When you change the story you tell yourself, you change your perception of the world and the narrative of your life. One way to transform your life story is to utilize affirmations, which are statements that affirm something is true or possible. By boosting your confidence, you can think of affirmations as one way to manifest something positive into your life, whether it’s career success, wealth, or a supportive relationship.
If you frequently feel down or discouraged, research suggests that repeating positive, daily affirmations can help boost your outlook and self-esteem while combatting negative thoughts. For example, affirmations have been shown to increase activity in brain regions associated with an improved sense of self-worth.
Many successful people have spoken about the importance of positive self-talk and how it can help improve success and well-being. For example, Tony Robbins utilizes affirmations such as “I am grateful for everything that I am, and everything that I have” to increase his motivation. Michelle Obama leans on this reassuring affirmation: “I’m a work in progress and I hope that I will always be.”
In this article, learn how affirmations can serve as a tool to support you on your self-improvement journey, plus receive tips for choosing the most impactful ones.
- If you feel stuck, affirmations can pull you out of old wounds and cycles, allowing you to stop perpetuating limiting beliefs.
- Affirmations are positive, present-tense statements or declarations that are repeated consistently to reinforce positive beliefs and thoughts.
- They’re a popular tool in self-help, personal development, and positive psychology, most often used to enhance self-confidence, motivation, and open-mindedness.
- According to a 2018 study, telling yourself affirming statements consistently can help you cope with uncertainty, improve your sense of self-worth, and enhance how you cope with various stresses and life’s difficulties.
- Affirmations can be written down in a journal, repeated silently in your mind, spoken aloud, displayed, or recorded and then listened to.
- To be most effective, ensure that your affirmations align with your goals, values, and desires.
What Are Affirmations?
The basic premise behind affirmations is that by consistently stating positive sentences to yourself, you can reprogram your subconscious mind and replace negative or limiting beliefs with more empowering ones. When you consciously recite affirmations over and over, it makes it easier to cultivate an “abundant mindset” where you believe anything is possible. Affirmations can also help you learn and grow from hardships and attract more opportunities into your life.
Here are some key points to know about affirmations and how they work:
- Positive, present-tense statements: Affirmations are constructed as positive statements that focus on what you want to achieve, experience, or become. They are typically written in the present tense (such as beginning with “I am” or “I’m feeling”), as if they are already true, which makes them more convincing.
- Personal and specific: Affirmations are most effective when they’re tailored to your specific goals and mission. Customizing affirmations to your own circumstances makes them more relevant and meaningful.
- Emotionally engaging: Engaging your emotions while reciting affirmations can amplify their effectiveness. Try to connect with the feelings associated with the affirmation, such as joy, gratitude, or confidence, to make them more impactful.
- Repetition and consistency: As Louise Hay once said, “That which we constantly affirm becomes true for us.” Consistency is crucial for affirmations to make a lasting impact. Regularly repeating spoken or written affirmations helps reinforce positive beliefs and gradually rewires the mind to believe in the statements it hears.
Physical and Mental Benefits of Affirmations
“Affirmations are effective for replacing negative or anxious thoughts with positivity, which can help you relax and calm your body. Then, you can avoid self-sabotaging behaviors that disrupt your chance of success and happiness.”Jacquelyn Johnson, PsyD
Psychologists generally agree that practicing self-affirmations can be beneficial for mental health and well-being because they emphasize people’s positive qualities and build resilience. For example, psychology professor and author Dr. Kristin Neff explains that self-affirmations can be particularly helpful for people who struggle with low self-esteem or negative self-talk. In these cases, affirmations are a form of self-compassion that can help shift one’s self-perception in a more positive direction. “By acknowledging your self-critical voice and reframing its observations in a more friendly way, you will eventually form the blueprint for changing how you relate to yourself long-term,” says Neff.
Here are some potential benefits of incorporating affirmations into your self-care routine:
- Improved self-esteem
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness
- Increased motivation and productivity
- Help with problem-solving and decision-making
- Improved physical health due to greater adherence to healthy habits and less stress
- Help with academic and career performance
- Increased positive emotions, including gratitude and joy
- Greater capability to forgive and let go of anger
How to Create Effective Daily Affirmations
Personalizing your affirmations enhances their impact. Affirmations should also be realistic and convincing since research suggests they may not be very impactful if you don’t believe they’re true.
When choosing or creating affirmations, keep these tips in mind:
- Start by clearly defining your goals: State or write down what you want to achieve or improve in your life, making sure it’s specific and meaningful. It could be related to personal growth, relationships, career, wealth, health, or any other area. Rather than using vague statements, provide clear details about the outcomes you desire. Examples could be: “I will land a new job that aligns with my passions” or “I will find a lifelong mentor.”
- Pinpoint which negative beliefs you want to overcome: Identifying limiting beliefs or areas of self-doubt will help you create affirmations that counteract those thoughts.
- Be positive and empowering: Frame your affirmations in a positive and empowering manner. Use affirmations that focus on what you want to manifest rather than what you want to avoid. For example, instead of saying “I am not afraid of failure,” say “I embrace the opportunities that come my way.”
- Use present tense language: Phrase your affirmations in the present tense as if you have already achieved your desired outcome. This reinforces a sense of confidence and belief in yourself. For example, say “I am confident and capable” instead of “I will be confident and capable when [X] happens.”
- Add in emotional language: Infuse your affirmations with emotions that resonate with you. Emotions add depth and connect your affirmations to your feelings and desires. For instance, say “I am grateful for the abundance in my life” or “I radiate love and compassion.”
