What we all need right now, but are missing, is the ability within ourselves to find comfort within discomfort. In our culture, we’ve been taught that there are negative and positive emotions, and we should avoid anything that feels negative. But the reality is, all emotions serve a purpose. They were built into humans to provide information. With our world and safety in flux and any sense of “normal” a distant memory, positive affirmations can be a resource to help you find peace within discomfort. Based on my experience as a psychotherapist and a regular human being, denying our reality can worsen things. We all benefit when our true feelings are acknowledged instead of suppressed.
Validating uncomfortable feelings may seem counter-intuitive, but when we give “air time” to our negative feelings, it can feel cathartic. On the flip side, it’s essential to share the airwaves evenly with the positive thoughts and emotions we feel in our life. Contrary to popular opinion, suffering in life cannot be avoided. When we spend too much time fighting against and avoiding difficult emotions, those emotions take up more space in our brains, not less.
One tool to help give “air time” to your positive thoughts and feelings is creating an affirmation or mantra. Affirmations are much more than just telling yourself to “think positive.” Affirmations are a step-by-step reprogramming of the automatic negative thoughts in our brains and create neural pathways towards lasting emotional resilience.
So, what is an affirmation any way?
Affirmations are short, encouraging sentences we choose to recite out loud, on paper, or in our minds, that shore up inner strength within ourselves during times of stress or fear. You must choose a statement that feels authentic in your heart. Affirmations are not about denying experiences but finding supportive beliefs or desires and then implementing that thought consistently in your life.
If you want to make an impact with affirmations, I suggest taking 10 minutes out of your day to recite your favorites and don’t be afraid to create new ones on the spot. There are no hard rules. You can see where your brain leads you when using the formula below.
When an affirmation works, we gather real-life examples our brain can use as evidence that success IS possible, which changes the way we think. I find that this tool can work magic at home and work. When we challenge our thoughts with evidence that a positive result is possible, it can stop negative thinking in its tracks!
I encourage you to try my affirmation formula below and see if it works for you. It may not work for everyone, but there’s a good chance it will work for many of us! Tip: Visualizing yourself completing a challenge or overcoming adversity will make the affirmation more powerful.
THE AFFIRMATION FORMULA
The first step is picking an affirmation or mantra that resonates with you. Try filling in the blanks below to find a sentence that feels powerful to you.
“I am committed to___________ because I deserve ________________.”
My favorite is “I am committed to accepting my feelings because I deserve peace.”
Other, more traditional forms of an affirmation are:
I am the sky; everything else is the weather.
I can do this
You are more powerful than you know
I will persist
I can do hard things
Why You Need To Practice Affirmation?
Next, create an opportunity or notice an occasion when you are becoming frustrated with your inability to complete a task.
Put a timer on your phone and, for one minute, recite your affirmation. Then, begin the task again and see if you improve.
The research is detailed that affirmations are a useful tool for improving emotional well-being and self-empowerment. Many athletes, including the great Michael Jordan, are famously known for using affirmations and visualization to stay at the top of their profession for many years. Jordan is a testament to the incredible but straightforward power of using our thoughts and mental imagery to achieve success.
If this still seems like just positive thinking to you, it might help to think of affirmations like weight lifting exercise. Affirmations are not only positive thinking but are like doing reps in the gym for our brainpower! The more “reps” we complete, the stronger the neural pathways to change become.
Practicing your affirmations during times of mild frustration will deepen your commitment to perseverance.
Give it a shot and let me know if it works! Feel free to share if it fails too. I want to hear all about it. Failing means you tried something new, and at the very least, you’ve learned what doesn’t work, which is useful information to have.
- What is Affirmation? Why You Need to Practice Affirmation Daily - August 19, 2020