What are affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements or positive self-talk that are read and repeated daily until they are imprinted in your mind and your self-esteem is improved. Affirmations should not be general positive mantras unrelated to the specific person but rather specific positive statements that acknowledge one’s strengths and traits. These are compliments that you have not given yourself credit for in the past. The best and most effective affirmations are not generic positive mantras but rather specific statements that recognize your unique good qualities, achievements, and accomplishments.
When should you repeat affirmations?
Daily Positive Affirmations
Affirmations should be repeated daily to be effective. You should make this a daily habit that is repeated every morning without fail. These are proactive positive mantras that you repeat daily no matter how you feel that day. Start your day with your affirmations to set the intent or foundation for your day. Before going to sleep, repeat some affirmations. Your subconscious is very impressionable before you sleep.
Positive Affirmations to Offset Negative Self-talk
Each time you put yourself down with negative self-talk or feel insecure, rephrase the thought in your mind in a positive way and use positive affirmations to undo the damage you did to your self-esteem. You can either make up a positive saying to reverse the negative self-talk or you can read one of the positive affirmations that you prepared beforehand.
How do affirmations work?
To some, the concept may sound new age and as if you are just telling lies to yourself. In actual fact, affirmations are based on science and really do work if done correctly. Once you have written your affirmation you need to visualize it. Spend a few minutes each day and totally relax your mind and body through deep breathing. Think about your affirmation and visualize it in rich detail. The more clearly and vividly you can imagine the detail, the more deeply you will experience it. If you do this daily, you will find that your behavior will change.
A low self-esteem is built over time by people who didn’t treat you well. When our self-esteem is low or when we have a negative outlook, there is a change in brain chemistry and happy chemicals naturally decrease. When we concentrate on our good qualities and do things that create a positive outlook our brain produces more happy chemicals (such as dopamine) that make us feel good.
As Dr. Rick Hanson says, even fleeting thoughts and feelings can leave lasting marks on your brain.
If you don’t love yourself then you cannot expect others to. If you put yourself down then how do you expect others not to?
How many affirmations should you write?
Write about 8 – 12 affirmations to read on a daily basis. Try to cover all aspects of your life (personal, professional, social, family, relationships, etc) or whatever you want to work on. Repeat each set for 30 days before you write your next set of affirmations for the next 30 days. You don’t need to replace the entire set. You can make some changes to reflect your current level of confidence, self-esteem and goals. If you found any of the old affirmations helpful then keep them and don’t make changes. If some need to be adapted then tweak or replace them.
How to Write Affirmations
To be effective, affirmations must be written correctly. They must be personal and relevant.
The most effective affirmations recognize your unique good qualities and your actual achievements and accomplishments. You might not even be aware of them at the moment. Our free printable affirmation journal will help you review your life and recognize the things you have achieved and the things you should be proud of.
The affirmation journal will ask you many different questions about yourself, your qualities, your achievements, etc. Write down whatever comes to mind. Use the journal prompts to brainstorm about your qualities, traits, and achievements.
You will then take that material and make affirmations from it.
On the left side of each spread is an example affirmation related to the journal prompt. You can use that example as a basis for your affirmation. If it resonates with you, then use it as-is. If not, personalize it and customize it so that it feels right for you.
Once you have finished writing them you can put them on the free printable positive affirmation cards. You can also record yourself reading them and save them on your phone. You might want to play relaxing music in the background (there is so much available on YouTube). When you are walking somewhere or commuting you can listen to them. This will be particularly helpful if you are on your way to a potentially stressful event or situation. The affirmations will boost your confidence and self-esteem before you face the challenge.
In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains that a good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it’s personal, it’s positive, it’s present tense, it’s visual, and it’s emotional.
An affirmation example could be: “I am exciting (emotional) that I (personal) am getting (present tense) a great job offer (positive) very soon”
Tips for Writing Affirmations
Writing affirmations is easy if you follow the following tips.
Affirmations must always be positive
Affirmations must always be written in a positive manner. Never use negative phrasing in affirmations. Never say “don’t” or “can’t”. Affirmation words are always positive and reassuring.
Don’t make them too extreme and far fetched
You want your affirmations to be positive but you don’t want them to be totally unbelievable. You want to say that you are great but not perfect. Nobody is perfect and you don’t want to use affirmations that are too bombastic and unbelievable. The affirmation has to be meaningful to you else it will not create the positive feelings you need to generate for it to be effective. It should be realistic and achievable.
Affirmations should be based on real traits
The idea is to focus on the positive traits that you have not recognized in the past. Everyone has good traits, but we don’t always focus on them. Recognize your good traits, attributes, qualities, and accomplishments. The idea behind positive sayings is not to invent traits that you don’t have but to rather focus on traits that you never gave yourself credit for in the past. Therefore, before you write your positive mantras, you have to spend time analyzing your personality and your traits. Our affirmation journal will help you do that. It will help you find your good qualities and things you should love about yourself.
Don’t be modest
We are all taught to be modest as kids. Our parents taught us not to brag or be egotistical. As a result, we might feel uncomfortable reciting positive mantras that focus on how great we are. Don’t! This is between you and yourself and you have every right to feel great and to let yourself know just how great you are!
Make affirmations specific
Don’t use general positive statements. Instead add detail to highlight your achievements, identify your abilities and give yourself credit for things you do. For example, don’t say “I have a job”. Instead, say, “I have a successful career as a teacher and I am professional and hardworking and I do my job well.
Don’t just read general affirmations from the internet. You can use them as a base to create your own personalized affirmations but take the time to customize them. All our affirmation quotes are customizable. You can also customize the positive affirmation cards before you print them.
Affirmations are written in the first person
Make them in the present tense
Don’t mention things you will do or be in the future, but phrase them to be in the present.
Create one or more affirmations to reprogram negative self-talk
There will be times when you find yourself engrossed in negative self-talk or you put yourself down for something specific. For times like these, have some ready-written positive affirmations to offset the damage your negative self-talk does to your self-image and to your confidence.
Don’t give up and be consistent
You need to recite affirmations for long enough for them to reprogram your mind. Don’t give up too soon. It takes time and you need to be consistent.
Do affirmations work?
Yes, they do work but they don’t work overnight. This process will take at least one month, so don’t despair and do be consistent. It isn’t a magic overnight formula but studies have shown that when affirmations are written and repeated correctly they are very powerful and do boost your self-esteem. Some therapists even suggest repeating them 3-5 times a day to be more effective.
One of the ways to make affirmations even more powerful is through visualization. Go to a quiet secluded place and relax. If you find it difficult to relax then try deep breathing or meditation. Close your eyes and play your pre-recorded affirmations to yourself. Envision them coming true and feel as if you are experiencing them. How do you feel? What does it look like? What do you look like? For example, in The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, available on Neflix, they showed a man who was visualizing a car he wanted to buy. He visualized himself driving the car, touching it and felt as if it was his.