How effective is Positive Affirmations?

How effective is Positive Affirmations?

One of the questions that my clients ask me often is how effective is positive affirmation? My answer to them is that it can impact your life in a very positive way.

I always remind my clients of how I first got introduced to positive affirmations. Like some of us, we first got introduced to affirmations through classic Al Franken “Saturday Night Live” Character Stuart Smalley (Remember? “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”). Self-affirmations are sayings, like Smalley’s, that are repeated to oneself in order to improve confidence and self-image.  However, back then I had no idea how powerful affirmations can be in one’s life.

Positive affirmations have played a big role in my life; I can honestly say I incorporate them into my life every day. After years of practice, it has become my go tool to brighten my day. No matter what kind of day I’m having I always look to them as my inspiration and reminder of the possibilities at hand. Never mind what kind of effect it has had on me, I thought it would be necessary to look at the science behind why affirmations are effective.

Today’s research shows that using positive affirmations can decrease stress and improve performance on challenging tasks. And they may even help you make healthier decisions.

When you’re stressed out, your problem-solving skills weaken, but studies show that self-affirmation practices can fight this effect. “Under stress, our brain defaults to its most common setting,” Caroline Miller, MAPP, the author of “Creating Your Best Life,” explains “But if we practice reinforcing something positive like the affirmation ‘You can do this’ in stressful situations, we can learn to default to a place of positive self-regard.”

In fact, Miller notes, athletes who experience stress have found that repeating an encouraging phrase to themselves, like, “This is going well,” or “Persistence breaks resistance,” can keep them going physically, thus building their faith in their ability to persevere.

Dr. Joseph Dispenza, someone whose work I admire explains ‘Physics, the Brain and Your Reality’ says: ‘The thinking brain, the neo cortex, is the seed of our free will and allows us to have a choice and opinion. The one thing I noticed about people who had changes in health had changed their thinking. If they changed their thinking was the effect in the brain sending a new signal to their body? The answer is yes… Our thoughts have a direct connection to our direct level of health. Thoughts make a chemical. If you have happy thoughts then you’re producing chemicals that make you feel happy. If you have negative thoughts, angry thoughts or insecure thoughts, those thoughts make chemicals to make you feel how you’re thinking… There is sound evidence that our thoughts do matter. We always replace those old patterns with a greater ideal of ourselves. If rehearsed mentally, we will grow new circuits in the brain, the platform in which we stand on to execute a new level of self.’

What I have shared with you is just a small indication of how effective affirmations can be in your daily life. Before I end on a positive note here are six ways that you can add positive affirmations to your everyday life. Remember you are a powerful and amazing human being.

  1. Print out your affirmations and put them in a frame beside your bed, or keep them in a special journal.
  2. Choose one affirmation to repeat as you meditate or read a couple of them before you begin.
  3. Post your affirmations where you’ll see them regularly, whether it’s in your bathroom or beside your desk, or even on the inside of your cupboard where you keep your coffee so that you see them each morning!
  4. Add your affirmations to the top of your to-do list so that you see them at the start of each day. (This could also encourage you to take actions that might support your affirmations.)
  5. Program your affirmations into your phone so that they come up as reminders throughout the day.
  6. If you have an evening gratitude practice, you could write your affirmations on the inside cover of your gratitude journal and revisit them before you begin your practice.