Practice Daily Affirmation
What is it about?
Many of us regularly get caught up in thoughts like “I just can’t do it”, “I will never be able to get this job done”, “I’m not confident enough”, “I will never find a solution”, “public speaking is just not for me”… these pessimistic thoughts can quickly become self-fulfilling prophecies and create a vicious circle of negativity, badly affecting our mindset, mood, and even our health.
Affirmation can help us reprogram our brains to get rid of gloomy thoughts and create a virtuous circle, driving positive changes in our lives.
Affirmation you said?
As explained by Ronald Alexander Ph.D., an affirmation is “a statement said with confidence about a perceived truth”. Affirmations have “the ability to program your mind into believing the stated concept” they carry, said Alexander, it’s because “the mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and fantasy”.
By repeating positive affirmations, you convince yourself they are true and program your mind for success. Several studies have shown that self-affirmation is not just unrealistic “wishful thinking”. It helps to manage stress and its effects, increases self-esteem and confidence, and improves your chances of successful outcome.
The first step is to define your affirmation statements. Affirmation statements are short sentences carrying a positive thought and usually targeting a belief, a behavior or a task that you’re struggling with. Try to focus on the things that matter the most to you, so that you’re genuinely motivated to make them happen.
There are several rules to follow in order to make them as effective as possible:
- Keep them short so they are easy to memorize and repeat
- Write them in the present tense: because they are true now. Not in two weeks, not tomorrow, but right now!
- Make them attainable: unrealistic affirmations (ex: “I’m the most intelligent person in the world”, “I can do all-nighters every day”) won’t likely have any positive effect.
If you are subject to recurring negative self-talk, come up with positive, credible, and achievable affirmation statements that are the opposite of these thoughts. For instance, “I’m so uncomfortable when meeting new people” will become “I’m comfortable and happy when meeting new people”.
Here are some examples of affirmation statements:
- “I will successfully pass the exam”
- “I can do this job”
- “I’m happy and grateful”
Memorize your affirmations and write them down somewhere you can easily and quickly re-read them: in a note-taking app, a notebook…
Daily affirmation sessions
Now that your statements are defined, the next step is to practice self-affirmation on a daily basis. Identify at least one, ideally three, moments (of a couple minutes) in your day to do an affirmation session, typically during your morning routine and or before going to bed. Then choose the affirmations you want to focus on and memorize them. If you have a journaling routine, write them down in your daily entry.
Start by standing straight, or better yet, do a power-pose. If you can, look at yourself in a mirror. Then speak your affirmations out loud (or in your head if you’re not alone), several times. Focus your mind on the sentences, their meaning, the positive thoughts they carry, put as much conviction in your voice as you can.
You can also practice affirmation when you engage in a negative thought or behavior that you want to overcome.
Just like you have to work out regularly to build your muscles and keep your strength, self-affirmation needs to be practiced routinely to be efficient. Affirmations are like exercises for your mind: these regular positive repetitions will, over time, rewire your brain and make you think and act differently.
Pro-tip: check out the five-minute journal, a journaling routine practiced by Tim Ferriss that includes daily affirmation.
Write down your affirmation statements
Choose the ones you want to work on daily and memorize them
Set at least one self-affirmation session per day (put reminders on your calendar if you need)
Stand straight or do a power-pose
Repeat your affirmations with conviction several times
Build a positive mindset
Get rid of negative thoughts
Move toward your goals