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Affirmations: What are they? How do they work?

Have you ever noticed how you are thinking and what you are thinking about? Sometimes our inner thoughts are hard not to notice because they are so loud and change the way we feel. However, sometimes we don't notice our thoughts because they are automatic and perhaps habitual.

Take a minute now to focus on your current thoughts from today...What are they like? What is the underlying theme to your thoughts today? Are they kind thoughts about yourself? Are they worrisome? Or are they critical and harsh?

If you have noticed your thoughts are tending to be negative about yourself, situations or other people, you are not alone. This is a common problem that a lot of people experience and is caused by many factors that are not your fault. For example, when our self-worth is low there will be an increase in the inner critic part of our minds.

When you have low self-worth, it doesn't tend to appear overnight and is usually caused by your early life experiences, what you believe about yourself and how you believe others see you. Any negative experiences you have been through in your life can build up and cause you to have negative thoughts about yourself. These thoughts aren't always created by you, they can also be from any harsh experiences from relationships you have formed and experienced throughout your life. These negative thoughts then build up and repeat. Creating your core beliefs about how you really, deep down, feel about yourself. These beliefs then mirror out into the world subconsciously/unconsciously and affect how we treat ourselves, what personal boundaries we have, or don't have, and how we are treated by others.

The effects of negative thoughts on your general well-being can be debilitating and crushing, squashing any attempt in building up for confidence and self-worth. Because what we think creates how we feel, and how we feel creates our behaviour, if you suffer from negative thoughts your feelings will match those thoughts and you may respond to life situations from a 'less than' position.

All is not lost, there is hope. You can choose to retrain your mind to think differently and this is the job of affirmations.

Do they work?

Affirmations work by replacing any negative thoughts with a specific combination of affirmed statements out loud or in your mind to combat unhealthy thinking. This may feel unusual and strange at first but keep going because repetition and persistence is the key and your mental health and overall quality of life will improve. You may notice your mind wants to defend your old negative thinking. This is because it feels oddly comfortable with the old and can be resistance to change. Keep going and push past this phase.


Notice your negative thought

Step 1

Become the observer of your mind. Notice, what is the content and themes of your negative thinking?

Notice the triggers to your thought

Step 2

Can you see what may have triggered

your negative thoughts?

Replace the thought with affirmation

Step 3

Create a positive affirmation that is specific to the negative thought you want to replace. Repeat in your mind or out loud. For example, "I am open and receptive to love." "I am healing." "I am creating new boundaries in my life"

Top Tips

Be kind to yourself during this process and concentrate on trying rather than perfection. When you notice your triggers, see if you need any support with healing any hurt from them, having some counselling will help."I am" at the start of affirmations increases potency. Believe your affirmations and concentrate on the feeling in your body.

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