No matter what 2020 looked like or how 2021 started, I’m committed to self improvement. Grabbing onto anything that will make life easier or happier. I might be late to the game, but daily affirmations have been a great way to do this.
With uncertainty and ever-changing outlooks on the virus, my stress has skyrocketed. Showing up at the hospital has been non-negotiable. But I found that repeating affirmations helps me feel a sense of control over the situation.
Today I am sharing all things affirmations, including the exact ones I use. So you can start incorporating them into your life stat! We will also be chatting about how to create your own!
First, a little background. What are Affirmations?
In the simplest terms, affirmations are positive statements or phrases that can redirect thoughts. They challenge negative thinking and reinforce positive behavior.
Why do we need Affirmations?
Consider how humans think and interact. We have specific ideas about how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen. Our ability to control outcomes or remain flexible in the face of difficulties (like when our safety is threatened) is part of our sense of self.
Why do we care? This ‘sense’ is directly linked to resilience. When challenges or uncertainty arise (hello last years mess) our sense of self helps maintain an optimistic mindset and counter negativity. It also encourages us to reach out, assist others, and foster a sense of community during uncertainty.
Focusing on positive statements, we can create narratives that are hopeful. Ones that encourage adaptation to challenging situations A way to mentally counter any negativity we are experiencing.
In our mind, we perceive we can protect ourselves from threats by maintaining a positive outlook and acting in ways that support personal values. So, things like being kind to others, offering support, etc.
In times of stress, our thought patterns begin to spiral and steer us toward negativity and anxiety. Affirmations can stop these thoughts before they gain mental traction. Cut them off before they grow like ivy in our mind.
What’s the science?
MRI studies show you can strengthen and reinforce positive neural pathways in the brain though affirmations. Routinely using positive statements will build new optimistic pathways. Similar to how working out strengthens specific muscles.
Let’s get specific. The area of the brain associated with positive valuation and information processing is the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. This area shows electrical excitement when we participate in activities that reinforce personal values and a sense of self. Things like repeating affirmations or random acts of kindness.
Beneath the surface: What we believe about ourselves on a subconscious level plays a role in manifesting of our desires. Focusing on positive affirmations helps reprogram us. When we believe certain things, this can impact the outcome of events.
If you turn this idea around, negative self-image and poor beliefs about ourselves can lead to health problems.
Positive thinking and affirmations have the power to transform our lives & health. We just need to take action to support our wishes. This is a simple method for cognitive restructuring.
Benefits of Affirmations:
- Encourage positive thoughts and feelings
- Decrease stress
- Reduce the tendency to focus on negativity
- Support positive change, such as diet or exercise
- Improve problem-solving capabilities
- Positively impact academic achievement
- Help us remain open-minded and less defensive or resistant
- Foster resilience and feelings of empowerment
- Relieve anxiety and reduce exhaustion
Personally, I use positive affirmations each day. I am less stressed, a better friend and colleague, a clearer problem-solver and my anxiety is lower.
I recently revamped my routine to include affirmations to help with mindset, preparation, and feeling grounded before heading to work each day. The hospital has so many stressors and unknowns. These affirmations have made a difference in how I show up for myself and my patients every day.
Getting started with Affirmations:
- Practice your affirmations regularly. Start by repeating them in the morning as soon as you get up and again right before bed.
- Repeat them in a relaxed, comfortable space. Take slow deep breaths and block out distractions if possible.
- Focus on the words as you repeat them out loud or silently to yourself. Explore what that affirmation will make you feel like once it’s part of your day. The feeling of it being true or becoming true is important.
- Repeat affirmations in front of a mirror.
Make sure you are focusing on incorporating both the belief and the behavior in the affirmation to make it a reality. You need both.
How to create your own:
Affirmations can be about anything. Here are a few points to consider as you create your own.
Ensure you are taking core personal values into consideration when crafting affirmations. Your statements should align with what you believe to be moral, worthwhile, and inherently good.
Consider your current strengths to help guide you. Use first-person language and reference traits you know to be true. This will make the them easier to adopt.
Remember, affirmations encourage positive thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Think about values you want to add to your life or things you wish to change.
If you need examples or inspiration ThinkUp, Shine, and Unique Daily are great affirmation apps with good options. *Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate for any of these apps, but I highly recommend them.
There’s also a great audio book called Rewire Your Brain: 300 Affirmations for Positive Thinking.
A parting thought: When you use affirmations, you are speaking your future.
Language is an extension of our thoughts, and thoughts become things. So for me, affirmations are a subtle way to help think and speak truths into my future.
If you give my affirmations list a try, or if you’d like an audio version, let me know! I hope these help you!
P.S. Have you had a chance to check out my FREE Class: The 4 Habits Every Nurse Needs to Survive Their Next Shift? Check it out for some great ideas and encouragement to help you get through your day!