One of my latest mental exercises is using affirmation statements. I don’t have many stories to tell yet about how well they are working or to illustrate the process with a success I have had using them…I’m apparently not far enough into the process to be able to give a testimonial. So, I thought I would discuss the concept of these tools with those of you reading this and see if you have any good stories about how using affirmations may have worked for you.
In a couple of the self-help type books I have read lately (yes, an almost 70-year-old can still be looking for help!), affirmations are mentioned as a good tool to utilize for self-improvement. Simply put, an affirmation statement is a positive statement of belief. It can be used to rewire the brain to make changes to behavior patterns, or transform one’s outlook on life…a prescription for change, if you will. Affirmations can allow one to move any area of one’s life to the next level. They can be powerful tools for managing stress, caring for physical health, and stimulating productivity.
Here are a few suggestions I have come across in my reading about this topic as to how to use affirmations:
- Use I am statements – think of Ali, the famous fighter, who always said “I am the greatest.” (And, at the time, he was the greatest.)
- A more specific, behavior changing type of affirmation statement is I am committed to ___________, so that I can _______________, by ____________. (This method was suggested by Hal Elrod in The Miracle Morning books.)
- Write your affirmations out (in your journal is a good place, if you keep one) and repeat them every day. Affirmations repeated over and over work on the subconscious mind.
I can give you an example of my use of the middle bullet point above – an affirmation involving action. I have hip bursitis (you have heard me whine about this malady before) and am intent on correcting the problem if at all possible. My affirmation statement for this has been I am committed to doing my exercises every day so that I can move around and sleep without pain by May 1. (I thought of this affirmation and used it prior to May 1.) I have dropped the May 1 deadline and continue to use the affirmation, and do the exercises. (I can report that though I still have the hip issue, it is much improved and I indeed, move without pain most of the time now; and, I think this is because I use the affirmation and then feel obligated to follow through and do the exercises!)
The other type of affirmation – like Ali’s affirmation – may address how we would like to feel about our behavior patterns and/or our capabilities. This one can be more difficult to work with because our internal demons immediately refute what we might be trying to affirm. Example: I am a good writer. My immediate response – my very own censor – says “who do you think you are; nobody is going to ever read anything you write and think it is wonderful or useful!” The so-called experts on this topic assure that if an affirmation is repeated daily it will ultimately transform the way we think or feel about ourselves and overcome our limiting beliefs and behaviors.
In my last post I wrote about how I am focusing on being more accepting of others and less judgmental. Today, as I was pondering what to write about affirmations, it struck me I could use I am a kind person as an affirmation to help me with my goal of respecting other people. I will add that to the list of statements I review daily.
I’m going to keep using my affirmation statements about exercise, my writing abilities and my latest addition about being kind and see where they lead me. Likely, I will add others as inspirations come to me. I’ve got nothing to lose.
Would love to hear if you have a story about changing something in your life by using an affirmation statement. Feel free to share in the comment section below.