If you are new to using affirmations and positive thinking to get what you want…I have good news! This guide will help you get started on the road to better thoughts.
Thoughts that will help you reach your dreams faster than you could have dreamed…
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and purging unhelpful thinking is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
What Are Affirmations?
Dictionary.com defines affirmations as: “the assertion that something exists or is true”
Positive Affirmations are statements that we make affirming what we desire in our life.
They are essentially verbal goals of something positive that we seek to attain in our life.
The good news is that, with a little practice, affirmations can change your life for the better and help you to get what you really want.
The bad news? Most people are already using affirmations, just not in a helpful way.
I started using affirmations after I discovered Louise Hay and her book on tape “You can heal your life“.
I was so messed up, mentally and emotionally, and had to start somewhere. Any decent research into self-help tends to lead, in one way or another, to Hay House publishing and the amazing work of Louise Hay.
If you want to do some mental health cleanup in your life, I suggest Louise’s book Mirror Work: 21 Days To Heal Your life, which is about repeating affirmations while looking in a mirror.
It is very powerful and helps to break mental blocks like low self-esteem and feelings of being powerless.
If you do not have your dream life, it is very likely that you are affirming the wrong things.
You can fix this with repetition of more positive statements, and perhaps some sticky notes.
And before you know it, things will be looking up in the best possible ways.
Why Do We Need To Use Affirmations?
Most of us have been programmed from childhood to have limited thinking. From the first time you ask for something and are told no, you start down the path to limited thinking.
I mean, you only have to be told “no” so many times before you stop asking…right?
And when you stop asking, you stop believing that certain things are possible for you.
You can end up stuck in a bad job, a depressing relationship, or getting sucked into some get-rich scheme…because you believe that it is the best you can do.
This is nobody’s fault…the majority of people these days have limited thinking. As well, people give vague information on how to fix it.
At the same time, because we have learned to stop asking for what we really want, we have inadvertently started asking for what we don’t want.
We ask for what we don’t want when we affirm that something we want is not available to us.
We do this by chronically saying things like:
- There are no good people to date
- I didn’t really want that promotion anyway
- We can’t have nice things
- I’ll never get that (car/home/job etc) that I want. It’s just not in the cards.
Statements like that are not the truth. They are just words.
But saying them over and over again sends your brain the message that this is what you want. And perpetually saying these statements cements them as reality for our life.
As well, your brain, being the good little helper that it is, does whatever it can to make your thoughts into your reality.
The brain wants you to be happy.
So if you keep repeating the same thoughts over and over again, your brain will work to find opportunities that lead to that result. To help you be happy.
Your brain does not judge whether the thoughts are good or bad, only that this is what you really want. #loyal
This is the main reason that negativity in general is so toxic.
Perpetually unhappy people infect everyone around them.
Whether you want to believe their negativity or not, you do hear it and so does your brain. And if you sort of believe the negative statements, it confirms to your brain that this path is the correct one. Sigh.
So it is up to us to change our programming.
This is the secret to success in any area of life: tell yourself what you want to be true and watch for opportunities to make your thoughts reality.
And here is something that I read a few years ago that really bothered me.
Your thoughts from the past have shaped your current reality.
That just blew my mind when I first read those words in print…but I instantly understood the truth of them. My life was the way it was because of my negative thoughts! Ugh.
Negative thinking kept me stuck for years!
Plus, all my friends, family and co-workers had the same kind of limited, negative thinking…so no help there.
In all the years that I was trying to change my life, people kept trying to keep me down with them by telling me I was crazy for wanting what I wanted. Sigh.
It’s like a giant party full of people oppressing each other.
Chronic negative thinking makes change harder and scarier
But please do not take that as a reason to not go after what you want.
You will just want to take baby steps and warm up to change first. Once you start noticing the more positive things that are happening in your life, it will be easier to power through the fear.
It is like building a snow ball and pushing it down the hill…it is slow at first, but as it picks up speed it moves faster.
The benefit of pushing through fear to face it and squash it is that the rewards are that much sweeter!
In fact, you will enjoy your success for far longer than if someone just handed it to you.
