Positive affirmations have become really popular, especially with the rise of social media.
You’ve probably seen Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts that quote positive affirmations.
Often, these quotes are accompanied with a message that instructs you to repeat the affirmations and it will change your life.
You may have even tried repeating positive affirmations and seen some results, but what are these magic words that claim to transform your mind and your life?
As it turns outs, there’s a lot of science to back up exactly how a set of positive words can totally improve your mind and body.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what positive affirmations are and how they work. We’ll explain the ways you can use them in your life to create wealth, love, physical well-being and so much more.
Finally, we’ll instruct you on the best practices to use them in your life, including how to create your own positive affirmations for any situation.
Click here for a list of "80 powerful positive affirmations".
Positive affirmations are so much more than just feel good quotes and positive statements.
In short, positive affirmations are statements that are spoken, and often repeated, to encourage and uplift the person speaking them.
In reality, a positive affirmation is actually the language of the brain.
We’ll explain more about this in the next section, but for now, let’s look at the elements that make up a positive affirmation.
There are a lot of books and websites that claim to list positive affirmations.
You’ll often see huge lists like “100 Positive Affirmations,” but be careful before repeating those affirmations to yourself in the mirror each morning.
Because positive affirmations are the language of the brain, they follow a specific formula.
3 Elements Of Affirmations
If you come across a quote on the internet or in a book that claims to be a positive affirmation, but doesn’t follow this formula, your brain won’t register the thought accurately.
It turns out, our brains are pretty strict and straightforward about their language rules.
1) Positive affirmations are always in the present tense. If you see a positive affirmation that says “I will,” “I used to” or “I’m going to,” move on. Your brain only responds to present tense statements.
2) Positive affirmations only include positive words. If you see a positive affirmation that has words like “don’t,” “can’t” or “won’t,” it’s not a statement you’ll want to repeat. It takes your brain a lot of extra work to get past negative statements and transform them into positive ones.
3) Positive affirmations are spoken as statements of fact and truth. Statements that contain words like “might” and “could” aren’t nearly as powerful as statements that contain words like “am” and “do.”
Don’t worry, we aren’t going to get super scientific or technical here.
There’s plenty of research out there, if you’re curious.
Instead, we’re going to explain how your brain communicates.
It does so in a very specific way, and understanding this can help your positive affirmations become more effective and powerful.
Your brain is a complex and complicated network of information that is always sending and receiving thoughts and instructions at lightning speed.
Every simple action you take is really a set of complicated communications between cells called neurons.
Because of the amount of information your brain has to process every single second, it takes everything you think and say in a very literal way. When you understand how this literal communication works, you begin to see how this affects your emotions, behaviors and even physical well being.
The brain doesn’t communicate in future or past-tense.
Everything that happens is happening in the moment for your brain.
When you think a thought, your brain processes the information literally and prepares you for the action that should immediately follow the thought.
For example, if you think to yourself, “I’m going to have a great time on my date this weekend,” your brain essentially hears “good date” and starts firing off all the connections to make your date amazing.
The problem is, it starts firing off those connections in the moment.
You may get a boost of confidence and even start sending off some sexy pheromones, but it will be in that moment, right then and there.
This effect is highlighted when you start to fear something that might happen in the future.
Have you ever thought about why you can have such a strong physical reaction to things you know are fake?
Take a scary movie for instance.
Your heart may pound and you might even sweat and feel dizzy.
This happens because your brain can’t tell the difference between what you’re experiencing right now and what you’re imagining you might experience in the future.
Your brain reacts to your thoughts in a very literal way in the present moment and prepares you for the perceived danger.
This is why it’s really important that your positive affirmations are always in the present tense.
“I will do great in my job interview” tells your brain to set you up for success now, but not in the future.
“I am a great interviewer. I am a great employee.” strengthens the neural connections that make you feel confident, determined and prepared for your interview.
Have you ever had an experience where you’re overcome with emotion, so you tell yourself “Don’t cry” or “Don’t get angry,” only to find you become more upset?
There are actually two things happening in the brain that make phrases like “don’t cry” increase your negative emotions.
First, when you tell yourself “don’t cry,” you are giving your brain 2 commands. The first command is don’t and the second is cry.
You can process the two words together and understand the meaning, but your brain hears the word “cry” and begins to activate the neural connections for that command. In the end, you’re essentially telling yourself to cry, over and over again.
Second, a simple command like “cry” takes one small process for your brain to interpret.
It’s straightforward and simple.
A command like “don’t cry” takes some interpretation.
While your brain is busy firing off the processes to follow the command “cry,” it’s also going through a multi-step process of following the “don’t” command and then negating the entire command of “don’t cry.”
Unfortunately, after all that work, you haven’t given your brain an action to take instead of crying.
It searches for something else to do, but you haven’t told it what to do. Next time you’re in a situation where you want to experience the opposite emotion, think of that opposite emotion and command yourself to do that instead.
Instead of “don’t cry” try “I am calm” and see what happens!
With all this talk of the strict rules and patterns of your brain, you may start to feel a little annoyed with how literal your brain can be.
