I am by no means a person who spends a set amount of time each day reciting affirmations (if that’s your jam, I salute you! I just cannot get my mind to focus for that long), but I do love affirmations as a powerful, instantaneous tool to shift my mindset when I am feeling low, stressed, or caught in a negative thought spiral.
Affirmations are a clear, positive statement made in the present tense – a declaration to yourself (and the wider Universe, if you believe that) that you are something that you want to be. They are an intentional statement, and often also an expression of gratitude.
Affirmations usually start with “I” or “I am…”. You may have heard of this technique before. “I am” is THE most empowering, intentional statement that you can make because YOU are the one deciding how you want to feel, or be.
Affirmations can seem a little “woo-woo” or too New Age-y for some, but affirmations can actually be used by anyone at any time. They don’t have to have any spiritual attachment, by which I mean you don’t have to buy into the law of attraction theories, or the teachings on manifestation that usually come with any discussion on affirmations. They can simply be an easy, powerful tool to focus your mind, uplift your mindset and alter the energy that you’re carrying in your body.
One of my favourites is the classic “I am beautiful.” Simple, elegant, powerful. So many of us struggle with self-esteem and body image which can make this affirmation hard to say, but when you do look yourself in the eye and tell yourself this, its positive effect can be so uplifting.
I find myself frequently stressed from constantly competing with the clock and so a statement of intent that I first heard from Melissa Ambrosini really brought my awareness to how much I was letting that little round ticker dictate my thoughts. “I move mindfully throughout my day” is now one of my go-to affirmations that reminds me to keep present, stay graceful and check-in with myself frequently throughout the day to see how I feel. I even have it noted on my phone screen. I doesn’t stop me from ever feeling stressed again, but it’s a little habit that is continually enhancing my ability to catch stress when it shows up, and also take preemptive steps against the usual triggers that ignite my stress.
Here are some of my favourite affirmations:
Every day, in every way, my life gets better and better.
I turn every experience into an opportunity to learn, grow and shape the unique person that I am.
I love and honour myself, exactly as I am.
I am a vibrant, healthy and joyful being of light and love. – Miranda Kerr
My life is an adventure and I am open to its richness.
I am grateful for each day.
I am love, I am loving, I am loveable. – Louise Hay
You can of course create you own affirmations. Why not take a deep breath and see what words your soul wants to say to you? But, it is helpful to have some ready and on hand to turn to when you find yourself stressed, or panicked, or when you want to take positive action to empower yourself and your day.
Affirmations don’t just have to be used in response to a feeling or situation you want to change, though. They can be power statements made at the beginning of each day to start yourself off in a good mental space, or at the end of each day for reflection. There is something to be said for cultivating a daily affirmation habit and I have found that it has strengthened my positive and optimistic thought patterns, making them more resilient over the negative and fearful ones.
An app I use is called My Affirmations: Live Positive (free on Android) and each day at a time pre-set by myself, affirmations pop up on my phone. You can use the affirmations already stored within the app, or write your own. Personally, I set mine to pop up at 8pm as a gentle reminder (whether I’ve had a good or difficult day) to smile and notice the positive.
I hope you find affirmations helpful. If you haven’t used them before, I urge you to give it a try and see how they work for you. If you have a favourite affirmation or statement that works for you, share it with us – you never know how something so simple could so profoundly help someone else.