So How Do Positive Affirmations Fix Unhelpful Thinking?
Affirmations help you reprogram your brain to be more helpful in assisting you to get your dream life stuff.
Basically, you are telling and showing your brain what you really want.
As your brain gets reprogrammed, you will start to see things lining up for you.
It may be small things at first, like getting a coupon for a free oil change or 5 dollars off movie tickets.
If you see these gifts for what they are, which is the universe trying to help you, bigger and better things will start coming to you.
You will then notice that things are shifting to give you an advantage in some way.
- Maybe you call around to get quotes for car repair and are offered a substantial discount.
- Or that item that is perpetually in your Amazon cart is suddenly on sale.
- It could be that you find information that helps you make a solid decision for change.
These random events are proof that your mindset is shifting in a positive direction.
It is imperative that you actively notice the small good things, as this will train you to be looking for them.
And it will be easier for you to see the bigger things for what they are…the universe giving you what you want.
As well, writing out affirmations and then watching for related things to happen helps you learn how to write more effective affirmations for bigger and better things.
Affirmations put you into a positive mindset.
There are affirmations used for many different things, from improving your body image to helping to improve your confidence.
Here are some examples of what affirmations might look like:
- Anything I put my mind to I can achieve.
- My body is strong and healthy.
- Working hard helps me achieve my goals.
They are short phrases or statements, typically just long enough to get the point across, but short enough to where you can memorize them.
*Note* I have 25 Affirmations for A New Start. Just click the link to download them instantly. Right click the link and choose “open link in New Tab” if you want to keep this page open.
You want your affirmations to be an end-goal, so you are affirming what you want to have or be.
Not the steps that you need to get there, but what you want for the final result. “I weigh 125 pounds” versus “I want to lose weight” (which is non-specific).
Affirmations are used in a variety of ways, but most often people repeat them multiple times to start shifting their mindset from negative to positive.
Whenever you catch yourself saying or thinking an unhelpful thought, you can train yourself to switch it to a positive thought with affirmations.
Why Are Affirmations Effective?
Repetition helped you to learn the alphabet as a child. I am sure that you have no doubt that you learned the alphabet correctly and that what you learned is true.
When you use the same affirmation every day for 30 days, it stops sounding strange and instead becomes a fact.
If someone calls you an idiot daily you will start to believe it, even if you know that it is not true. That lie becomes truth.
You can destroy that lie by telling yourself, with affirmations, that you are smart and intelligent.
Even if saying it feels like a lie at first, you will start to believe it over time.
You can reprogram your thinking this way.
Not every affirmation requires 30 days to help you, but some stubborn mindsets do need multiple affirmations to break.
There are many benefits people get by using and repeating affirmations on a regular basis, though your own benefits might be different.
Some people like to use affirmations to help with a very specific problem they are experiencing, like having trouble letting go of a past mistake or needing to build courage for an upcoming presentation.
Others like to use the same ones each day, for say 30 days, because they put them in the perfect mindset to keep being happy and feel loved.
Benefits of affirmations
Here is a short list of the ways you can benefit by using affirmations regularly, though keep in mind you may see other advantages in your own life.
- Increased confidence
- More self-love and self-compassion
- Courage and get out of your comfort zone
- Help for improving your positive mindset
- Develop a success and abundance mindset
- Let go and forgive
- Feel more present and mindful in your life
- Reduce stress and anxiety
Okay, but how do affirmations actually work?
What you tell yourself, even just in your mind, you start to believe. This often happens without you ever realizing it.
If you constantly berate yourself and tell yourself that you are a failure or unattractive or unworthy of love, that is exactly what your mind is going to believe.
Your brain will then start taking actions to make this a reality.
But if you think positively, tell yourself over and over again how successful, beautiful, smart, and abundant you are, your mindset and actions change.
Your subconscious can’t always tell the difference between a dream and reality. So, the more you repeat affirmations to yourself, the more you actually start to believe them.
When this happens, a ripple effect of positive thoughts and actions begin to occur in your life.
Choose affirmations that are right for your life
One of the most important aspects to using affirmations is knowing which ones YOU need. The affirmations your best friend or co-worker use probably won’t be the ones that are most effective for you.
