‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’ said Roald Dahl. Loved by everyone from Oprah to Arianna Huffington, Daily Affirmations are becoming a way of life for people all across the globe.
It’s widely noted scientifically that most new year’s resolutions that stick are actually formed mid-month in January. Daily Affirmations are one of the most positive additions you can make to your life and take five minutes per day and cost precisely zero pounds. Sounds like a pretty good bet for 2020, right?
And while they can feel a little ‘new age’ for those of us who’re not used to chatting away to ourselves in the mirror, research has shown they genuinely do increase mindset and feelings of self-worth. This has in turn been linked to great overall success and happiness, as you’re not holding yourself back with negative thought patterns.
There’s science behind it, too. Affirmations can actually help rewire our brains - much like exercise, they raise the level of feel-good hormones and help form ‘positive thought’ neuron clusters. Our brains work in a thought-speech-action way, and affirmations can help break patterns of negative thoughts, which in turn affects speech and actions.
But… what is an Affirmation?
Affirmations are simply just positive statements that can be used to encourage and/or motivate ourselves and others. The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, originally meaning "to make steady, strengthen."
That said, it’s important that they have some basis in reality. For example, telling yourself that you’re ‘happy with your career’ if at that moment you aren’t, can actually have a negative effect - research shows that people who say positive self-statements when they don’t actually believe it made them feel worse.
Affirmations are reminders of what is good and joyful in our lives currently, meaning we’re satisfied with what we have and therefore comfortable to chase after future goals, rather than cosmically ordering up a new life.
How do I do an Affirmation?
Set some time aside to dedicate to your affirmations. They only take five to ten minutes, but knowing that you’re not going to be rushing to work because of them means your mind can clearly focus on the task at hand.
- Step One: Take three deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling to a count of ten.
- Step Two: Look yourself in the eyes in a mirror. Feel free to smile, laugh, or be neutral. It’s important you’re comfortable so do whichever feels most natural for you.
- Step Three: Say your affirmation slowly, clearly and with intent.
- Step Four: Repeat the affirmation four or five times, focussing on the meaning of the words.
- Step Five: Take another three deep breaths, giving your mind and body time to soak up the positive vibes from your affirmation.
What Affirmations should I use?
You can of course buy ready made cards, but it’s just as easy to make them up yourself by thinking of some areas of your life you think you should be thankful for, and writing down short sentences that sum them up. Areas that you might like to cover are health, money, family, relationships, friends, career, happiness, hobbies… it can be anything that brings fulfilment or joy to your life.
Or, another method is to use words written by someone you admire. We’ve rounded up twelve of our favourites here:
- Am I good enough? Yes I am - Michelle Obama
- Good riddance to decisions that don't support my self-care, self-value, and self-worth - Oprah Winfrey
- I'm giving you permission to root for yourself and while you're at it root for those around you, too - Mindy Kaling
- We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already - JK Rowling
- We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope - Martin Luther King Jr
- I am deliberate and afraid of nothing - Audre Lorde
- My perspective is unique. It’s important and it counts - Glenn Close
- Nothing can dim the light that shines from within me - Maya Angelou
- I’m better than I used to be. Better than I was yesterday. But hopefully not as good as I’ll be tomorrow - Marianne Williamson
- There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so - William Shakespeare
- I take responsibility for my own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands - Roy T Bennett
- I do what is right, not what is easy or what is popular - Roy T Bennett
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.