The words we use each day are important and hold a great deal of power over our lives. The same way it hurts to hear someone say something mean about us, it is just as painful to hear the same phrases from ourselves. Thankfully, practicing positive affirmations grants us the power to confront our negative thought patterns and transform them into something that works in our favor. The phrase has been around since the 60’s, but it’s become an increasingly popular technique to practice from home and even with the help of psychologists and counselors. If you constantly struggle with negative self-talk and your mental health suffers from it, we are here for you at our office in Southlake, TX.
Many of us already know what they are, but if the phrase is foreign to you, positive affirmations are a phrase or set of phrases that can be repeated each day to help challenge negative thoughts. If you’ve never tried affirmations before, the idea might seem strange or awkward, but the positive results are no conspiracy. Several studies confirm their stress-reducing effects and their ability to increase self-competence, among other things. It must be understood that positive affirmations are a promising tool, not a magic trick. It’s not as simple as repeating a stream of words. To produce tangible results, there must be intention and meaning behind the phrases we choose. They are a helpful, guiding step toward a larger goal of producing growth and change.
These seemingly simple phrases not only have the power to motivate you, but they give you a sense of focus in your life. It’s easy to lose sight of our goals and aspirations if we don’t regularly acknowledge them. If you’re someone who generally leans towards an anxious and pessimistic mindset, practicing affirmations is a simple and accessible form of self-care and a way to manage symptoms of anxiety. A self-affirmation practice has shown to reduce anxiety and stress and boosts our self-esteem over time. If you feel like a victim to your thoughts and beliefs, affirmations might be right for you.
Repeating generic affirmation phrases you see online won’t really have much of an effect. Instead, take time to reflect on the areas of your life that you most want to change. Make them personal and something that reflects the person you want to be. Do you wish you had more patience? More confidence? Pay attention to negative phrases you often repeat. Those will help you decide what phrases will mean the most to you.
Unintentional or not, it took time and repetition to develop the negative beliefs you hold today. Creating positive change takes time. If you want to practice affirmations, make it a part of your daily routine the same way we brush our teeth each morning and night. It might be awkward to practice at first, so give yourself a grace period to get the hang of it.
When you say a phrase like “I have the power to create all the success I desire”, you’re bound to run into some road blocks. Your mind will come up with every scenario in the past where that wasn’t true. This is partly why practicing affirmations is so difficult. Our minds have a built-in negativity bias. While this bias is useful in times of stress, it is often a hinderance as you’re trying to make positive changes. When you practice affirmations, choose to be mindful of this disposition. Combining affirmations with mindfulness will help you bypass the need to criticize and get out of your own way.
Growth happens in the present. That’s because our subconscious only recognizes the present tense. Instead of using phrases like “I want to be more confident”, rephrase it to sound as if it’s happening right now. Be sure to omit phrases with “could”, “should”, “would”, and use “I am” phrases in their place. Present tense phrases are more powerful and impactful to our brains.
Our mind and body share an intimate connection. Spending too much time repeating phrases and neglecting to show up and take action will have the opposite effect than what we’re looking for. Saying “I am a kind person” 5 times a day won’t make you a kind person if you don’t affirm it with acts of kindness. Remember to keep a relative balance between the two. The more you affirm your affirmations with action, the easier it will be to embody those traits on a subconscious level.
When struggling with severe anxiety or depression, it easy to neglect our healing. Simple growth-oriented acts like repeating affirmations can feel pointless. If you’re in dark period of life, please consider reaching out for help. Your health and healing are our main priority, and we want to help you succeed.
Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.