Are Affirmations the Missing Key to Your Mental Health?Jun 15, 2022
Affirmations, or positive self-talk, are brief phrases or statements intentionally designed to encourage self-empowerment and a shift in mindset towards strength and personal transformation. To me, affirmations are a form of prayer, and as someone who is more spiritual than religious, I find that affirmations have the power to heal what is broken and shed light on new possibilities. They are a popular and proven strategy for helping individuals achieve their highest potential and purpose.
Whether one identifies as man, woman, or gender non-conforming, researchers estimate that the average human being has about 6,000 thoughts per day—with nearly 80% of those thoughts being negative or self-sabotaging. Unfortunately, these thoughts aren’t just influencing our own health and well-being.
Studies have shown that our thoughts and intentions not only have a physical impact on our body, but also directly influence the people and environment around us. Just take a peek at the famous research revealing that kind speech towards plants has a supportive effect on their health and growth.
IMPACTS OF NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
So what happens if we’re stuck in a negative self-talk loop? When we maintain a negative inner monologue, the effects can be severe:
- Disrupts balance and harmony to our emotional state
- Increases chance of living in fear, anger, resentment, shame, guilt and regret
- Fosters depression, sadness, and general dissatisfaction with life
- Diminishes sense of self-worth, drive, and lack of self-belief
How do we stop this from occurring? First, it's important to acknowledge that some negative self-talk is a normal part of being human. However, we are also capable of retraining our thoughts, including reshaping core beliefs we learned in childhood.
The shift happens when we 1) become aware of the negative self-talk as it’s happening, 2)consciously observe the thought without judgment , and 3) decide intentionally to reframe the thought and move forward in a new direction.
This is where affirmations come in! Reciting personalized statements that reframe your unique negative thought patterns can be an inspiring and effective tool for creating positive change in your life. At first, the new thought may feel unfamiliar or hard to believe, but consistent repetition can deepen the neuro pathways until it becomes a legitimate road for your mind to travel. (Thanks, neuroplasticity! ) You simply have to dare to believe another story of reality is possible.
The best part? Affirmations can be used practically anywhere and anytime. Try adding them into your daily morning routine when you’re finished getting dressed or looking in a bathroom mirror. Try adding them to a sticky note near your desk, and use them when you notice yourself judging your work or effort on a project. The more regularly you use positive affirmations, the greater you can transform your outlook on life.
BENEFITS OF POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Need a little more convincing? Here are a few benefits of integrating positive self-talk into your life:
- Increases motivation to try new things, or pursue existing passions
- Improves self-esteem, confidence, productivity
- Promotes self-acceptance and pride in your identity
- Increases creativity, and sense of belonging or purpose
- Helps achieve goals, and break bad habits
- Builds resilience to stress and challenges
- Immune system and energy levels find balance
It does not matter whether we identify as man or woman, as plant or person, our thoughts matter, and negative self-talk can take a toll on us all just the same. As we each aspire to give our best every day, affirmations can support us in the journey. Additionally, if you identify as LGBQTQIA+, a person of color, disabled, and/or a person who experiences discrimination based on your authentic identity, affirmations can especially strengthen your mental health and combat the negative messaging you receive throughout society daily. TRY USING THESE AFFIRMATIONS IN TIMES OF SELF DOUBT
If you’re ready to give them a shot, here are a few affirmations you can use right away. Feel free to make them as specific and personalized as you want.
- “I am strong and confident.”
- “My body is perfect, I am perfect.”
- “My identity is valid.”
- “I am grateful for _fill in the blank_.”
- “I am doing my best and that is enough today.”
Are there affirmations that you use to stay positive?
We want to hear how you combat negative self-talk and tend to your overall wellbeing.
Matthew Coelho, Certified Mindfulness & Law of Attraction Specialist
About Matthew: Matthew Coelho is an LGBTQIA+ activist, and singer-songwriter based in Tucson, Arizona, who is certified in mindfulness teaching, and is also a certified law of attraction life coach.
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