Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash
by Dr Reetu Verma
One of my daily practices is Affirmations, “the action or process of affirming something”.
What are positive affirmations?
Affirmations are used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as a way to help turn negative, unhelpful thoughts into more positive, self serving ones to help us live more fulfilling lives. To me, affirmations serve to remind ourselves of our original nature of happiness, truth, love, peace, and joy. This goes beyond the mental level and is the key to healing and transformation.
How do they work?
The practice and popularity of positive affirmations are based on widely accepted and well-established psychological theory.
In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article on research on human thought patterns. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
Keep in mind that affirmations and complaining/venting are the same things! When you are complaining/venting, you are inviting what you don’t want, instead of inviting goodness and blessings.
What we feed our brain becomes part of our internal dialogue and what we believe to be true. We continually feed our minds knowingly or unknowingly with affirmations about who we are, our capabilities, and the meaning we attribute to our life.
Just like the ancient Indian Wolf Story, depending on what you feed your mind, you can be lifted to your full potential or encourage self-limiting and self-sabotaging behaviour.
Regular Affirmations create a neural pathway that strengthens upon regular repetition. The more often you repeat a statement, that is wrapped in emotion, the more familiar and acceptable it becomes for your mind to move thoughts in that direction.
I did not know all this when I started writing in a notepad some ten years ago. However, I can tell you that it has definitely been one of the practices which helped my mental state and affected my energy on a profound level after my illness. I call my practice Self-Affirmations.
My daily affirmations always start with the two letters, ‘I AM’. Focusing on these two words, you act as if you already are that which you wish to be. Your energy goes where you focus. Affirming who you really are, you connect with a greater power than yourself, within you, fuelling your mind, being in alignment with your soul, and shifting your energy. And it is the change in energy that is required to make a shift in your life, your healing, health & happiness.
My daily affirmations are:
- I am well
- I am healthy
- I am happy
- I am good
Create your own affirmations
Think about the areas that you may like to improve your life. Write them down. Choose 5 of the most important ones. Turn them into affirmations.
- be clear and direct
- be personal
- be written and spoken in the present tense as if already true
- use positive language, eg) not “I don’t want to have an accident” but rather, “I am safe”
- be emotionally charged. I have read that Emotion stands for Energy in Motion: E-Motion. Energy is vibration, it’s a frequency that can be felt and even scientifically measured. Your emotions ARE energy. When you repeat your affirmations to yourself, imagine your emotion if it were real right now. Simply repeating your affirmations won’t give you power, but feeling your affirmations will!
Write them down and put them in a place you will see every day, eg) bathroom mirror, fridge, bedside table
Practice daily, at a time convenient to you eg)in the morning upon waking, before bed, every time you drink a glass of water. Remember to mindfully verbalise your affirmation by feeling what it would be like if this was true. Feel the gratitude.
“I attract only healthy, loving relationships”
“My body heals quickly and easily.”
“I am worthy of love and joy”
“I am enough”
Positive affirmations require regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. But be patient. They will take a while to start working, just like exercise. You don’t go to gym for a week and think your body will change after that. It takes time, patience, and effort. But the transformation will come and it will be worth it.
Remember, your story is the one you tell yourself.