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What Are Positive Affirmations? & How to Use Them For Growth

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Positive affirmations are nothing new in the world of self-development. They've been gaining in popularity recently. And they can be used for any area of your life. But they can also seem a bit awkward, especially if you’ve never tried them or are skeptical towards most self-help techniques. 

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Studies show that positive affirmations can improve productivity and mindset. (Image source: Envato Elements)

In this article, we’ll explore what positive affirmations really are. We'll learn the benefits of incorporating them into your daily life and the psychology behind them. Plus, you'll discover how to create your own set of positive daily affirmations and use them successfully. 

What Are Positive Affirmations?

Positive affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge, reframe, and overcome negative and self-sabotaging thoughts. Practicing positive affirmations is simple. When you take the time every day to say them, you can start seeing a positive change. 

You can use positive daily affirmations to:

In essence, positive affirmations are like exercise for your brain. Just like the exercise routine can help you get toned and muscular, consistent repetition of positive daily affirmations can help you reframe your negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive ones. 

If this sounds a bit odd, rest assured there's no magic involved in positive affirmations. But there's quite a bit of science behind them. 

The Science Behind Positive Affirmations

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There's scientific evidence that positive affirmations can work. (Image source: Envato Elements)

There are several scientific theories and research that shows positive self-affirmations actually produce results. Here are just a few of them:

1. Self-Affirmation Theory

Perhaps most interesting is the psychological theory of self-affirmation formed by Claude Steele in 1988

According to the self-affirmation theory, when our self-image is threatened we become motivated to affirm the integrity of the self and restore our general self-image. We can restore self-image by affirming an equally important, yet unrelated, aspect of the self.

Finally, according to self-affirmation theory we maintain our self-integrity by acting in a way that's worthy of acknowledgement and praise. We don’t go around saying good things about ourselves because we want praise. Rather, we say it because we want to deserve that praise through our actions.

2. Global Image Theory

Another theory by Cohen and Sherman says that self-affirmation helps us maintain a global image of ourselves. This global image makes up our self-identity. But our self-identity isn't a fixed, immutable concept. 

Rather, we're perfectly capable of seeing ourselves as adopting a wide range of different identities and roles. As such, we can see various aspects of ourselves as becoming more positive which allows us to better adapt to different situations

Remember that maintaining our self-identity isn't about being perfect. It’s more about being competent in various areas of our lives that we personally consider important. 

What About Research?

Thanks to the development of self-affirmation theory, research has been done to investigate whether any change occurs in the brain when we use self-affirmation. The research found MRI evidence that suggests certain neural pathways are increased when we self-affirm. 

Specifically, the part of our brain that’s responsible for positive valuation and processing self-related information becomes more active when we engage in self-affirmation talks. 

Benefits Of Using Positive Affirmations Daily

Now that you know what positive affirmations are and the science behind them, let’s talk about the benefits that positive daily affirmations can have on your mental wellbeing. 

  • Positive affirmations can help you perform better at work. If you engage in positive thinking even for just a couple of minutes before a high-pressure meeting, you can calm your nerves, boost your confidence, and have higher chances of a successful outcome. 
  • Engaging in positive self-talk can also mitigate the negative side effects of stress. One study showed that a brief self-affirmation exercise increased the ability to problem solve in chronically stressed people to the same level of people who have low stress levels.
  • Positive self-affirmations can also help you overcome low self-esteem, cope with depression as well as other mental health conditions. 
  • Besides that, self-affirmation has been linked to having a positive impact on academic achievement by lessening the decline in GPA in students who feel left out at college.

The above are just some examples of how positive affirmations can benefit us in our daily life. There are many other examples in this article by Critcher and Dunning from 2015. It talks about how self-affirmation can help us foster a better sense of self-concept.

Examples of Positive Affirmation Statements

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Starting the day with positive thoughts can provide a boost in productivity and mindset. (Image source: Envato Elements)

As you can see, positive self-affirmations can indeed help us reframe negative thinking patterns. But what do positive affirmations sound like? Here are a few examples of positive daily affirmations that you can use for various aspects such as mindset, career, stress and anxiety, confidence, and more.

1. Improving Your Mindset and Outlook

  1. Today is going to be amazing.
  2. Good things are coming into my life. 
  3. I'm confident that everything will work out. 
  4. I choose to remain positive and optimistic. 
  5. I choose to focus on the positive every day. 

2. Boosting Self-Esteem

  1. I love who I am.
  2. I accept myself fully.
  3. I let go of negative thoughts towards myself.
  4. I'm always working towards bettering myself. 
  5. I let go of what I can't change.

3. Managing Anxiety and Stress

  1. I'm getting better at calming down.
  2. I can have a bad day while having a good life.
  3. I'm mentally strong enough for anything that comes my way.
  4. I'm doing the absolute best I can.
  5. I've got the ability to conquer my anxiety.

4. Increasing Productivity

  1. I'm ready for another great productive day. 
  2. I've got good work habits. 
  3. I get things done. 
  4. I make efficient and effective use of my time. 
  5. I'm up for the task.

