How to write affirmations that can transform your life with free tools to help you use them correctly! We also offer a free online affirmation creator to help you create effective affirmations that actually work!
Disclaimer: The information about affirmations is provided as a tool for those who experience mild negative thinking or need to boost their self-confidence. The information provided is not intended to be medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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.
The benefits of affirmations
Timely affirmations have been shown to improve education, health, and relationship outcomes, with benefits that sometimes persist for months and years. Self-affirmations can also decrease stress, increase well-being, improve academic performance and make people more open to behavior change (source: Cohen and Sherman). Self-affirmations affirm a person’s self-worth, often by having individuals reflect on core values, which may give them a broader view of the self (source). Positive affirmations can motivate you and boost your self-esteem.
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 (source). 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.
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?
When should you repeat affirmations?
Daily Positive AffirmationsAffirmations 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 many affirmations should you write?Write about 8 – 12 affirmations and read them 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. We offer a free online affirmation creator that will ensure your affirmation is written correctly. Click on the button above to open it.Affirmations 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 excited (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. You can also use our free online affirmation creator to ensure your affirmation is written correctly. Click on the button above to open it.
Make them in the present tense
Affirmations are written in the present tense as if they are already happening (unlike goals that are written in the future tense). Don’t mention things you will do or be in the future. Phrase them to be in the present as if it is already your reality.
Affirmations must always be positive
Affirmations must always be written in a positive manner. Never use negative words in affirmations. Never say “don’t”, “can’t”, “not” or “won’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 affirmations, 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 or affirmations 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
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 and you need to believe the affirmation to be true. 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 Netflix, they showed a man who was visualizing a car he wanted to buy. He visualized himself driving the car, touching it, and feeling as if it was his.
When don’t affirmations work?
Affirmations only work when you believe them to be true. If you don’t believe the affirmations that you recite then not only will they not work but they might even make you feel worse (source). Begin with affirmations that feel believable to you. Start with statements that resonate with you on some level, even if you don’t fully believe them yet. Gradually expand the affirmations as you build confidence and see positive changes.
Your beliefs create your thoughts and those thoughts create an emotion. Those emotions change your energy and your energy defines your actions. Your outcome is defined by actions and by how the world responds to your energy.
The problem is that when you don’t believe your affirmation to be true then you don’t change your thoughts or your emotions. When your emotions don’t change then your energy doesn’t change and neither do your actions. Therefore, you won’t be able to manifest anything by repeating affirmations that you do not believe in.
So what do you do when you don’t believe in the affirmations you are trying to repeat? There are two options:
- Start small – if you want to repeat an affirmation that you are on your way to creating your successful dream business and you don’t believe this to be true then find a more realistic affirmation that resonates. It could be something like, I am gaining the skills required to start my own business soon.
- Use visualizations – visualization techniques are a great way to change your emotions even if you cannot change your stubborn thoughts. For example, in the example above, you can visualize yourself running your business, and feel the emotions you will feel when it happens. Think about what you are doing and wearing, how you relate to people, and how they related to you. Visualize the scenario in as much detail as possible and you will evoke the feelings you need to make this happen.
Research has shown that our bodies actually cannot tell the difference between an ‘actual’ experience and an experience visualized in detail.
Have you ever recounted a bad experience in the past and suddenly changed your emotion? You might suddenly get sad or have a sick feeling in your stomach. On the other hand, when you recall a happy memory you might suddenly find yourself smiling or happy. Therefore, if you cannot successfully use affirmations to create positive emotions then you can do this via visualization. You can use your mind to trick your body into thinking that something positive is happening using visualization.
Affirmations don’t work when you are not consistent. Consistency is key. Set aside dedicated time each day to repeat your affirmations. You can say them out loud, write them down, or use visual cues like sticky notes. The more you repeat them, the more they’ll influence your subconscious mind and gradually replace negative self-talk.
Affirmations don’t work when your self-talk is negative. When your self-talk throughout the day is consistently negative, it can be difficult to experience the full benefits of affirmations. Negative self-talk can undermine the effectiveness of positive affirmations because your subconscious mind may resist or reject them due to ingrained negative beliefs.
To address this, here are a few steps you can take:
- Recognize negative self-talk: Start by becoming aware of your negative self-talk patterns. Notice the types of thoughts and beliefs that arise when you engage in negative self-talk. This self-awareness is the first step toward change.
- Challenge negative beliefs: Once you’ve identified negative self-talk, question its validity. Ask yourself if there’s evidence to support these negative beliefs or if they are simply habitual patterns. Often, you’ll find that they are baseless or distortions of reality.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: Begin consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. When a negative thought arises, counter it with a positive affirmation. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “I’m not good enough,” replace it with an affirmation like, “I am capable and deserving of success.”
- Combine affirmations with other techniques: Consider complementing affirmations with other techniques, such as visualization, meditation, or journaling. These practices can help you create a positive mindset and reinforce the affirmations.
- Seek support if needed: If negative self-talk persists or becomes overwhelming, it might be helpful to seek support from a therapist, counselor, or a trusted friend. They can provide guidance and help you address underlying issues that contribute to negative self-talk.
Remember, changing negative self-talk takes time and persistence. Be patient with yourself and practice self-compassion throughout the process. Gradually, you can shift your self-talk toward more positive and empowering beliefs.
Download or Print a Free Affirmation Journal
We offer a free affirmation journal in black and white or color. You can print it or type on it.
Create Affirmation Wallpaper and/or Cards
Since affirmations should be repeated as often as possible you might want to create wallpaper with your affirmations. You can create free affirmation wallpaper for your computer, phone, or tablet on our site or affirmation cards to hand in your home, office, or car.
- The psychology of change: self-affirmation and social psychological intervention (2014)
- Developing and testing a self-affirmation manipulation. Self and Identity (2009) Napper L., Harris P.R., Epton T.
- Individual differences in spontaneous self-affirmation predict well-being (2022) D. Jessop, P. Harris, Timothy Gibbons
- Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation (2016) Christopher N. Cascio, Matthew Brook O’Donnell, Francis J. Tinney, Matthew D. Lieberman, Shelley E. Taylor, Victor J. Strecher, and Emily B. Falk