You know what the command “Don’t cry when he breaks up with you” means, so why can’t your brain just follow the command?
Though it seems like an annoyance, these systems and processes are actually in place to help you better achieve your goals.
The world is full of sensory information that, frankly, is of no use to you. If you had to consciously and actively process every piece of information that comes toward you, and then try to make a decision and take an action, you’d be completely overwhelmed.
Your brain has an autopilot function that filters information and guides your actions so you don’t have to.
It’s actually an incredibly helpful process.
If you’re hungry, you don’t have to think about every sound, smell and sight in your environment and think about whether it’s food or not.
Instead, your brain senses the hunger and filters out the junk. In turn, potential food sources stand out to you.
When you drive down a busy street, you probably don’t notice every single store and business, but when you’re hungry, you probably notice most of the restaurants.
That’s this system at work.
If You Don’t Consciously Decide, Something Else Will
Because your brain is constantly looking for clues to filter your environment and guide your actions, it will pick up on any available influence.
This could mean all the subconscious fears and doubts you haven’t dealt with or even messages in your environment.
Luckily, you have a lot of control in this process.
Your brain is eager to set you up for success, all you have to do is instruct it. This is why positive affirmations are so powerful.
Your brain is always looking for a command, and if you can clearly give it one - in the language it speaks - it will activate everything you need to make your wildest dreams come true.
Repetition is the Key to Success
To understand how positive affirmations work and why they’re an excellent tool for creating the life you want to live, it’s important to understand why repetition is so important.
As you start using positive affirmations, you may feel like repeating them over and over again is a waste of time.
If the brain responds to positive, present tense statements, then why is it necessary to repeat them several times every single day?
Your brain is a creature of habit.
The processes inside your brain are set up to help you succeed.
To run efficiently, your brain strengthens its connections every time you think, feel and do.
This helps you perform tasks with less energy and more focus.
Think about driving a car or riding a bike.
It can be awkward at first, when you're learning, but after you figure it out, it comes naturally.
This is because your brain strengthens those connections every time you repeat the action and thoughts.
You probably know how to ride a bike or drive a car.
If you don’t, there’s likely something else you’ve learned that comes completely naturally to you now. Anything you want can come that naturally to you through the use of repeated positive affirmations.
Break the Tension
Many times, positive affirmations can feel like lying to yourself.
If you’re not happy with your weight, repeating the phrase, “I love my body” and “I maintain the perfect weight” may feel like outright lies.
For many people, this is where affirmations take a wrong turn.
It seems unnatural to repeat something that is completely untrue.
Because of this you may be tempted to change your affirmation into a more comfortable phrase like “I can lose weight” or “I can keep up with my diet.”
These affirmations won’t be effective for all the reasons we discussed above, but there’s also something else to be said for the discomfort of repeating a false phrase.
We don’t like tension.
Most of our life is spent avoiding, preventing and fixing discomfort.
So, it’s no wonder that people use ineffective affirmations, because effective affirmations are often uncomfortable.
Yet, it is exactly this discomfort that makes them work so well.
When you come across an affirmation that makes you squirm in discomfort, it’s a good sign that it’s probably exactly the affirmation you need to repeat.
If you feel uncomfortable about lying to yourself, you’ll want to fix it.
You’ll either change the affirmation to make it comfortable, or you’ll change your lifestyle and habits to make the affirmation true.
The latter action is the response that will completely transform your life for the better!
What Can Positive Affirmations Help You With?
You can use positive affirmations to accomplish anything imaginable.
Most people use positive affirmations to shift their attitudes about themselves.
Confidence and Self-Esteem are certainly the number one reasons people use positive affirmations, but you don't have to limit yourself to these uses.
With positive affirmations, you can:
- Manifest more money
- Attract romance
- Create positive relationships
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
By training your brain to get used to a thought, emotion or behavior, you set yourself up for success.
This success can come from any part of your life.
Though there are excellent resources that list positive affirmations, including the list featured at the end of this article, you may way to create affirmations that are specific to your situation.
Whatever it is you’re looking to achieve, attract or manifest, be sure to use the language of the brain that we spoke about earlier.
1) Make sure your affirmation only contains positive words. If your affirmation contains “don’t,” “can’t” or “won’t,” reframe the affirmation to affirm what you’re trying to achieve.
2) Make sure your affirmation is in the present tense, even if it is untrue. The discomfort you feel will motivate you to change.
Even if you’re not rich, repeating “I’m wealthy. I have plenty of money.” is a great affirmation to propel you toward financial success.
3) Be relevant. If you’re creating an affirmation for a specific situation, think about the things you want to achieve.
If you want to give a great job interview, think about what that entails. Does giving a good job interview mean you’re confident, experienced, likable and successful?
Create affirmations using those qualities in the present tense. Don’t say “I will give a great interview,” say, “I am confident, experienced, likable and successful. Everyone notices these qualities.”
4) Repeat your affirmation. There’s no formula for how often or how many times you should repeat a positive affirmation.
Many people set a routine that works for them, like repeating the affirmation 20 times, 3 times a day.
