we experience things we enjoy, such as love or good food. While activation of the reward circuit feels great, it is also crucial in reinforcing behaviours and in helping us create long-lasting habits.
Using positive affirmations every day is a powerful way of switching up your mindset and setting yourself on the path to success. More and more people, from sports stars to entrepreneurs, use affirmations to change their mindsets, to concentrate on achieving their goals and creating the life they really want.
It’s easy to create your own, powerful, positive affirmations focused on what you want.
- Make it Personal
Affirmations are much more powerful if they start with the words “I am.” Those two little words immediately make whatever follows personalised and immediate. Straightaway, the affirmation is not generic but yours focused on what you want to be or have in your life.
- Keep it in the Present
Notice the words “I am” are not “I want” or “I will.” A powerful affirmation puts you right in the middle of what you want to achieve right now. Not something to work towards or wish might happen but is happening now.
- Keep it Positive
Powerful affirmations make you feel good because they are positive. Keep the focus on want you want, not what you don’t want.
- Keep it Short
You’re not writing an essay or even a wish list. Keep your affirmation simple and focused, so it’s easy to remember.
- Keep it Specific
A powerful affirmation is focused on precisely what you want. Be very detailed in your affirmation – generalisations confuse the mind. Make it as real as you can.
- Include an Action
Powerful affirmations have energy—they have an active, present tense verb in them. Think of what you’re doing in your desired life. See yourself enjoying your life having achieved exactly what you desire.
- Include a Positive Emotion
If your affirmation is going to make you feel good, it’s important to include the positive emotion you want to experience. How will you feel when you’ve achieved your goal? Happy? Grateful? Proud of yourself? Embrace that feeling whilst reciting your positive, powerful affirmation.
- Stay Attentive to Yourself
Write down what’s missing in your life and use this to create an affirmation that highlights the opposite. The most potent affirmations are the ones you make for yourself. That’s why generic affirmations have a limited effect. They might feel good initially but won’t go to the heart of what you want for yourself and therefore may not really work.
- Create an Affirmation Habit
Like any new behaviour, affirmations are most powerful when they are repeated regularly and consistently. Set up a positive habit by writing down your affirmations and committing to repeating them to yourself at least three times a day. Say it to yourself when you wake up each morning, sing it to yourself in the shower, remind yourself of your affirmation whilst driving to work, at midday smile to yourself and repeat your affirmation, at bedtime give yourself a pat on the back and calmly recite your affirmation as you fall into a restful sleep.
Have post-it-notes on your mirror, beside your bed or as the screen saver on your phone. Include positive, powerful affirmations as part of your regular routine and you will see that they really do work.
I’ve recorded a short video with more information on how to create powerful affirmations and understand why they really work.
I’d love to hear your affirmations, please share them with me…