How do positive affirmations work

Using Affirmations - Stress Management From

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Use affirmations to climb out of a negative mindset and into the light.

"I'm never going to be able to do this job; I'm just not smart enough."

"Why does my boss want me to run the presentation? I'm a terrible public speaker, and I'll just embarrass the team."

"I wish I could stick up for myself at work. In every meeting, I let the others walk over my ideas. I'm never going to get ahead."

Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes frequently. When we think like this, our confidence, mood and outlook can become negative, too.

The problem with negative thoughts is that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. We talk ourselves into believing that we're not good enough. And, as a result, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.

But, if we deliberately do the opposite and use positive thoughts about ourselves, the effect can be just as powerful but far more helpful.

In this article, we'll explore how you can use affirmations to drive positive change in your career, and in your life in general.

What Are Affirmations, and Do They Work?

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.

You might consider affirmations to be unrealistic "wishful thinking." But try looking at positive affirmations this way: many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our physical health, and affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook. These positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think – and act – differently.

For example, 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 – a performance review, for example – can calm your nerves, increase your confidence, and improve your chances of a successful outcome. [1]

Self-affirmation 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. [2]

What's more, affirmations have been used to successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions. [3] 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.

A latter study suggests that a stronger sense of self-worth makes you more likely to improve your own well-being. [4] So, for example, if you're worried that you eat too much and don't get enough exercise, using affirmations to remind yourself of your values can spur you on to change your behavior.


There is evidence that the higher your self-esteem, the more effective affirmations can be. However, research also found that if you have low self-esteem, positive affirmations actually make you feel worse, because they set up a conflict between the positive state you desire and the negative feelings you currently experience. [5] If this applies to you, work on Boosting Your Self-Esteem before you use affirmations.

How to Use Positive Affirmations

You can use affirmations in any situation where you'd like to see a positive change take place in your life. These might include times when you want to:

  • Raise your confidence before presentations or important meetings.
  • Control negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience.
  • Improve your self-esteem.
  • Finish projects you've started.
  • Improve your productivity.
  • Overcome a bad habit.

Affirmations may be more effective when you pair them with other positive thinking and goal-setting techniques.

For instance, affirmations work particularly well alongside visualization. So, instead of just picturing the change you'd like to see, you can also write it down or say it aloud using a positive affirmation.

Affirmations are also useful when setting personal goals. Once you've identified the goals you'd like to achieve, affirmative statements can help you to keep yourself motivated in order to achieve them.

The power of affirmations lies in repeating them to yourself regularly. It's useful to recite your affirmations several times a day (have them pop up in your notifications!). You also need to repeat your affirmations as soon as you engage in the negative thought or behavior that you want to overcome.

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How to Write an Affirmation Statement

Affirmation statements usually target a specific area, behavior or belief that you're struggling with. The following points can help you to write the affirmation statement that best fits your needs.

  • Think about the areas of your life that you'd like to change. For instance, do you wish that you had more patience? Or deeper relationships with your friends and colleagues? Or would you like a more productive workday?

    Write down several areas or behaviors that you'd like to work on. Be sure that they are compatible with your core values and the things that most matter to you, so that you'll feel genuinely motivated to achieve them.

  • Be sure that your affirmation is credible and achievable. Base it on a realistic assessment of the facts. For instance, imagine that you're unhappy with the level of pay that you currently receive. You could use affirmations to raise your confidence to ask for a raise.

    However, it probably wouldn't be wise to affirm to yourself that you're going to double your salary: for most people, and most organizations, doubling what you're earning in one go isn't feasible. Keep it realistic! After all, affirmations are not magic spells – if you can't believe in them, it's unlikely they'll impact your life.

  • Turn negatives into positives. If you are struggling with negative self-talk, note down the persistent thoughts or beliefs that are bothering you. Then choose an affirmation that is the opposite of that thought and belief.

    For example, if you habitually think, "I'm not talented enough to progress in my career," turn this around and write a positive affirmation such as, "I am a skilled and experienced professional."

