I’m sure that many people have actually tried to use daily affirmations and some may be successful and other not so much. So when would they work and when are you wasting your time and effort? Lets first get one thing out of the way – the techno mambo-jumbo! We need to know what affirmations are first, before we can ask ourselves if positive daily affirmations actually work and if they don’t, why not?
What is an affirmation?
- the act or an instance of affirming; state of being affirmed.
- the assertion that something exists or is true.
- something that is affirmed; a statement of proposition that is declared to be true.
- confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgement, decision, etc.
- Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath.
To affirm something, means to state it as a fact, verbally and with a strong belief. A positive affirmation is simply an affirmation that is stating something positive, like the fact that you CAN, instead of you CANNOT. And a daily one is just that, doing it daily. So a positive daily affirmation is an affirmation that is positive and one that you do on a daily basis. An example of this is the sticky note image above – “I CAN do this!!!”. Naturally you would just need to repeat this every day.
The idea behind using affirmations is that you are programming your mind to believe certain things, although they may not have materialized in your life yet. As The Secret explains, your thinking changes the way the universe unfolds. So if you keep believing negative things, that’s what you’ll get! Using affirmations is meant to change the way you think about things so that they actually become true, first in your mind and then in reality. Although, this can become a big challenge because you actually need to believe in them and not only affirm them. Using positive affirmations daily, should get your mind to believe them, eventually.
Why would affirmations not work?
Research has actually shown that using positive affirmations may do more harm than any good! The researched published in Journal of Psychological Science, states that “repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as individuals with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most.”
As I’ve mentioned, using daily positive affirmations to make yourself believe something, often results in putting focus on the thing that you don’t want to believe! Naturally, this might put unwanted emphasis on the negative aspects. And guess where the mind then tends to lean towards? So while your mouth is confessing the positive affirmations, your mind is focused on the negative side which you are not actually interested in. And again, the mind is a very powerful thing!
The trick with affirmations is use the power of affirming things to change your unconscious mind. The problem with using some affirmations, particularly the way that they are used, is that they often target your conscious mind. You are actively saying what you want to affirm but your unconscious mind is not really soaking up that ‘truth’. So what happens is that an internal battles ensues and individuals with a low self esteem may find that this provokes contradictory thoughts. This takes up a lot of energy and creates a lot of tension in the body.
Do positive daily affirmations work?
The short answer to this is YES.
There are many specific topics that I’d like to blog about, directly related to affirmations and how to use them. For instance, the difference between using declarative self-talk and interrogative self-talk, which is more about asking yourself questions than trying to convince yourself about something which you know is not true. Research has shown that asking yourself questions might be more powerful in affirming truths, when it comes to tapping into your unconscious mind. Naturally, the questions though have to be well thought out to be effective.
For now though, I just wanted to briefly touch on this subject. If you know how affirmations might not work, you can adjust them to work for you. It’s sort of like not knowing how to do something – if you know how not to do it, you’re already one step ahead!
My personal opinion that adds to this, is that they need to be used correctly and be part of a broader set of self motivation. For me personally, Be Motivated Today has been a great source of broader motivation for me – it’s not only about positive affirmations but more about tapping into your conscious and making affirmations work for you. You need to understand yourself – what works for me might not always work for you.
What types of affirmations have you tried that didn’t work for you? What can you think of changing about them to be more effective?