4 Ways Positive Affirmations Work - For Real!
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.” Henry Ford
It blows my mind when people say that positive affirmations or positive thinking don't work. Sure, if your expectation is that all you have to do is say “I have a million dollars” or “I am completely healthy” and poof it comes true, then of course affirmations "don't work". The key to being successful with affirmations is in understanding how they do work.
4 Ways Positive Affirmations Work:
#1. Clarifying Your Intentions
Using simple, powerful affirmations can help define your intentions with precision, clarity, and focus. For example, you have decided that you want to change careers. You think about it often, but you haven't pinpointed exactly what you want with ultra clarity.
An affirmation can provide this clarity and give you the language to define your goals or intentions as in, "I am creating a career that is enjoyable, inspiring and rewarding on all levels." Now you have actual words to define what it is that you want for yourself and a personal motto or mantra that you can depend on to help you keep focused. The affirmation is helping you to become clear in setting your intentions as well helping to keep you focused on your intentions.
#2 First Line Of Defense
Once you are clear about your intentions for what you want to create for yourself and you have identified some affirmations that clearly express your intentions, the next step it to start drilling them into your mind. Think of it as boot camp for your mind. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
When you use affirmations repetitively, you begin to memorize these ideas so that they become part of your natural thinking patterns. If and when negative thoughts creep in you now have the first line of defense ready. For example, the thought,"There's no way I can do this.", can be followed up by "I am totally adequate for all situations" or simply, "I can do this.". It's impossible to think more than one thought at a time, so you can actively think the affirmation over and over again in order to keep the negative thought from bringing you down.
#3 Programming The Subconscious Mind
Repeating affirmations also helps to program the deeper subconscious mind with these positive ideas and beliefs. The subconscious mind is responsible for most of our life experience. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the subconscious mind is in alignment with the intentions that you set for yourself. You can help program the subconscious mind by repeatedly saying, reading, hearing, or even writing affirmations.
Everyone's subconscious programming is unique, so it's definitely possible that some affirmations may not have enough impact to make the changes happen on their own, but that doesn't mean they aren't helping. If your affirmations aren't creating change, then there's more work to be done in addition to using the affirmation, not instead of using affirmations. Usually, this means that there are deeper and stronger subconscious beliefs that are in conflict with the affirmation that needs to be addressed. Using a tool like EFT Tapping or Guided Meditation (a form of hypnotherapy) can transform your subconscious beliefs to get them working for you rather than against you.
#4 Affirmations Help Identify Deeper, Negative Thoughts
Perhaps most importantly, using positive affirmations can actually help you to identify your deeper thoughts that contradict the affirmation. In fact, many people believe that affirmations don't work because of these deeper, subconscious thoughts that may be stronger than the affirmations themselves. But, they are missing the point.
If you pay close attention to your thoughts especially after you say a positive affirmation, you can identify these deeper, negative thoughts. For example, if I say the affirmation, "I appreciate my body and all the good things it does for me“, a negative follow-up thought could be "I am so fat". It is the "I'm so fat" that is my true affirmation, rather than the positive one. In order to make a real, positive change in the way you think and feel about yourself, it is imperative that you address the negative, habitual thoughts that you have.
But, the first step to eliminating negative thought patterns is to identify them and affirmations can help you do that. As we discussed earlier, using affirmations repetitively in some cases can be enough to override the deeper negative thought patterns and help you to create positive changes for yourself. However, if they are not making a big difference, there are many other powerful ways to do eliminate negative thought patterns like EFT Tapping, hypnotherapy, or guided meditation.
You can learn more about those here. Let us know in the comment section if affirmations have helped you - we would love to hear from you!
Get after it,
Amy Ash, Founder of SoulStarter.com
Amy Ash is an EFT Tapping Coach + Hypnotherapist who helps people who aren't satisfied with their current situation create a life that truly fulfills them by aligning their mind and energy systems with their unique gifts and purpose.
- amy ash