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The power of positive affirmations

We often think - or at least I always thought - that the way we think is something which is fixed. That our thoughts are who we are - our personality that we're born with, something that can't be changed.

As it turns out, we're not born with our thoughts.

The way we think is something we learn over time from the people around us. And the good thing is, just as we learn our thought patterns from the people around us, we can unlearn those thought patterns, and replace them with more positive and helpful thoughts.

Thoughts that help us to become better versions of ourselves. Thoughts that empower us, give us confidence and a give us a greater sense of self-worth. Thoughts that make us kinder, more forgiving, more at peace with ourselves and with others around us.

What are positive affirmations?

Positive affirmations are simply positive statements that you say about yourself, always in the first person, always in the present tense, and always as if they are true for you right now.

Positive affirmations are things such as, 'I can do whatever I set my mind to,'  'I have the courage to chase my dreams,' 'I love myself exactly as I am, right now.'

When you start to really believe and internalise positive affirmations they have the power to make you feel so good about yourself; they can transform a negative inner voice into a positive inner voice; they can boost your confidence and make you feel inspired, and this in turn leads to taking positive action in your actual, real life, outside of your head.

You may be thinking that all of this positive affirmation stuff sounds a bit too simplistic - how can simply saying positive statements make any real, lasting and meaningful change to something as deeply rooted into our being as the way we think?

And you would be right. It's not enough to just say the affirmations.

A seed of belief

Firstly, it's important that there's at least a seed of belief within you when you say an affirmation. For example, let's take the positive affirmation, "I am a money magnet."  You may not feel that this affirmation is true for you in the present moment, but you need to be open to the possibility that it can be true for you; you need to be open to the idea of growing your belief, and growing the strength with which you really feel these words to be true for you.

Importance of daily repetition

Secondly, as is the case with most things in life, to make any sort of meaningful progress you need to be dedicated; you need to keep working with your affirmations in a regular and habitual way. In the same way that a plant needs daily sunshine and water to blossom and grow, positive affirmations need daily contemplation and repetition to grow.

Active engagement

Finally, in order to grow and strengthen the depth of our belief and trust in the affirmations, we need to actively engage with the positive affirmations in different ways. We need to work through each affirmation in a conscious way, dealing with any negativity or resistance which may come up. Below are some of the ways we can engage with and work with positive affirmations.

I bought this cute little lady to decorate my desk.
Plant, water and grow your positive affirmations.

How to work with positive affirmations

1. Listen to audio recordings of positive affirmations

One of the quickest and most simple of ways to get going with positive affirmation work is to listen to audio recordings. There are plenty of audio recordings available on the Internet, and YouTube is a pretty good place to start your search. I'd particularly recommend checking out the Yoga with Kassandra YouTube channel, which has some excellent positive affirmation meditations. Also, anything by Louise Hay would be another good starting point.

The great thing about audio recordings is that they're so easy to integrate into a busy life schedule. Simply put the recordings on in the background whilst doing other things: put them on whilst driving, whilst cooking dinner, whilst taking a bath, whilst falling asleep at night, whilst out walking or jogging, and so on and so forth...

Louise Hay - the queen of positive affirmations

Louise Hay was an American self-help and motivational author, who spoke about the power of a positive mindset. She is considered the original creator of positive affirmations, and I recommend her book, I can do it: how to use affirmations to change your life.

Kassandra Reinhardt - the princess of positive affirmations

If Louise Hay is the queen of positive affirmations, then Kassandra Reinhardt is the princess of positive affirmations.

Kassandra is an online yoga teacher with a hugely popular YouTube channel. Her teaching is heavily influenced by Louise Hay, and a lot of her videos uniquely combine yoga with positive affirmations.

2. Create and record your own positive affirmations

Whilst it's a great first step to listen to recordings created by other people, it's even better to create and record your own unique list of positive affirmations - based on your situation, and the specific goals and outcomes you desire. The more we can personalise the work we're doing, making it unique to our own individual needs, the more we will ultimately gain from the process.

In the video below Kassandra Reinhardt talks about the power of positive affirmations (from 18 minutes and 45 seconds in), and in particular she talks about the effectiveness of recording yourself saying your own positive affirmations (from 20 minutes in). She talks about how it is so much more potent and powerful to hear your own voice stating these positive things, rather than just listening to someone else tell these things to you.

I definitely agree.

Over the last several months I have created and listened to my own recordings of myself saying positive affirmations, and I have found it to be so incredibly powerful; there is something about hearing your own voice talking to yourself, which deeply connects with you, in a way that listening to someone else's voice just can't match.

3. Combine listening to positive affirmations with exercise

Things can be taken up yet another level by combining positive affirmations with exercise.

In the above video Kassandra says, "there's something about being physically active, and getting your endorphins running, and listening to those positive statements, which just makes me feel like I'm on top of the world."