Here’s how to utilize affirmations for the best results:
- Believe in your affirmations: To benefit from affirmations, it’s important to approach them with belief and intention. Trust in the process and genuinely embrace the statements you tell yourself. Believe that they are already true and will manifest in your life, which will cultivate a mindset of possibility.
- Repeat affirmations consistently: Repeat your affirmations daily, ideally multiple times throughout the day. Repetition helps rewire your subconscious mind and reinforce positive beliefs. Find a routine that works for you, such as saying them in the morning, during meditation, or before bedtime.
- Use visualization to engage your senses: Make your affirmations even more vivid and powerful by tying them to sensations. You can add your affirmations to a vision board, feel the emotions associated with them in your body while you repeat them, and imagine yourself already living the reality you desire. This multisensory approach increases their effectiveness. Try imagining yourself already embodying the affirmation and acting as if you live in the reality you’re aiming for.
- Take inspired action: While affirmations are powerful, they work best when combined with goal-setting practices and inspired action. Take steps toward achieving your dreams by writing down the steps you can take to put them into action.
30+ Examples of Different Types of Affirmations
“An affirmation is a foundational means by which you create your reality, structure your worldview, and confirm your beliefs.”Adam Brady
Below are examples of affirmations across different areas of life. Feel free to customize these affirmations to make them more relevant to your specific aspirations:
- All I need is within me right now.
- I am learning and getting better every day.
- I am the creator of my reality, and I have the power to manifest my dreams into existence.
- I radiate positivity and attract great people and experiences into my life.
- I am at peace with who I am, and I love and accept myself unconditionally.
- I embrace new opportunities with courage.
- I am open to receiving great things.
Positive Affirmations for Hard Times:
- I am resilient and capable of overcoming any challenges.
- I am confident in my abilities to continuously grow, adapt, and improve.
- I forgive myself and others, releasing any resentment or negativity from my heart.
- I am in control of my thoughts and emotions, and I choose to focus on the positive.
- I use obstacles to motivate me to learn and grow.
- I remain open to healing.
- I am grateful for the simple pleasures in life and find joy in every moment.
- I’m grateful for the abundance that flows into my life.
- I am worthy of the happiness around me, and I choose to create a joyful and fulfilling life.
- I trust in the process of life and believe that everything happens for my highest good.
- I am healthy, strong, and take care of my body and mind.
- I’m always learning new ways to nourish and move my body.
- I allow myself to rest to feel energized and empowered.
- I feel strong and capable.
- I am feeling calmer and more mindful every day.
Wealth and Career Affirmations:
- I am surrounded by opportunities for learning and personal growth.
- My work is a source of inspiration and positively impacts the lives of others.
- I have everything I need to succeed in my role.
- I am worthy of success because I have the skills and knowledge to achieve my goals.
- I attract financial abundance effortlessly, and money flows into my life abundantly.
- I deserve the success and credit I’m receiving for my hard work.
- I am surrounded by loving and supportive relationships that uplift me.
- I am confident in expressing my true self and embracing my uniqueness.
- I am deserving of love and happiness.
- I have so much value to add to other people’s lives.
- I have a positive impact on the people I come into contact with.
- I have abundance in all areas of my life which makes me a great partner/friend/parent.
Utilizing Affirmations to Boost Mental Health
Affirmations can be a powerful tool for increasing self-esteem and a positive, growth-oriented mindset. They’re especially effective when combined with goal–setting, consistent action, and accountability, which all play a role in personal development. If you’re new to using affirmations, start by choosing just one to three statements that you repeat several times per day, such as when you first wake up and before going to sleep.
Here are other tips for using affirmations creatively in your daily routine:
- Display them: Place your favorite 1–2 affirmations on your refrigerator, desk, mirror, or somewhere else where you look often. You can also design or purchase posters, prints, or wall art that feature affirmations and hang them in a visible location, such as your bedroom or office.
- Write them down often: Write down your affirmations on a piece of paper, sticky notes, or in a journal. You can also decorate them using paint and stickers to make them visually appealing.
- Keep a digital log: Create digital affirmations using graphics or text-editing software. You can design them as images or wallpapers for your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Then, set them as your screensaver, lock screen, or wallpaper. Several mobile apps and widgets are also specifically designed for affirmations. These apps display affirmations on your phone or computer screen at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Send affirmation cards: Create small cards with individual affirmations written on them. You can carry these cards in your wallet, pocket, or purse to keep close or gift to others.
- Use them as mantras: Think of your affirmations as mantras that you repeat to yourself while taking a walk, exercising, doing yoga, or meditating. You can also incorporate affirmations into prayer, such as by assuring yourself that you’re being guided and looked after.
Interested in learning more about goal-setting? Check out this article:
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- Falk, E. B., O’Donnell, M. B., Cascio, C. N., Tinney, F., Kang, Y., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., An, L., Resnicow, K., & Strecher, V. J. (2015). Self-affirmation alters the brain’s response to health messages and subsequent behavior change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(7), 1977–1982. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1500247112
- Tony Robbins. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TonyRobbins/photos/a.444057769059/10159054349929060/?type=3
- 34 Michelle Obama Quotes That Will Inspire You to Live Your Best Life. Oprah Daily. https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/relationships-love/g25438427/michelle-obama-quotes/?slide=4
- Gu, R., Yang, J., Yang, Z. et al. Self-affirmation enhances the processing of uncertainty: An event-related potential study. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 19, 327–337 (2019). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-018-00673-0
- Daily Affirmations. Louise Hay. https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/
- 51+ Louise Hay Quotes to Bring Beaming Light to Your Life. Gratitude Blog. https://blog.gratefulness.me/louise-hay-quotes/