As long as you are focused when you repeat it, and you repeat it frequently, it will be successful.
A good rule of thumb is to repeat the affirmation for at least 5 minutes, 3 times each day.
5) Empower your affirmation with physical touch. You can supercharge your affirmations by tapping on the back of your hand or gently caressing where you feel negative emotion.
For example, if you want to lose weight, think about your unhappiness with your weight.
Where do you feel it at in your body? If you feel a sinking sensation in your stomach, you can gently rub your stomach while you repeat the affirmation.
Tapping any part of your body works the same way.
This creates a muscle memory attached to the feeling and thought. Whenever you repeat that physical action, your brain and body will remember the positive affirmation.
20 Positive Affirmations for Work
These positive affirmations can help you clarify and obtain your career goals. If you’re looking to improve your overall job performance, find a new job, change careers or even improve relationships with clients and coworkers, you can use the affirmations below.
- I further my career with every action I take.
- I have my dream job.
- I love every day that I work.
- My career brings me closer to my family.
- My job brings me financial abundance.
- My coworkers love being around me.
- My boss values the work I do.
- I am a valued employee.
- My clients appreciate and value my work.
- I attract new clients every day.
- My positive attitude, confidence and hard work naturally draws in new opportunities.
- I am enthusiastic and excited about my work.
- My enthusiasm about my job is contagious.
- My workplace is peaceful and full of love.
- I make decisions easily.
- I speak positively about my coworkers and they respond by speaking positively about me.
- I am rewarded for doing my best.
- I engage in healthy stimulation during my breaks.
- I eat healthy, nutritious food during my lunch break and my body is grateful, granting me energy and good health in return.
- I radiate success.
20 Positive Affirmations for Love
Whether you want to improve the romantic relationship you’re already in, or you want to attract your soulmate, positive affirmations can prepare and guide you towards healthy, happy partnerships.
- I radiate love and others reflect love back to me.
- I am loving and lovable.
- I am attractive.
- My romantic relationship is healthy, long-lasting and full of love.
- My partner is kind, compassionate and understanding.
- My partner is very physically and spiritually attracted to me.
- I am with my soulmate and we share a life full of love.
- Life is full of love and I find it everywhere I go.
- My relationship is divine, and my partner and I are perfectly matched.
- There is a deep understanding between my partner and I.
- Forgiveness and compassion is the foundation of my romantic relationship.
- It is easy for me to look in the mirror and say, “I love you.”
- My words are always kind and loving, and in return, I hear kindness and love from others.
- Every day of my life is filled with love.
- All communication between my partner and I is loving and kind.
- Everything about me is lovable and worthy of love.
- I am with my soulmate because I am a loving, kind person who deserves true love.
- I wake up every morning filled with joy, because I know that I face each day with the support and love of my partner.
- My partner finds my sexy because (he/she) is attracted to every part of me.
- All of my relationships are healthy because they are based in love and compassion.
20 Positive Affirmations for Weight Loss
Easy access to unhealthy foods has created an epidemic around the world. The temptation to choose convenience over health is difficult to overcome.
Many people struggle with weight-loss, going back and forth between diets, but never finding success.
If that’s you or you’re simply looking to improve your diet and overall health, these affirmations are for you.
- I love everything about my body.
- I am grateful for how effectively and efficiently my body works.
- I accept the shape of my body and I find it beautiful and appealing.
- I only make healthy and nourishing eating choices.
- I take care of my body and exercise every day.
- My body is healthy and full of energy.
- My body is filled with healing energy every time I inhale.
- I am very grateful and happy that I weigh ___ (fill in with desired weight).
- I crave healthy, nutritious foods.
- I love the taste of fruits and vegetables.
- I am in love with every cell in my body.
- I radiate confidence and others respect me.
- Others find me sexy and desirable.
- I am filled with excitement when I look in the mirror.
- I am filled with love, hope and confidence.
- I greet each second of life with enthusiasm and hope.
- I am grateful for the life force and energy that runs through my body.
- Every action I take increases my confidence.
- Everything I think, say and do makes me healthier.
- I feel safe and comfortable in my body.
20 Positive Affirmations for Everyday Life
Who doesn’t want every day to be filled with happiness and excitement for life.
That attitude may seem hard to come by right now, but practice some of these daily affirmations and watch how they transform your everyday experiences.
- I wake up happy and excited every single day.
- Each day of my life is filled with joy and love.
- I am enthusiastic about every second of my life.
- Everything I do is fun, healthy and exciting.
- I am a beacon of love and compassion.
- Everyone sees how much joy and love I have for life.
- I crave new, healthy experiences.
- All of my relationships are positive and filled with love and compassion.
- I see others as good people who are trying their best.
- I find opportunities to be kind and caring everywhere I look.
- I easily accomplish all of my goals.
- I only desire things that are healthy for me.
- I instantly manifest my desires.
- My life is full of magic and serendipity,
- My thoughts and feelings are nourishing.
- I am present in every moment.
- I see beauty in everything.
- People treat me with kindness and respect.
- I am surrounded by peaceful people.
- My environment is calm and supportive.