The benefits and power of affirmations go far and wide. Reach any top performer in any field, and you can bet they perform affirmations daily. What we repeatedly say and do makes a mark (malleable) on our subconscious minds which translates to what we believe and do with our conscious minds. If someone repeats “they feel sick” over and over, well chances are, they will indeed feel sick. However, if someone says the opposite “I feel great”, they will indeed feel great. This may seem too good to be true, however, these things have been shown in scientific literature to be true.
In one study (Taber JA et al, 2016), 326 cancer survivors reported that participants with higher optimism reported better health, greater happiness, hopefulness and lower likelihood of cognitive impairment and concluded that given the malleability of self-affirmation, the findings are significant. This is very important when working with chronic health conditions or great health. If a condition has arisen out of a traumatic life event, affirmations can be even more effective. It has been suggested by the scientist and behavioral care providers that self-affirmation reminds people of important aspects of the self, enabling them to view events from a reasonable, considered, and rational viewpoint (Sherman DK et al, 2011).
The subconscious mind, however, cannot differentiate between negative and positive, or between what is real and imagined. For example, if we want to be successful, we cannot say things like “I don’t want to be a failure.” The subconscious mind will act upon the word “failure,” ignoring the word “don’t,” and actualizing the undesired result. We must choose what we share with our subconscious mind carefully, and that is why positive affirmations are so critical. The subconscious mind is most open to helpful and beneficial suggestions while we are in the “alpha” brainwave state – this is our most relaxed state of mind and consistent with harmony with the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” state. The alpha wave frequency is often achieved in a meditative state or just before falling asleep – this creates an optimal time to receive positive affirmations. Music designed to create the alpha brain wave state can also help if you are not a meditator or have trouble initiating meditation.
How To Use Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements read by our subconscious mind which can be used as a blueprint for our conscious minds. When properly performed, affirmations can counteract some of our negative thoughts and habits, resonating with the alpha brain waves and enabling us to achieve empowerment. However, there is a right way of using affirmations that will provide the most benefit.
Basic examples of affirmations include:
“I am strong”
“I am healthy”
“I am in control of my life”
“I have set my goals and I am moving towards them”
While this is a great start, we can supercharge our affirmations with the formula below. Remember, affirmations with words and valuable phrases can be quite powerful, imprinting positive messages in our subconscious mind. These affirmations can help with rewriting the thoughts in the files of our brains (storage houses of the brain), where often-negative messages that originate from a repeated phrase can be stored. The only barrier to achieving our personal goals is ourselves and we often need to retrain our thought patterns to see the opportunities, joys, and possibilities in life rather than the limitations.
How to create powerful affirmations:
- Place your name in the affirmation
- Phrase the goal in the present tense, to bring it into reality
- Add a feeling to strengthen the affirmation (I feel, I enjoy etc.,)
- Add a reward to reinforce what we are truly working towards
- Be sure to balance the goal and reward so they are realistic, achievable and meaningful
- I, Ashley, enjoy two healthy snacks a day and I am healthy
- I, Sarah, meditate ten minutes a day and I feel centered
- I, Andrew, set daily goals and I am empowered to achieve them
- I, Joseph, manage my time well and I am in control of my life
Affirmations can also be spiritual in nature or action and time bound orientated.
- I ________ have mind body spirit balance and I feel at peace
- I ________ enjoy walking outside twice a week and I feel fit
- I ________ devote one hour per day to meditation and I feel calm and manage my stress better
- I ________ release all negative thoughts, feelings and ideas and I move forward positively toward health
In addition, while using affirmations in the “first person” perspective, i.e. “I/we”, it can also be beneficial to write down and use affirmations in the “second person” perspective, i.e. “you”. Here are the same examples as above but with the “second person” perspective:
- You ________ have mind body spirit balance and I feel at peace
- You ________ enjoy walking outside twice a week and I feel fit
- You ________ devote one hour per day to meditation and I feel calm and manage my stress better
- You ________ release all negative thoughts, feelings and ideas and I move forward positively toward health
So remember to pick the right statements for your intentions, make it a daily habit to clear the clutter and reprogram your subconscious mind. Be aware that positive affirmations don’t magically manifest results. Instead, what they do is open your subconscious mind to new channels of information and opportunity, so you must take action on these in order for any major changes to happen to your life.
So as with all of our patients, try creating your own! I recommend repeating each affirmation 10 times (Each time you perform them), and that you create three affirmations reflecting areas for growth, improvement, and happiness. These affirmations can help you empower yourself to be who you truly deserve to be.