Again, I couldn't agree more with this.

I love listening to my own positive affirmations whilst I'm out walking or jogging.

By combining exercise and positive affirmations, we're learning to associate our positive affirmations with those elevated feelings of wellness and happiness that exercise brings.  

female runner on trail in the forest

4. Combine yin yoga with positive affirmations

Combining yin yoga poses with positive affirmations is a unique way of working, created by Kassandra Reinhardt. Kassandra often says in her yin yoga affirmation videos that, by gradually stretching and opening up our physical body, we're gaining deeper access to the emotional, mental and spiritual layers of our self.

Indeed, it is a widely held belief by yoga practitioners generally, that emotions are stored physically within the body, and that by stretching out those areas of the body where painful or repressed emotions are stored, we can work on releasing those emotions - both physically and mentally.

So when combining yin yoga poses with positive affirmation work, we're working through our emotions on both a mental level and a physical level concurrently.

An example

Let's take the "I am a money magnet" affirmation from above.

Whilst holding your yin yoga pose, you can internally repeat this affirmation to yourself. You can observe how this affirmation makes you feel. Do you really believe that you're a money magnet? Does it make you feel good when you say this affirmation? Or does the affirmation make you feel anxious, tense or fearful in some way? If the affirmation brings up negative thoughts and feelings, it probably means this is an affirmation which needs further work and exploration, to figure out why it makes you feel this way.

The video below is a great introduction to using yin yoga with positive affirmations. It is one of Kassandra's shorter yin yoga videos at only 30 minutes long, and it contains some beautiful affirmations to work with, on the theme of self-love and healing - affirmations such as, "I forgive myself and I set myself free" and "I love every cell of my body."

5. Journaling around affirmations

Journaling is a great way to dig deeper around the affirmations that raise negative thoughts and feelings within you.

I briefly talked about shadow work back in week 23 of my weight loss journey. Well, this 'digging deeper' around affirmations through journaling, is again a form of shadow work, allowing us to bring to the surface any repressed thoughts or feelings, which may be holding us back.

Up until recently I never bothered with journaling; I thought it was enough to just think things through in my head. Now though, I realise there's something immensely powerful about the process of getting thoughts out of the head, and down onto paper.

I now find myself journaling not just around the affirmations I'm working on, but also whenever any feeling of unease or anxiety arises within me. It's amazing how writing things down brings clarity to your thoughts, and helps to release those anxieties.

Personally, I use the free version of Evernote to journal all of my thoughts on my laptop. If you prefer something more traditional though, there are plenty of options on Etsy and Amazon.

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My favourite positive affirmations

Here are a few of my favourite positive affirmations at the moment, which are helping me to be more kind and forgiving towards myself.

I did my best today, and that's enough.

This is something I often say to myself at the end of the day. It is a kind and forgiving statement, which helps me to let go, regardless of how much I got done, or how well I believe things went.

I'm doing really well. Keep going!

This is something I say to myself during those days where I feel like I'm struggling to stay focused and moving forward with things. Perhaps I'm a bit tired and foggy-headed. Perhaps my thoughts aren't flowing. Perhaps my working day just isn't as feeling as productive as I'd like it to be.  

This simple statement helps to keep me in a positive frame of mind at these times, and often, that positive mental nudge is enough to get me back into a good flow with things.

I have more than enough time in my day for all that I need to do.

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with all of the different tasks and activities I have to fit into each day. Feelings of panic and being overwhelmed do absolutely nothing to help me. Those feelings just make it more inevitable that I will be overwhelmed and that I won't get everything done.

Saying the above affirmation at the start of my day helps to calm me down, and slow me down. As soon as I slow my thoughts down, I'm able to move through things in a much more steady, productive and forward flowing manner, usually finding that I do have enough time for everything - as long as I stay calm and focused.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

This is something I love to say to myself as soon as I wake up in the morning. It helps me to start the day full of positive intention, and it 'clears the slate' on any previous days, where perhaps things didn't go as well as I might have hoped.

Admittedly, this one is a lot easier to say with feeling and enthusiasm on the mornings where I've had a great night of sleep, and where I wake up to find the birds singing, and the sun streaming through the bedroom window.

Some mornings I awake after a bad night of sleep, feeling grumpy and tired. On those days, it's more difficult to say this affirmation with the spirit and enthusiasm that it deserves!

I am unique, and it is my greatest strength.

This final affirmation floats through my head a lot at the moment. It reminds me of my own value and self-worth. It reminds me of how important it is to just be authentic and true to who we really are.

Lists of positive affirmations

Below are some lists of positive affirmations grouped into different themes. These affirmation lists should give you a good starting point for creating your own lists of affirmations to work with, tailored to your own unique needs.