  • Write your affirmation in the present tense. Write and speak your affirmation as if it's already happening. This helps you to believe that the statement is true right now. For instance, "I am well-prepared and well-rehearsed, and I can give a great presentation" would be a great affirmation to use if you feel nervous speaking in front of a group.
  • Say it with feeling. Affirmations can be more effective when they carry emotional weight. You need to want this change to happen, so every affirmation that you choose to repeat should be a phrase that's meaningful to you. For example, if you're worried about a new project that you've been tasked with, you could tell yourself, "I am really excited to take on new challenges."

Examples of Affirmations

By definition, your affirmation will be personal to you, and specific to what you want to achieve or change, but the following examples may provide some inspiration:

  • I have plenty of creativity for this project.
  • My work will be recognized in a positive way by my boss and colleagues.
  • I can do this!
  • My team respects and values my opinion.
  • I am successful.
  • I am honest in my life, and my work.
  • I like completing tasks and projects on time.
  • I'm grateful for the job I have.
  • I enjoy working with my team.
  • I'm bringing a positive attitude to work every day.
  • I am excellent at what I do.
  • I am resilient.
  • I am not afraid to stand up for myself.
  • I will be a leader in my organization.
  • I am proud of myself.

The use of affirmations is just one way to make positive changes to your life. You can also use techniques such as Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking, and Positive Thinking, and Cognitive Restructuring. You may also want to take our quiz, Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker?


Negative thinking can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, death. While these techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing occasional negative thinking, they are for guidance only, and readers should take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over related illnesses or if negative thoughts are causing significant or persistent unhappiness. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise.

Key Points

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.

To use affirmations, first analyze the thoughts or behaviors that you'd like to change in your own life and career.

Next, come up with positive, credible, and achievable affirmation statements that are the opposite of these thoughts. Repeat your affirmations several times a day, especially when you find yourself slipping into negative self-talk or engaging in negative behavior.

Remember that affirmations are most effective when you use them alongside other strategies, such as visualization and goal setting.

Do Positive Affirmations Work? What Experts Say – Cleveland Clinic

Is there anything to the old adage, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it”? Positive affirmations are a self-help strategy that puts that saying into practice. These daily sayings can help you overcome self-doubt, self-sabotage and fear.

Psychologist Lauren Alexander, PhD, explains how daily positive affirmations can help you face the world with a belief in yourself and your abilities.

What are positive affirmations?

Positive affirmations are phrases you can say, either aloud or in your head, to affirm yourself and build yourself up — especially in the midst of difficult situations. They’re a way of helping overcome negative thoughts that can sometimes take over and make you doubt yourself.

“We live in a society where it’s easy to get bogged down with lots of negativity,” Dr. Alexander says. Positive affirmations are a way to help shuttle out some of that negativity, in terms of the things that we say to ourselves.

How to choose a positive affirmation

There’s no one-size-fits-all affirmation, so you’ll have to figure out which feels right to you. “It could be something positive about a certain quality or a good choice you’ve made, or just something affirming of your self-worth,” Dr. Alexander says.

Avoid toxic positivity

Employing positive affirmations doesn’t mean talking yourself into denying the difficulties of your life or the world around you.

“Standing in front of the mirror and saying, ‘You’re awesome’ and ‘You’re beautiful,’ can feel very inauthentic,” Dr. Alexander says. And honestly? “Good vibes only” isn’t realistic or all that helpful.

Instead, identify positive affirmations that acknowledge the reality of your current situation but call on your own ability to push through and to thrive.

Acknowledge hardship

Positive affirmations should be tailored to the issues and concerns you’re facing, Dr. Alexander says. “I advocate for affirmations that acknowledge the difficulty you’re going through but also remind you of times when you’ve been successful.

Examples of positive affirmations include:

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  • “My feelings make me uncomfortable right now, but I can accept them.”
  • “I am strong enough to handle what’s happening to me right now.”
  • “This situation is difficult, but I have the skills and abilities to deal with it.”
  • “I can ride this out and not let it get to me.”
  • “I’ve survived other situations like this, and I’ll survive this one, too.”

Remember: Denial isn’t a healthy coping strategy. If you simply proceed through hard times as though your feelings don’t exist, they’ll still lurk beneath the surface, weighing you down. Affirmations like these make space for your feelings while also calling on your ability to get through them.

“Affirmations acknowledge that what’s going on right now isn’t ideal but that you can get through it like you’ve gotten through other difficult things,” Dr. Alexander says.