5. Boosting Career and Academic Achievement

  1. I'm great at my job. 
  2. I strive for progress not perfection. 
  3. I'm on my way to reaching my goals. 
  4. Learning is my superpower. 
  5. I'm a good student and getting better every day.

6. Health and Wellbeing

  1. I'm grateful for the health I have.
  2. My body is strong. 
  3. I let go of emotions that create bad healthy habits. 
  4. I'm making better decisions about what I eat and drink. 
  5. I choose to make exercise a part of my routine. 

How to Get Started With Positive Daily Affirmations

Now that you’ve seen examples of positive affirmations, let’s talk about how to write a positive affirmation for yourself. After all, the best positive self-affirmations are those that are specific to your situation. 

The most important thing to remember is that positive affirmations should target one specific area of your life or one specific belief or thought. That said, here are a few tips that'll help you write your own affirmation statements: 

  1. Make a list of the areas of your life that you’d like to improve or change. Are you dealing with a lot of stress? Maybe you’d like to improve your health? Or perhaps you want to see more growth in your career or business?
  2. Think about the areas you’ve listed and note down your current thoughts and behaviors that are related to them.  
  3. Reframe any negative thought into a positive one. If you’re looking at a behavior, write down a positive statement that'll encourage you to take action and change that behavior. 
  4. Base your affirmations in reality. For example, if you’ve been leading a mostly inactive lifestyle, don’t write an affirmation about running a 10K marathon. Start small, for example: “I love the feeling exercise gives me”. 
  5. Write your affirmations in present tense, as if they're already happening. This tricks your brain into believing that the statement is true now. For example, if you’re about to give a presentation, you might use affirmations such as: I'm an excellent speaker. I give excellent presentations. I'm well-prepared.
  6. Say it with conviction. Your affirmations will be more powerful if you say them with emotion and believe that they'll contribute positively to the change in your life. 

Incorporate Positive Affirmations In Your Daily Life

Once you’ve written a set of positive affirmation statements for yourself, you need to incorporate them into your daily routine. Otherwise, your hard work will be for naught. Here are a few tips to help you: 

  • Write your affirmations on a sticky note and place them all around your house. Whenever you walk by that area, stop and say your affirmation out loud. 
  • Tape a sticky note with your affirmation on the monitor. 
  • Set a reminder to practice your affirmations during your morning or your evening routine. 
  • Recite your affirmations in the morning as you get ready for work. Look at yourself in a mirror — also called mirror work, which is a technique described by Louise Hay (positive affirmations expert).

5 Positive Affirmations Tools and Apps

Writing affirmation statements specific to your needs and lifestyle is great. But after a while, you might start to feel like you’re too repetitive. Or maybe you want an easier way of making sure that you actually practice them. That’s where positive affirmation tools and apps can come in handy. 

1. ThinkUp

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ThinkUp is an iOS app that you can use to have positive affirmations delivered to you daily. You can choose from hundreds of self-affirmations written by experts. You can even record your own affirmations. The app has a free version that allows you to record up to three affirmations. Premium version starts at $7.99/mo. 

2. I am - Daily affirmations 

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The I am app is available for both Android and iOS devices. It's got a huge range of affirmations for different areas of your life. You can also create a personalized mix of affirmations for many areas. The affirmations will show up as notifications on your phone throughout the day. The app has a free and a premium version starting at $12.99/mo.

3. Louise Hay Affirmations

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From the world-renowned expert in positive affirmations comes the Louise Hay Affirmations app. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices and comes loaded with affirmations for health, love, success, and self-esteem. The app is free. 

4. Bmindful

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If you’d rather have a web version, the bmindful website is the perfect place to start. You’ll get access to dozens of affirmations that you can add to your collection. It’s free to sign up and create your account. 

5. Five Minute Journal

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Five Minute Journal isn't a positive affirmation tool per se. It’s a journaling app for practicing gratitude. It also has dedicated space for writing your own affirmations as part of your daily journaling routine. Definitely worth a look if you already journal regularly. 

Create Your Own Affirmation Cards With Envato Elements

By now, you know what positive affirmations are and you've got a list of tools and resources that can help you incorporate them into your daily life. But what if you wanted more personal affirmations, tailored to your unique needs? 

You can easily create your own affirmation cards, posters, printables, and more with a subscription to Envato Elements. It's a premium marketplace with thousands of different creative assets. You can download PowerPoint presentations, stock photos, fonts, graphic elements, icons, and more for a low monthly fee. 

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What’s even better, your Envato Elements subscription comes with unlimited downloads. So, you can let your creativity loose until you find the perfect set of creative assets to create your special affirmation cards. Sign up for Envato Elements and start downloading. 

Make Positive Affirmations a Part of Your Daily Routine

Positive affirmations can be a useful tool to help you reduce and cut negative self-talk. Whether you want to improve your confidence or build a more positive outlook on life, you can come up with positive self-affirmations to help you do so. 

And if you want to design your own set of printable affirmation cards, check out Envato Elements and everything that’s available to you when you sign up for a subscription. 

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