What's an Affirmation Practice?

Affirmations are a buzz word lately, and for good reason. Many of us have negative self-talk, or self-defeating beliefs that prevent us from taking certain actions in life or working towards specific goals. Unfortunately when we tell ourselves negative thoughts over and over again, it forms a neural pathway in the brain that makes those thoughts automatic. An affirmation practice can help us start to internalize new beliefs about ourselves in order to begin behaving in new ways or taking actions that are in line with our goals. They can be very helpful in increasing positive self talk and increasing self-worth, if done right. Here’s how to start an affirmation practice:

  1. Make a list of statements that are meaningful to you

    Think about what you would like to encourage within yourself, or how you would like to grow. Maybe you would like to increase your confidence or have more self-love. Try to pick affirmations that will encourage these beliefs in yourself. It can help to make these statements present tense. For example, instead of saying “I will find my dream job”, try saying, “I am worthy of my dream job”, or “I am working on getting my dream job.”

  2. Try saying the affirmations using the 2nd person

    Using the 2nd person engages our social brain and can be especially helpful for those who did not receive a lot of affirmation as young children.

  3. Repeat the affirmations out loud, many times per day

    The goal with an affirmation practice is to create a new neural pathway for positive thinking. However, in order to do that we have to repeat the affirmation as many times as we can throughout the day, and doing it out loud is especially helpful.

  4. Try using a mirror

    I know this might sound silly, but looking at yourself in the mirror while you say the affirmation can also be very therapeutic and meaningful for many people.

    I hope this post is helpful in describing what an affirmation practice is. Give it a try!