Do you often get negative thoughts like these?
- I’ll never succeed.
- I’m not good enough for this job.
- I suck at math.
- Public speaking is not my forte.
- I will never be as successful as my sister or brother.
- I am never going to get ahead of my colleagues.
I used to think I wasn’t good enough. I tried so hard to please my father as a child that I always felt I had to do more to get his love. I became an overachiever to get his attention. My negative thought was; I wasn’t good enough or worthy. It took quite a lot of work to shift those self-beliefs and not let them lead my life. It had been ingrained in me for many years. I would sometimes write down affirmations 500 times a day until I really embodied the new thought.
Whether you get them frequently or once in a while, the thing is that negative thoughts prevent you from growing on a personal level and succeeding in many domains of life. When we develop negative thoughts, it impacts our outlook, mood, and self-confidence all at once.
The main problem with negative thoughts is that they might become self-fulfilling prophecies because we believe that we aren’t good enough to do anything. Resultantly, these thoughts drag down our relationships, career, and other parts of our private life. So, if we consciously use positive thoughts about ourselves, the impact will be just as helpful and powerful. So, today, we will explore how affirmations can drive positive change in your life and career and find out does this work at all?
What Are Affirmations, and Do They Work?
Simply put, positive affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome self-destructive thoughts and channel your energies and thought processes towards productive and positive ones. When we repeat these statements often and truly embody them, we start believing in them, which instigates positive changes in aspects of ourselves.
However, most people disregard affirmations as unrealistic or wishful thinking. In some ways, I understand. In an era heavily dominated by medications and scientific treatment options, something as harmless, cost-effective, and simple as telling yourself that you are great seems outlandish.
If you also believe this to be true, try looking at affirmations in another way. Think of them as repetitive exercises that we regularly do to improve our physical health. Consider repeating positive affirmations as a form of exercise for better mental health.
Does Science Back Affirmations?
Affirmations are mental repetitions that help you reprogram your thinking pattern to start thinking and acting differently. A 2015 study revealed that affirmations could improve your performance at work. Spending only a few minutes thinking about your good qualities and traits before a high-pressure meeting or performance review can boost your confidence, calm your nerves, and increase the chances of a successful outcome.
Moreover, self-affirmations can help mitigate the effects of anxiety, stress, and depression. In a previous study, chronically distressed subjects were asked to undergo a short affirmation exercise. At the end of the study, the exercise concluded that the exercise boosted their problem-solving abilities to the same level as subjects with low-stress levels.
In other studies, affirmations were used to successfully treat people experiencing low self-esteem or other mental health issues like depression. The studies showed affirmations stimulated those portions of our brain that make us more likely to make positive changes in our life.
Another study suggested that a stronger sense of self-worth can make one more likely to improve their health and wellbeing. This means, if you are worried about following an unhealthy diet routine and not being able to exercise a lot, using affirmations can help you remind yourself of your goal and motivate you to change your behavior.
Is There any Psychological Theory Behind Positive Affirmations?
Yes, there is. The primary psychological theory working behind positive affirmations is Self-affirmation theory. It is based on the idea that to maintain our sense of self-integrity, we must tell ourselves to believe in positive ways. This theory argues that maintaining self-identity isn’t about being perfect. Instead, it is about being competent and self-sufficient in areas that we value.
Can Affirmations Help Change your Outlook on Life for the Better?
Since positive affirmations are inherently positive, these encourage an optimistic mindset. Optimism in itself is pretty powerful, and when you want to reduce negative thoughts, optimism is the key to success. That’s because it helps you deal with negative messages from your brain and replaces them with positive statements. So, affirmations can be beneficial in constructing more hopeful, adaptive, and productive narratives about our true identity and what we can accomplish.
Leanne from Liverpool, England, tried positive affirmations and now swears by its effectiveness in helping her learn to drive. She struggled to develop a positive outlook on life in general and was experiencing self-doubt. In her testimonial, Leanne wrote about her experience and how affirmations helped her take control of her life.
“I have Dyspraxia and struggle with balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. I started my driving lessons when I was 17 years old. I struggled straight away and was extremely frustrated. I had three different instructors and had to do my theory test twice as it took me that long to pass the practical test! The first time I took my test I had been repeating negative thoughts about myself constantly. The second test was months later and I
still was having negative thoughts and feelings despite the encouragement of my instructor. I failed that test too. My third test was almost a year later, however this time I praised myself, and every morning before I had a chance to think anything else I would tell myself “I will pass my driving test this third time, I know I can do it.” I repeated these affirmations so many times throughout the day, sometimes without even thinking about them. They became a habit, and I passed.”
Karen Ellis from Terrebonne, OR, USA, was finding it hard to lose weight as her body wasn’t responding to the same diet plan she had been using since being a teenager as she had turned 50. So, she turned to positive affirmations, and this is her experience.
“I guess I’ve been dieting ever since my teen years. I’m now in my fifties. Now, when I diet, nothing happens at all, no matter how long I restrict my food intake. However, I can easily gain five pounds in a matter of days, just eating like a normal person. I decided to really infiltrate my thinking with a thought about losing weight. After all, I figured I had nothing to lose, as diets simply weren’t working anymore. I had just recently gained eight pounds. My statement was simple and short, “I am _____ pounds.” A month later, I was eight pounds lighter than my current weight. I said it especially when going to sleep at night, over and over, and when I woke up in the morning. But I also repeated it throughout the day and if I woke up at night.”
She kept losing weight and is now 10 pounds lighter. The process was long as it took her three months to lose all that weight, but she didn’t lose hope and is now in complete control of her weight and diet.
Affirmations are more impactful and effective when you pair them with positive thoughts and goal-setting techniques. Such as, affirmations work well with visualization. So, you can picture the change you want to see or write it down and say the positive statement out loud. Affirmations are most valuable when you need to set personal goals, as when you identify the goals to be achieved, these statements can keep you motivated to achieve them.
The power of affirmations lies in regular repetition. It would help if you recited the statements several times a day, and as soon as you engage in negative thoughts or behavior, you intend to overcome.
Another cool realization is that you can only hold one thought at a time. Would you rather it be a negative self-talk thought or a positive affirmation. You can train your brain to think positively. Affirmations are much more powerful with expansive emotions attached. Breathe in deeply when affirmation and truly embody the message.
CHANGE YOUR THINKING, CHANGE YOUR WORLD.
You can write your own affirmations; an easier way is to use affirmation cards. If you want to download a free set of 48 affirmation cards, click below on the graphic … you are worth it.