A Simple Guide To... Affirmations
Do you ever think "I'm not good enough," "I'm not capable," "I don't deserve love", I don't deserve the things I want?" If you do, you need affirmations in your life. Affirmations are quick, positive sayings that you can either say to yourself, in front of the mirror, write them, read them or say out loud. There are many benefits to using affirmations and I'll be honest about the ones that I have seen in myself since I started this daily, quick practice.
My First Thoughts
My first thought about affirmations was a negative thought. I thought they were too cheesy, they made me uncomfortable and they were a waste of literally two minutes. I didn't take affirmations seriously at all while I was writing them down in my journal. I continued to write them anyway because it was part of my daily journal routine and I really enjoy that part of my morning. But even though I wasn't taking them seriously, I was still seeing a slight benefit. During stressful situations or when I was feeling incompetent, I found those morning affirmations sneaking up to the front of my brain. It was odd. I didn't take it seriously enough for this to happen. I had been writing affirmations since January. It took me 5 months to decide that I was going to try more with affirmations.
I continued writing my affirmations in the morning but I also included mirror writing. Every other day I would write a positive affirmation on my bathroom mirror so I would see it each time I looked in the mirror. I would say this affirmation in my mirror every time. I found I didn't really enjoy mirror writing so I stopped doing it and tried the lightbox. I have the lightbox in the bedroom with an affirmation and I see it every morning when I wake up. Right now it says "You are valuable." This one has been up for a while now because it has been my favorite and I have found myself saying it when I am feeling down. I was feeling pretty positive about myself and really good vibes were starting to settle in my brain. Writing my affirmations and the lightbox started to show its benefits. My thoughts were transformed from negative to positive. The times I felt down or stressed out, my affirmations would kick in quickly to help alleviate the negative. My mind wasn't in such a constant battle anymore. Let me tell you, the battles in your mind are exhausting. I was overwhelmed with all the negative thoughts and want to get rid of them but not knowing how. These battles have started to subside the more I work on affirmations.
I decided to try one more thing. I wanted affirmations to be present in my work environment. I purchased affirmation cards to take to my work. I place one affirmation card on my desk where it is visible. The first thing I do, before I even turn on my computer, I read my affirmation card. I keep the same card for a week so it sinks in. Then, I switch to another card and do the same thing all over again for the next week. This was a great way to start my workday and has helped me stay positive throughout my day. The cards I have used are pictured here in my blog if you want to give them a try. They are quick, easy, empowering, positive and some are even funny. They inspire me and have been a good addition to my affirmation practices.
Reduce Negative Thoughts
After doing my own experiment, I decided to look up the scientific research and benefits of affirmations. One benefit is you become more aware of your daily thoughts. If you've never paid attention to your thoughts, I encourage you for one day to be more aware of what you are thinking about yourself, others, your environment, the things around you. Think about how many negatives there were compared to positives. This will give you a good idea of how you should practice affirmations. Do you need more of it in your life or a small amount? Affirmations are small but you will notice your thoughts starting to change. There was a day when I accidentally scheduled a dentist appointment and hair appointment on the same day. I was stressing out. I really dislike being late for anything. My heart was racing, my face was red. Within minutes of my heart starting to race, an affirmation popped into my mind. A fleeting, one-sentence affirmation " I am okay and I am in control." My racing heart slowed down and I smiled. I made it to both of my appointments on time, with time to spare. I realized my affirmation practice had become a habit and it was sinking in everywhere I went. That's the great thing about affirmations... they go, where you go. A daily habit of affirmations WILL reduce your negative thoughts.
Keeps Small Things In Perspective
Affirmations help to remind you that the small successes in your life are just as important as the bigger ones. Most days, you have small accomplishments and don't even realize them because they are not as obvious as the big ones. It's really important to be aware of the small wins because so many people walk around looking for something big when in reality those things do not happen as often. This leads to feeling like a failure which leads to more negative thoughts. You have to look at where you came from to where you are now... your journey. Those are the small successes and they happen every day! Everyone is on a journey. You have to go on the journey to reach those big wins. Affirmations have helped me remember my journey and I am more aware of my small successes which have to lead to a positive mindset. I use a stainless steel straw to drink my coffee with and just the other day I was told "You use a straw to drink coffee with... that's weird." The old me would have been upset and I would have gotten defensive with this person. Here's what happened... all in about 15 seconds. At first, I thought "really" while imagining the eye roll. Then, an affirmation came "I am in control of my emotions." I very calmly told her why I do it and walked away. While walking, I thought about what the old me would have done and what actually happened... a journey. That was a small success for me and I was aware of it because of my affirmation habits. Affirmations KEEP small things in perspective.
Surrounds You With Things You Want In Life
When you surround yourself with positive energy, positive energy will come back to you. When you surround yourself with negative energy, guess what? Negative energy will come back to you. Affirmations help surround your mind with positive thoughts. Those positive thoughts show through your actions every day. When you are talking with friends about something negative, how do you feel? Is your vibe positive or negative? I'm going to guess it's negative and that's the vibe you put out, too. Compare it to how you feel when you have a positive conversation with your friends. Positive attracts positive. I like to surround myself with inspiring people and in order to do that, I have to be positive because negativity does not attract inspiration it attracts gossip. When you choose to add daily affirmations, you dream. When you dream, it leads to actions. The actions lead back to your dreams which become reality. Stay positive with daily affirmations and surround yourself with things that you want in your life!
Affirmations are tailored to you. You can make them specific to what you want in your life. As long as they are positive. Try to steer away from using words such as "can't" or "not" because that turns the affirmation into a negative saying. Here are some examples I've used and below is a photo of my affirmations from this morning. I look at the world around me and smile with joy. I love my partner for who they are and enjoy all their qualities. I want the best for my partner and will support them on their journey. I take bold action in spite of fear and use it as fuel for my success small or big. I am confident and live in the present moment. I am healthy and well on the inside and the outside. I have integrity and I am reliable. I have a strong immune system. (This is a good one if you are a teacher and everyone is getting sick, so the placebo effect kicks in and you "feel" you are getting sick too when you're really not!) I release my stress with every deep breath. I am peaceful.
Your Certified Brain Health Coach,
Ashley, Owner of SustainaBRAIN