Affirmations are highly personal and individual.
There are two categories of affirmations you will find:
- Standard, generic, and broad affirmations.
- Specific affirmations based on individual needs.
These are both amazing types of affirmations, they just benefit you in different ways and are needed at different times.
Here are some examples:
These are the ones you are probably most familiar with and have seen many times.
Affirmations that are broad, fit a larger group of people, and can apply to many different situations at one time.
These might include:
- People love me.
- I am beautiful.
- My opinion of me is the only one that matters.
- Success is my birthright.
- (thanks to Stuart Smalley/Al Franken from SNL) “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me!”
You can use any of these standard affirmations and then apply them to a situation you are dealing with, just by tweaking a few words.
The other group of affirmations are more specific ones. They are similar, though they often fit within a more narrow category.
Think of them as an individual or custom affirmation meant to invoke a very specific response. They are trying to help you with something you are struggling with and change your mindset about that one thing in your life.
Examples of these include:
- I will forgive (person’s name) and move past this.
- My goal to be mindful of my spending is important and I will achieve it.
- Today, my focus is on being happy.
- Eating healthy and working out every day are enjoyable for me.
How Can You Use Affirmations In Your Life?
Okay, you understand what affirmations are, how they work, and which ones to use. Now what? Here is the fun part – using them!
The way you use your affirmations is completely up to you, but here are some ideas to help get you started:
Write them in your journal
A very popular way to use affirmations is to write them down in your journal.
There is something about writing and seeing the words in print that seems to help them connect to your brain more easily.
You might use a different affirmation each day that you write down, or you have the same one you write a certain number of times each day.
I recommend choosing 5 affirmations per week and writing them down in a journal first thing.
I also suggest that you say them out loud as you are writing them. This gives you a positive start to your day.
Put them on your mirror or fridge
If you have some affirmations that you want to be reminded of often, write them on sticky notes and place them somewhere you will see them often.
This might be on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, or on your computer monitor. Every time you see the affirmation, say it to yourself or out loud to affirm it.
Say them to yourself silently throughout the day
Use the shorter, simpler affirmations to repeat as many times as you can throughout the day, especially for specific ones that you are using for challenges or upcoming goals.
The more you say them, the more you start to believe them.
I repeat affirmations, such as “I will get an awesome parking spot!” or “I will get all green lights” while driving to work. It was fun to see how often that worked for me, so try it for yourself.
Keep important affirmations in your wallet
Another great way to have them accessible to you throughout the day is to write down the ones that are most effective, and keep them in your wallet or purse.
Or put them in an alarm app on your mobile phone. Set the alarm to go off when you might need encouragement, like right before you go into a big meeting.
Add them to your morning or nighttime routine
Start making a routine out of using and writing down affirmations, so you remind yourself to use them often.
A good habit to get into is to repeat an affirmation right before you go to sleep. Your brain hears the affirmation and goes to work on making it real for you…while you sleep! Awesome right?
Remember using affirmations once or twice isn’t going to be effective. You really need to create a habit out of this.
Writing Your Own Affirmations
When you get into the practice of using affirmations, you can go even deeper into this mindset shift by writing out some of your own.
This is completely optional, so don’t worry if it doesn’t sound like something you are interested in.
In this case, think about what the bottom line is for the situation.
If your first thought is:
“Why won’t my kids help around the house?” create affirmations something like:
“I love how my children are so helpful at home!” (if this is indeed what you really want from them).
You cannot change people, but you can change how you think about them. Your positive thoughts can shift a situation from frustration to joy. It really is that simple.
If you do want to write your own, here is more help:
Keep them positive.
The single most important thing about an affirmation is that it is positive. It needs to be positive, optimistic, and create good energy.
Positive affirmation: I am doing the best that I can.
Not positive: I should be doing better.
You don’t talk about something you are stressed out about, but instead focus on how you are stress-free.
Affirmations must be in the present tense
The affirmations that work the best are always current for today.
If you say something like “I want to be happy”, the word ‘want’ is future tense. Your brain will get right to work making sure that you always ‘want’ to be happy.
