The power of positive affirmations
Quote: Silence your inner critic. Build mental muscle.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Say clearly, “ I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.” Repeat this five times.
How do you feel? If not empowered, perhaps ready to tackle a task you’ve been procrastinating. Repeat those words by poet Audre Lord long enough you’ll tap into your reserves of inner strength.
Positive self-talk is rooted in science.
A research paper from the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience reported that affirmations light up neural reward pathways of the brain. “Positive self-talk activates the regions of the brain that are associated with rewards. The brain responds by releasing feel-good chemicals called endorphins. These reduce stress/pain and boost the feeling of pleasure,” says Seema Hingorrany, clinical psychologist and trauma researcher, who is based in Mumbai.
The research found greater brain activity when the affirmations focused on the future. Surprisingly researchers also found a decrease in the sedentary behaviour of study participants after an affirmation intervention. The feeling of wellbeing that fills the body after practicing positive affirmations can move you to act.
Affirmations build self-competence and self-worth.
Feeling powerless or threatened impairs cognitive control. Memory, ability to think flexibly and self-control take a hit. In the long run, this affects self-worth. Practicing positive affirmations restores cognitive competence and equips you to face an incoming threat. “Positive affirmations empower individuals who grow up with negative reinforcement or those who have low self-esteem or body image concerns,” says Hingoranny. Affirmations can train the brain to focus on the positive.
Affirmations work for everyone.
To see results from practicing positive affirmations, be consistent. “It takes 21 to 30 days to see real change,” says Hingoranny. When practiced regularly, affirmations can make you more self-loving. Affirmations improve mood, boost self-esteem and tame self-criticism.
To frame an affirmation that works for you, think of an instance where you are unkind to yourself. To turn this perceived weakness into strength, Hingoranny trains her patients in two techniques. These are breath-work and mirror-work.
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Say your affirmation aloud.
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths in front of a mirror. Open your eyes and say your affirmation aloud.
“The idea is to train your subconscious mind to focus on the positive. The best way to do this is to say the affirmations just before you go to bed. And in the morning recite them before you begin your work or start your studies,” suggests Hingoranny.
Here are some sample affirmations
I don’t sweat the small stuff.
I will not compare myself to others.
I let go of all that no longer serves me.
I am healthy. I am whole. I am enough.