Affirmations are a valuable tool for replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. All of us have an inner dialogue that we carry on in our minds during every waking hour. The dialogue is so automatic that most of us don’t give it any thought, but according to cognitive therapists this dialogue can control our moods and influence the outcome of events in our lives.
If you slow down your inner dialogue and become aware of your thought patterns, you may be surprised to find how much of it is negative. Many of us repeat negative statements in our minds without any awareness that we’re doing it. Every time we doubt that we can accomplish something or expect the worst outcome, we send instructions to our subconscious that can determine whether we succeed or fail. When negative statements are repeated in our minds often enough, they become beliefs that shape our reality.
Since the statements that make up our inner dialogue are so powerful, doesn’t it make sense to banish the negative ones?
Instead of attempting to change negative thought patterns through will power, psychologists and philosophers have discovered that positive affirmations are one of the most effective ways to change the subconscious.
Affirmations are positive statements that are used to promote a positive mood. An affirmation is like a script that trains the mind. When it is repeated again and again, it focuses the conscious mind and subtly begins to alter the subconscious mind. Affirmations are a conscious technique that can be used to transform behavior, habits, reactions and attitude. These changes will in turn have a profound impact on the external life.
To be effective, positive affirmations must be repeated often enough during the day that they begin to replace negative thoughts. They should be short and easy to remember. Many people feel that affirmations should be in the present tense and should only use positive words. For example, “I am getting thin” would be better than “I will lose weight.” Affirmations should also be realistic. If your conscious mind judges that a statement is too far-fetched, it will filter it out before it can make it to the subconscious.
The use of affirmations has grown in popularity in the new millennium, due in large part to two best-selling books: The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, and The Law of Attraction, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Both of these books promote the theory that positive thoughts and feelings can produce life-altering results that may include greater happiness, health and wealth.
Many of the ideas in these books were drawn from earlier works, such as The Science of Getting Rich, written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles, and Think and Grow Rich, written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill. Another early proponent of positive affirmations was a French psychologist named Emile Coue, who in the early 20th century introduced the idea of “optimistic autosuggestion” through repetition of the phrase “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.”
The long history of positive affirmations is a testament to their transformative power. By repeating a wish as if it were true, your subconscious will perceive it as being true and your emotions will follow. According to the Law of Attraction, you will then attract forces it into your life that will make your wish a reality. Even if you are not a believer in the Law of Attraction, you can still use positive affirmations to improve your mood and develop a more positive outlook on life.
Here are some examples of positive affirmations:
- I am surrounded by love.
- I am powerful.
- I am filled with joy.
- I am strong and in perfect health.
- I am growing more beautiful each day.
- I have the strength to make my dreams come true.
- I have more than enough of everything I need.
- Today I embrace simplicity and peace.
- Opportunities are everywhere.
- I am successful in whatever I do.
- I am grateful for the people in my life.
You can create your own positive affirmations that will have meaning in your life by thinking about what’s important to you and what you’re trying to achieve. Imagine your ideal life and then try to form statements that reflect this ideal as a reality. For example, if you’d like to be less anxious, your affirmation might be “I am feeling calmer all the time.” Your subconscious mind will be more susceptible to statements that declare that something is true.