How to get the most out of positive affirmations

Dr. Alexander shares tips for choosing the right affirmations for you and boosting the likelihood that they’ll help you.

1. Practice being positive

Like anything else, positive affirmations take work. If you’re not used to saying them and don’t do so on a regular basis, they probably won’t make much of a difference in a moment of need.

“If we want to start to make less room for the negative thoughts, we have to intentionally practice positive thoughts,” Dr. Alexander says.

She explains that according to a psychology concept called “survival of the busiest,” the thoughts we think the most are the ones that take root in our brains. It requires practice, then, to push back on our usual way of thinking.

2. Put your skepticism on hold

Let’s be real: It can feel kind of weird to stand in the mirror and say nice things to yourself, but try to resist the temptation to give up.

“If you’re typically a negative thinker, it’s not realistic to expect to become a positive thinker overnight,” Dr. Alexander says. Be patient and give it some time to sink in and feel normal.

3. Say them aloud or to yourself

Whether you say your positive affirmations aloud or just mentally repeat them to yourself is up to you, but the former is probably the best way to start. “Sometimes hearing things out loud is more impactful than saying them in your mind,” Dr. Alexander says.

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She shares ideas for when and how to say your affirmations:

  • Write your positive affirmations on notecards or sticky notes and post them throughout your home.
  • Leave them on your nightstand so you look at them when you wake up and before you go to bed.
  • Keep your affirmations in an app on your phone so you can access them throughout the day.
  • Set a timer to remind yourself to look at or repeat your affirmations at the same time every day.

Pair your affirmations with action

Positive thinking is one of the first steps toward positive action — but positive thinking alone won’t do the trick.

Think of it this way: If someone said they were going to give you a million dollars, would you believe them? You’d probably be pretty skeptical, right up until you saw that check hit your bank account. The same is true of positive thinking.

“I always tell people that changing their thinking is super important but that what’s really convincing to us, as humans, is when we see a change in behavior,”  Dr. Alexander says,

If you believe you’re unlikable, for example, work up to smiling at a couple of strangers during the day and then, eventually, to inviting a colleague to grab coffee on a break.

“You have to give yourself the chance to have interactions that prove your negative thinking wrong,” Dr. Alexander says. “When you end up seeing that what you assumed would happen didn’t bear out, that helps reinforce your new style of thinking.”

When positive affirmations don’t work

Positive affirmations might help you persevere and keep faith in yourself through a difficult time, but if you can’t seem to shake persistent feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem, it may be time to speak with a mental health professional who can help you learn to cope.

“Life can certainly be miserable at times, and we can’t always change the stressors accounting for that misery,” Dr. Alexander says. “But our way of thinking during those miserable times can either stagnate us or help us move forward.”

What are affirmations and how do they work? — OfficeLife

The term "affirmation" comes from the Latin word "affirmatio", which translates as a positive statement.

Psychologists interpret affirmations as short phrases that need to be repeated daily in the form of a mantra. This should create an inspiring positive attitude that will accelerate the path to the desired goals. This effect is created due to the fact that the phrases spoken aloud gain strength and become reality.

Affirmation is a kind of program for the human subconscious. Our mind does not distinguish between reality and fantasy, so it is very easy to convince it of what we want.

But you should not rely only on the power of the subconscious and sit idly by. Affirmations alone are not enough to achieve what you want, for this you need to work and make tremendous efforts. But positive attitudes will be some kind of motivation for you, which can speed up this difficult process. The main thing is to follow all the rules.

How affirmations work

According to Walter E. Jacobson, MD, affirmations work because the subconscious mind plays a major role in the process of manifesting goals and desires. Our thoughts materialize and influence the course of events.

You will definitely get everything planned if you think positively and believe in yourself. Thanks to affirmations, people feel more confident, look better, voice thoughts about what they have planned out loud, and attract positive people who will lend a helping hand along the way to their intended goal.

A group of scientists from Carnegie Mellon conducted a study in 2013, on the basis of which they concluded that affirmations can mitigate the effects of stress, speed up thinking, and improve the ability to find a way out of problem situations. This has a positive effect on the mental health of inefficient individuals and people who are under chronic stress.
Rules for compiling affirmations

Start all phrases with "I"

Statements that begin with "I" can turn the phrase into an "identity statement." Such affirmations are the most powerful motivators on the way to the implementation of the desired. Examples of such statements: “I live in harmony with love”, “I easily find a common language with people”, “I boldly accept any challenges” and others.