But your brain will not work on helping you be happy today, because that is not what you are asking for.
By choosing words in the present tense, your brain will do what it can to confirm that what you are saying is reality.
So saying “I am happy” will then ensure that your brain focuses on you being happy today.
Many affirmations use “I am” language, but as long as the intent is to affirm something for today, you can use whatever words work. An example is: “my life is full of joy”.
*Note: This is a good time to become aware of what you say when you use words like “I am…” in general conversation. Pay attention to what you are affirming!
Make them short.
For an affirmation to be effective and to repeat it to yourself often, it needs to be short so that you can memorize it.
This also makes it easier to write it out multiple times if this is part of your routine. I had 3 affirmations that I would repeat over and over again as I was driving to work:
- This will be an awesome day
- Everyone at work will be in a great mood
- My favorite parking stall is waiting for me (and I got it so many times!)
Think of what you need the affirmations for.
The easiest way to get started writing your own affirmations is to think of WHY you want to write them.
- Is it for creating new goals?
- Are you struggling keeping up with your healthy routine?
- Do you want to find new direction in your life?
- Have you been dealing with low self-esteem?
This should guide you in the right direction.
Again, think of the bottom line: “I am so happy now that I have a toned, fit body!” rather than something like “I want to lose weight” (How much? By when? How do you know when you have lost enough?).
Affirmations can be very powerful if you are consistent and truly believe what you are saying.
You can also create a Vision Board to help your brain get into a positive mindset. Use photos of things that you desire in your life to help you write effective affirmations.
Related Post: How To Make A Vision Board
Help for A Stubborn Brain
There are two important points that I want to address before I finish this post.
If you are trying to use an affirmation to change something but are having a hard time believing in the affirmation:
Instead of affirming the end result right now, affirm that you are willing to change that part of you.
First, say the affirmation, and gauge on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being you cannot believe it at all and 10 being you believe it fully – how much you believe it. Then try this:
For example, if you have a hard time believing that you could be wealthy, because you have a lot of money blocks, shift the affirmation to “I am willing to be wealthy” or “I am willing to change my thinking about wealth”.
I have found that my brain accepts “being willing” quicker in some cases.
This can be true with starting an exercise program, losing a lot of weight, thinking about being wealthy, and fixing chronic pain.
If you keep affirming that you are willing to change something, you will notice one day that something in your thinking has shifted. Check the original affirmation “I am wealthy” and see if the number has changed.
This is a good indicator that your thinking is moving towards the positive.
If you are using affirmations to change behavior but are not having success, such as with changing bad habits:
It is important for you to boss your brain around in this area.
You may have inadvertently trained your brain that you need to eat …insert your trigger food here…to be happy in some stressful situations.
Many people do this without realizing that they are programming their brain.
If you had a bad breakup and then binged on ice cream for months, your brain has made the connection that eating ice cream makes you feel better or happy.
You may have even said when you were buying the ice cream “I deserve this. Screw the diet, I want ice cream”.
To break this habit, tell your brain that this no longer applies. An example is, when you notice a craving for an unhelpful food, tell your brain “I eat healthy foods to be happy”.
For many food cravings that I used to have, it only took me 3 or 4 times to fix that craving and it did not come back.
FYI, when I switched to Ketovore last year, my brain brought up food cravings that I have not had in many years…lot’s of weird stuff like candy from when I was a kid.
The other fix that I have is the “5 second rule” from Mel Robbins. I use this 5 second rule and then follow up with telling my brain what is what.
It is truly fascinating that with a few quick tweaks we can ditch bad habits and reprogram ourselves for success.
Check out this quick video:
Affirmations have been a turning point in my life. I am thankful that many people that I admire use affirmations as well.
Well-meaning people in our lives used negative affirmations to control our behavior and keep us in line. It is not a system that I recommend.
Using positive affirmations works better, in my opinion.
I think that people who encourage children to think positively and to use affirmations are going to have well-adjusted children who reach for the stars…and get there!
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
Please share this post with anyone who can benefit from it. Sharing is caring!
And follow me on Pinterest!
Until next time, here’s to our health!