Did you know that as humans, we have a natural tendency to focus on the negative, due to the brains “negativity bias”. Our brain and nervous system are designed to keep us safe from harm, so we unconsciously protect ourselves by remembering anything which we experienced as scary or harmful and to let go of the positive, which is considered irrelevant as it’s not necessary for survival.
Our cells respond physiologically to our thoughts, cells adapt to be receptive to the hormones released in response to our thoughts, so that our physical body reflects our emotional state. Therefore, people with chronic stress levels tend to have more health issues. By simply taking small steps, we can lower stress levels and start to improve our mental and physical health.
Affirmations link directly into our ability to shape our thought patterns, so that over time a more positive way of thinking becomes natural.
When to Use Affirmations
You can use affirmations in any situation where you would like to see a positive change take place in your life. These might include times when you want to:
o Raise your confidence before presentations or important meetings.
o Control negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience.
o Improve your self-esteem.
o Finish projects you have started.
o Improve your productivity.
o Overcome a bad habit.
o Or to cope with anxiety and emotions.
Affirmations are most effective when we allow ourselves to deeply feel the meaning of the affirmation, when thought and feeling come together it has a deep impact on the neurological structures, hormones and even the immune response.
By feeling and becoming familiar with one or two affirmations we recruit new neural pathways, and the benefits increase over time. Until little by little we have reframed our whole experience.
Evidence suggests that affirmations can help you to perform better at work. According to researchers, spending just a few minutes thinking about your best qualities before a high-pressure meeting for example, a job interview – can calm your nerves, increase your confidence, and improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Affirmations may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. In one study, a short affirmation exercise boosted the problem-solving abilities of "chronically stressed" subjects to the same level as those with low stress.
How to Use Affirmations
What's more, affirmations have been used to successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions. And they have been shown to stimulate the areas in our brains that make us more likely to effect positive changes in regard to our health.
The power of affirmations lies in repeating them to yourself regularly. It's useful to recite your affirmations several times a day, maybe when you wake up, have a reminder next to your bed and when you go to bed. Maybe choose a trigger like making a cup of tea to repeat them.
Affirmations are also useful when setting personal goals., once you have identified the goals you would like to achieve, affirmative statements can help you to keep you on track and stay motivated.
Examples of Affirmations for Anxiety
Be realistic if you feel just a little safer, this is enough. Acknowledge this.
“I am feeling a little safer”
“Right in this moment now, I am OK”
Examples of General Affirmations
If you have set specific health goals affirm these.
“I am able to eat well to nourish my body”
“I am strong”
“I feel my energy coming back”
Our neurological structures change over time with repetition so it’s great to practice your affirmation every day. A few times if possible. Even if only for one minute.
This means you will slowly but surely be creating positive and lasting change to how you think feel and experience yourself and the world around you.