Stay positive

Do not use the preposition "but" in your affirmations, and also maintain positive thinking. For example, it's better to say "I value my health and don't depend on the taste of junk food" instead of "I don't like the taste of fast food."

Fill your affirmations with feelings

The regularity of repeating affirmations is important, but do not forget that these words should be filled with feelings. For example, the phrase “I love sports” should be replaced with the statement “Fate gave me a chance to become stronger, and I use it 100%”.

Formulate phrases as if the wish came true

When formulating phrases, specify what you want as if it had already come true. For example, the affirmation “Next year I want to buy a car” is better replaced with the statement “I attract wealth, wealth freely enters my life. I can afford whatever I want."

Important: In order for affirmations to work to the maximum, repeat them daily. There are many methods for this. Read them in the morning in front of a mirror, arrange cards with written affirmations around the house, or choose any other convenient way. The main thing is that you perceive the statements well.

Summing up

Affirmations are a great way to cheer yourself up on the path to your desired goal. But it is not enough just to lie in the direction of the dream. Change will only happen when there are specific actions, and affirmations will help you change your thinking so you can take action.

Rules for effective affirmations | Blog RSV

Many of our thoughts and dreams do not affect the quality of life in any way. But about 5% of thoughts and ideas are constantly spinning in our head and do not give rest. When a thought or idea is repeated regularly, it becomes a belief and influences a person's choices and decisions.

Positive thoughts create positive statements, that is, they are affirmations. Affirmation is a practice with which you can improve your mood, set yourself up for a brighter future, and begin to believe in yourself and your own strengths. Of course, you won’t be able to succeed just by saying affirmations, you need to make great efforts. But a well-written positive affirmation works great and transforms the subconscious, which will help you confidently go to the goal.

Why practice affirmations?

  1. This is a medicine for the soul and body of a person. Good and necessary words direct our forces to achieve results.
  2. Affirmations help to abstract from the negative and change unconscious desires and thoughts.
  3. Positive affirmations increase self-confidence. This is the best way to change yourself, improve and find harmony.
  4. Affirmations replace old unnecessary thoughts. By repeating a few positive affirmations a day, you fill your mind with special thoughts that create desires. The brain perceives a new thought and over time replaces the old one.

How to use affirmations?

The pointless compilation of huge tables of the statements you like will not give any result. It is necessary to repeat sentences regularly for 5 minutes. It is important to say affirmations out loud and clearly. To increase the effect of the method, look at yourself in the mirror during practice.

The advantage of affirmations is that you make positive statements based on your own needs. To do this, you need to fix the area of ​​\u200b\u200blife that does not satisfy you the most. Make a list of your weaknesses that you want to improve. Make positive sentences with these words. It is important that affirmations are positive, only then they will help you work on internal barriers.

Rules for working affirmations:

  1. Run the affirmation through yourself to truly believe it.
  2. Affirmations must be repeated every day.
  3. Sentences should be as simple, specific, and short as possible (“I want to succeed in my career” is better than “I want to become a marketing director”).
  4. Affirmations must be spoken in the first person.
  5. Make affirmations without the “not” particle (“I remember to do urgent things” is better than “I always do important things”).
  6. Reinforce your statements only with positive emotions.
  7. Write sentences in the present tense only.

There are several studies that have confirmed the effectiveness of morning affirmations for working on self-esteem and reducing depressive thoughts. Keep examples of affirmations that work.

To improve self-esteem:

I love myself and accept my strengths and weaknesses as they are.

I feel great.

Problems make me stronger.

To increase self-confidence:

I am confident in myself, in my knowledge and decisions.

I am smart.

I am determined.

For love:

I am open to new acquaintances.

I love my surroundings.

I deserve great and pure love.

To attract money and wealth :

I can find new ways to make money.

I spend money to improve people's lives.

Make your ideal list of positive affirmations that will mean a lot to you. Practice affirmations daily to work through your inner state. In a month you will see the result. And if you want to immerse yourself even more in the study of yourself, your emotions and psychology, take the free online course "Emotional Intelligence".

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