What are Positive Affirmations and why are they needed? - Wooyou Box

What are Positive Affirmations and why are they needed?

What makes Positive affirmations so famous? It's all over social media, Pinterest, blogs. Almost everybody in the have heard of positive affirmations and how they change lives.
Telling yourself how awesome you are and that it will make a significant impact on your life, might seem a bit skeptical. But it doesn’t hurt to understand how and why positive affirmations are deemed to be so useful.
We are not making this up! There is genuine theory and a fair amount of neuroscience behind this practice. But how does it work? Read on to find out!

A Definition Of Positive Affirmations
To simply put it, positive phrases and statements that are repeated, to help challenge negative thoughts and encourage positive changes in your life.
Positive affirmations are especially beneficial for people who struggle with negative, self-deprecating thoughts and feelings, Affirmations helps to address and replace such patterns with more positive, adaptive narratives.

Science behind them

A study published in the Neuroscience journal revealed how our brain reacts when we practise affirmations regularly. An evident MRI suggests that practising self-affirmation activates the reward centres in the brain. These areas are the same reward centres that respond to other pleasurable experiences, such as having your favourite dessert or winning a prize.

The lead researcher, Christopher Cascio says, “Many studies have shown that these circuits can do things like dampen pain and help us maintain balance in the face of threats.”

Thus practising self-affirmation does help in activating those areas of the brain that makes you happy and positive.

"It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen."

Mohammad Ali

Difference between Affirmations and Mantras

The terms “affirmation” and “mantra” are regularly used interchangeably. There is a difference, though.

By definition, mantras are sacred words, sounds, or verses that carry more spiritual meaning than affirmations (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019). Frequently recited aloud or internally, they are believed to have deep significance and they feature a lot in meditation and cultures. More specifically, according to Encyclopedia Britannica (2019):

Some mantras have a syntactic structure and literal meaning, while others do not.

In contrast, affirmations have the power to motivate you to act on certain things, help you to concentrate on achieving your goals in life, give you the power to change your negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive thinking patterns, assist you in accessing a new belief system, but above all, affirmations can reaffirm the positivity back into your life and help regain or increase your self-confidence. Having no spiritual or religious meaning in the traditional sense and can be used for many purposes by any individual.


How They Work

Affirmations are a powerful and life changing tool.When you repeat affirming statements daily, you’re helping your brain create a mental image of the goal you’re trying to achieve or the version of yourself you are aspiring to become.

With this mental image, the parts of the brain get activated and react similarly, to when you were to experience the goal you’re trying to achieve in real life. So, simply put, when you repeat affirming statements, you’re encouraging your brain to accept your affirmations as fact. This, in turn, motivates you to take proper action towards your goal.

Positive affirmations are based on science, not magic! In order for positive affirmations to work, you have to take action towards your goal. It’s unreasonable to think you can change aspects of your life by simply repeating a few words. Affirming statements should be viewed as one step towards change, not the actual change itself.

To give an example, let's assume, you are a person who is afraid of public-speaking and when asked to do so, your first reaction is to turn down the opportunity or have an unhealthy reaction to it.

So, what you can do in this situation is repeat a positive affirmation like, “I have the power to remain calm and collected when I feel under stress”.

By repeating the affirmation mentioned above, you might start getting into the habit of taking deep breaths, which can have a notable calming effect. You might also find yourself practicing grounding exercises. Accordingly, you have to combine affirming statements with practical action to make the most out of daily positive affirmations.

Benefits of Positive Affirmations

Repeating self-affirming statements and phrases can offer positive changes, but action towards the change is indispensable. Here are some of the benefits of positive affirmations:

  • Reduced negative thoughts: Most of your thoughts are subconscious, and so by practicing positive affirmations, you start to become more in tune with your thoughts and feelings. This grants you the power to reduce negative thought patterns and negative self-talk.
  • Overcoming bad habits: Self-affirmation can increase physical reactions, especially in the context of positive psychology. Be it procrastination, self-sabotaging, etc you work towards overcoming the habits instead of living with them.
  • Reduced stress: It needs no evidence that positive thoughts can help reduce stress and anxiety. It helps you sleep better, feel more optimistic and energetic.
  • Increased happiness: Practicing self-affirmation helps you become more aware of the things that conflict with your sense of happiness. This helps you discover things that bring you joy and peace.
  • Increased gratefulness: The small details in life often go unnoticed among the big and recurring things. Practicing self-affirmation can help you focus on and be grateful for the small but wonderful things you tend to take for granted.
  • Reinforced positive thinking: Practicing self-affirmation can positively influence the way you think and your overall outlook on life. It in turn, improves your health and personality. It helps you to bring positive changes in your social and personal life as well.
  • Positive Responses: An individual who practices self-affirmation on a daily basis responds to unwanted situations with the intention to change for the better.
  • Increased Productivity: Without negative self-talk holding you down, you focus on what is important and take positive charge towards your goal and finish what you started.

"Nothing can dim the light that shines from within"

Maya Angelo

How to Make the Most of Self-Affirmation

The effectiveness of positive affirmations really boils down to how you use them. Remember, without action affirmations are mere words.That said, here are a few tips that can help you make the most out of this brilliant self-help practice.

Make Them Your Own

While it’s okay to use already available ones on social media and cards, it’s much better to create positive affirmations focussed on your experience and goals.

For example, one person may choose to create positive affirmations fitted to marital life such as honesty and compassion. But another person may decide to devote their affirmations to travel goals.

Keep Your Affirmations Realistic

Shooting for the stars isn’t the way to go when trying self-affirmation. Yes, change is always possible no matter what, but then again, change is tied to action.

If you aim for something that isn’t easily achievable or if your affirming statements are devoted to something that you don’t genuinely believe in, the practice of self-affirmation won’t work.

Set Things in the Present

When practicing self-affirmation, it’s necessary to carry out the practice as if you’ve already achieved the goal.

The purpose of practicing self-affirmation is to boost your confidence and your belief in what you can do in this very moment, not in the future.

Practice Self-Affirmation Daily

Self-affirmation doesn’t work unless it’s practiced regularly, so you should strive to make it a habit. When you’re starting out, try repeating your affirmations after you wake up and before you go to bed. 3-5 minutes should be enough.

If you are working on affirmations with someone, possibly ask them to repeat affirmations with you. This will reinforce the bond you have with them and motivate you further.

Be Patient

Lastly, it’d be best if you were patient with your practice. Rome wasn't built in a day! Expecting change after repeating your positive affirmations a few times isn’t realistic. Instead, stick with the practice, and give it time.

Take away

The practice of self-affirmation tied with actions propels you towards your goals. By repeating positive affirmations on a daily basis, you rewire your brain and create a mental image of what you’re trying to achieve or become.

Positive daily affirmations offer many benefits, from reduced negative thoughts and stress to increased self confidence. So, be patient and consistent with the practice, and you’ll start noticing results sooner than expected!

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