1. Positive Affirmations for confidence

  • I influence and engage with others in positive ways.
  • I am confident and successful in everything I do.
  • I believe in myself and my capabilities.
  • I step into my power with confidence and grace.
  • I look in the mirror and LOVE what I see.
  • I inspire others by being myself.
  • I always see the best in myself, and in others.
  • I am wonderful, and I feel great. I am grateful for my life.
  • I have the self-esteem, power, and confidence to move forward in life with ease.

2. Positive affirmations for anxiety

  • I am calm, grounded and making steady progress.
  • I trust in the flow of life.
  • I am steady and focused. I feel more secure each day.
  • I allow myself to be held and supported by the earth and nature.
  • The universe loves me and supports me in every possible way.
  • I breathe deeply, and stay grounded in the present moment.
  • I am not my thoughts; I am the observer of my thoughts.
  • I free myself from worrying about what other people think of me. All that matters is what I think of me.
  • I let go of the need for control and trust that things will turn out for the best.
  • I let go of the need for perfection.
  • This too shall pass.
  • It is OK to ask for help when I need it.
  • I am unafraid of sharing my fears and anxieties; it is a sign of strength to do so.
  • I let go of all fear and doubt, and life becomes simple and easy for me.
  • I realise that stress is only fear. I now release all fears.
  • When I feel tense, I remember to relax all of my muscles, from head to toe, whilst taking slow, deep breaths to ground myself into the present moment.

2. Positive Affirmations for self love

  • I am kind and compassionate.
  • I am in the process of positive change.
  • Every day I am becoming a stronger version of myself.
  • I am worthy of love and joy.
  • I am thankful for all of the love in my life.
  • I am unique, and it is my greatest strength.
  • I choose to feel good about myself every day.
  • I love and accept myself exactly as I am.
  • I love every cell of my body.
  • I radiate love, and love fills my life.
  • The greatest gift I can give myself is unconditional love.

3. Positive affirmations for money

  • I am a money magnet.
  • I am generous with what I have. I love to share and help others.
  • Money flows into my life with ease and abundance.
  • I am in alignment with the energy of abundance, in all it's forms.
  • I am so grateful for all of the wealth and abundance in my life.
  • My wealth and prosperity is growing.
  • I am financially free and independent .
  • I am in alignment with wealth and abundance.
  • My income is constantly increasing.
  • Money is good for me, and everyone in my life.
  • The universe is full of prosperity. There is enough for everyone, including me.
  • Money really does grow on trees.
  • I am deserving of wealth, health and happiness.
  • I am open and receptive to all of the good and abundance in the Universe. Thank you life.
  • I release all resistance to money, and I now allow it to flow joyously into my life.

4. Positive affirmations for sleep

  • I let go of my day and allow myself to rest. Tomorrow is a fresh start.
  • There is nothing more I need to do today. Everything can wait until tomorrow.
  • I did my best today and that's enough.
  • All is well at this moment in time.
  • I allow myself plenty of time to relax and wind down in the evenings. I know that it helps me to sleep so well.
  • Sleep is so good for me. After a night of deep and peaceful sleep, I awake feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
  • I breathe slowly and deeply. I release all physical tension in my body from head to toe. I release my thoughts and I empty my mind.
  • I love the way that my body sinks deeply and effortlessly into my mattress. My mattress holds me and supports me, ready to carry me into a blissful night of sleep, full of fantastical dreams.
  • My bedroom is a calm oasis, where I can let go of my day, relax and bathe myself in deep, uninterrupted sleep.
  • There is no need for me to force anything. When I relax and let go, sleep always comes to me, naturally and with ease.

6. Positive affirmations for weight loss

  • I am healthy.
  • I am becoming more fit and healthy every day.
  • I love every cell of my body.
  • I am constantly discovering new ways to improve my health.
  • I honour and respect my body by replenishing myself with healthy, wholesome foods.
  • I honour my body and take good care of it.
  • I am healthy and it makes me feel so good.
  • I intend to eat healthy, wholesome and balanced meals, accompanied with plenty of water. I do this because I love myself and I honour and respect my body.
  • I have the power within me to succeed.
  • I enjoy the foods that are best for my body.
  • I am the only person who has control over my eating habits. I can always resist something if I choose to.
  • I drink plenty of water to cleanse my body and mind.

5. Morning positive affirmations

  • Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I choose to shine.
  • I have a full day ahead of me; let's see what I can do with it.
  • I am in perfect alignment with all that is good and positive in the world.
  • I am full of energy, focus and determination for the day ahead.
  • There are no limits to what I can achieve today!
  • I take the time to ground myself. I allow clarity to enter my mind and I set an intention for the day ahead.
  • I celebrate my successes every day and I quickly forgive myself for any failures. I am human after all.
  • I am so grateful to be alive with the opportunity of this new day ahead of me.
  • I feel great today! I love my life and I am grateful for everything that I have.

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