An affirmation is a straightforward statement, which when frequently repeated, profoundly affects both your conscious thinking processes and, more importantly, the subconscious. We sometimes make these statements intentionally, or more often than not, without thinking about them. The key to affirmations lies in the repetition. After all, anything you repeat is going to be memorized over time, even subconsciously. Affirmations can be powerful and profoundly affect you by wiring your brain to accept what’s repeated as truth.
It’s important to realize that an affirmation can be either positive or negative.
They have the power to do great good or a great deal of damage, depending on how you use them. Either way, they do some serious work to either mess you up entirely or change your life in positive and healthy ways.
In today’s lesson, we’ll be starting off by exploring how affirmations can affect you. Then, we’ll be checking out how affirmations can help you. Let’s get right into what affirmations influence.
Affirmations are at the root of everything we do. If we tell ourselves we’re fat, we might go on a diet. If we tell ourselves we’re a failure, we might quit trying too early when confronted with a challenge. In extreme cases, seriously negative affirmations might result in self-harm or suicide. In contrast, the best affirmations take us to new heights of success and achievement.
Are you a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full kind of person? Affirmations are what guide you to either be positive or negative in your outlook. For example, if you’re always putting yourself down, you’re likely only to notice how things go wrong in your life.
Affirmations also impact the small actions we carry out throughout the day. Creating a habit takes intentional action repeated over time. Our affirmations, spoken or thought repeatedly, then builds habits whether we want them to or not. In the best-case scenario, we leverage-positive affirmations to create healthy and good habits. But untended, negative affirmations can help you build up some pretty bad habits over time.
We tend to surround ourselves with things that reflect our subconscious mind. If we’re full of negativity, we might be more likely to seek out poor company or go places and do things that are not to our benefit. In contrast, positive affirmations help us to seek out the company of mentors and the kinds of friends that build us up and to seek an environment filled with positivity, light, and learning.
All of this combined, means a few words have a lot more impact than you might think, especially if you speak those words carelessly. This is also why it’s incredibly important to engage in positive affirmations, wrought with intentionality, at every opportunity.
With this in mind, for the remainder of this course, when we talk about ‘affirmations,’ we’re going to assume that the statements made are positive with the intent to create healthy and intentional change. Negative affirmations are things to be avoided, having no place in a world where you’re working to better yourself, not bring yourself down. As the name implies, affirmations should be “affirming,” meaning “giving support or encouragement.”
How do Affirmations Help Us?
The good news is, affirmations that are well-directed can do us a lot of good in every aspect of our lives. In general, they have several benefits:
Nothing spurs action better than the thought you’re going to succeed at what you’re going to do. After all, if the outcome is assured, why wouldn’t you get moving to make it happen?
Affirmations direct our thoughts in a particular direction. When combined with a goal, affirmations are what make things happen. By repeating the goal frequently in your mind through affirmations, you never lose sight of where you’re going and why you’re going there.
Affirmations can create positive habits leading to good health, a more organized life, and an approach to work that gets things done.
One of the fascinating aspects of affirmations is how they work even when you think they’re not. For example, after repeating to yourself how much you love your body and how amazing it is when it’s working well, you’re going to find yourself not feeling quite so drawn toward those bad habits which might impact your health negatively. It becomes easier to turn down dessert or take the stairs as opposed to the elevator. You might not realize why you’re making either choice until you start examining your thoughts. Then you will notice that the affirmations had worked so deeply into your subconscious that you’re making healthier choices.
The funny thing about affirmations is that they start to affect your outlook.
When you’re constantly feeding yourself a stream of positivity, you’re going to find you’re more positive in approaching life. This alone is a benefit, but it leads to another one you might not think about otherwise. As you become more positive, the people around you can’t help but notice.
They’re going to be drawn to your sphere of influence, wanting to be near you solely because you do have such an upbeat outlook on things. A positive outlook leads to friendship, new relationships, and even could put you in line for a mentor.
Your positive outlook is going to push you toward new opportunities in all walks of life. When you feel good about who you are, and about how you’re growing and changing for the better, you naturally seek out more educational opportunities and are positioned better for whatever transformation awaits. Here’s where you renovate your interior self, and even your exterior gets a facelift. After all, when you’re happier and more confident, this positive outlook affects how you stand, how you walk, and how you conduct yourself physically. Positivity shows through in every aspect of your life and health.
Speaking of your physical self, did you know that affirmations have some pretty interesting effects inside your body? Studies using MRI technology found how repeating affirmations acts in much the way praise does in your body. Anytime someone compliments you on a job well done, you experience a surge of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the reason which is what makes you feel so pleased when you receive compliments. Now imagine the same effect coming from an affirmation. But the benefit doesn’t stop there. Using affirmations regularly starts cueing your brain to notice the good things in life. This leads to emotional regulation, reduction of stress and anxiety and can even affect the health of your heart and other systems in the body negatively impacted by stress. Whew, that’s a lot!
It’s essential to make your affirmations intentional. If positive affirmations can do all this good, imagine what negative ones do. With this in mind, we need to put our affirmations to work for us, to help keep things under control.
Now, let’s take some time to further explore what affirmations could do for you.
Please proceed to Exercise 1
Day 1 Exercise: What can an Affirmation do?
What difference can words make? A lot, especially if those words are used as positive affirmations.
If you haven’t used affirmations or used them unsuccessfully in the past, you might be wondering how some positive sentences repeated aloud can make any difference. To most, affirmations sound like nothing more than wishful thinking and good intentions. But can they really work?
The answer here is yes. Numerous studies done by scholarly journals, schools of psychology, and other respected members of the scientific community have proved that affirmations work. They also encourage substantial and positive change in the lives of people who practice them regularly.
But how could affirmations affect you, specifically? That’s what we’re going to be finding out in today’s exercises.
Step 1: Affirmations can really affect your behavior, as outlined in Lesson 1. Building off of the examples provided, list three more examples of how affirmations can affect behavior below. Try to think of examples from your own life.
- Affirmation 1:
Resulting Behavior 1:
- Affirmation 2:
Resulting Behavior 2:
- Affirmation 3:
Resulting Behavior 3:
Step 2: Using your past experiences, reflect on why those who are experiencing negative affirmations may seek out things or people who bring them down further.
Brainstorm Your Ideas Here:
Step 3: Considering all of the benefits to positive affirmations listed in Lesson 1, which benefits would do the most for you? What do you want to get out of using positive affirmations? What are your top three choices?
- Benefit 1:
- Benefit 2:
- Benefit 3:
Download the Word Document here