If you've ever taken a class with me, you'll know that I use affirmations a lot. Why do I use them? And how do they work?
Here's the low down on why we can all benefit from affirmations
What are affirmations?
"Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All of our self-talk, our internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations" - Louise Hay
They are statements we tell ourselves to alter our self perception. They form part of our psychological immune system, serving as both a coping mechanism and a motivational tool. They help us to feel better about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we take positive actions
For example, if your boss criticises your work, you tell yourself that it will still be ok, and you cope with the critique better. When you tell yourself you enjoy your job, you feel better about doing your job, thereby bringing a positive action
What are the benefits of affirmations?
"It's not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it's what you whisper to yourself that has the most power" - Robert Kiyosaki
Regular affirmations create new neuronic pathways in the brain, altering how we (the ego) and the subconscious (the id) see ourselves (Schaffer 2016). When we train our brains towards positivity, we increase our optimism, and optimistic people are generally healthier, more productive and mentally robust. A study showed that after 4 weeks of positive affirmations, participant's mental well-being had risen (Nelson, Fuller, Choi, & Lyubomirsky, 2014)
What does it mean to be mentally robust?
You don't sweat the small stuff
You're not overwhelmed by minor nuisances because you can see the bigger picture, and you understand what's important to you. You take criticism well and aren't reliant on others for praise. And if you need to change something to tie in with your values, you just go and do it (that's the productivity kicking in)
So if we tell ourselves positive statements, we become more positive, we cope better with obstacles in our path, and we change our subconscious, which is the part of us that really affects our actions.
Here are a few affirmations I like to use in class. Yes you feel silly at first, but trust me, it works. And if you don't trust me, trust all the studies and neuroscientists instead!
And many, many more!