What Are Affirmations, And How Can You Apply Them To Your Life?

Because the bulk of what we do at Silk + Sonder is rooted in positive psychology, we talk about the power of affirmations a lot. While the words "positive affirmations" might conjure up an image of a bunch of post-it notes stuck to a mirror with positive statements like "I learn from my mistakes" and "I can accomplish anything I set my mind to," there's a lot more to affirmations than that (but don't knock the mirror trick until you've tried it!)

There's a good amount of research to back up the fact that the right kind of self-talk can change your life and do quite a bit to reprogram your subconscious mind. But how to affirmations work, exactly, and what should a daily affirmations practice look like? Truth be told, the process is highly individualized — so let's take a look at how you can get started on your own affirmations journey. 

What are positive affirmations?

If you've dabbled in the world of self-help, you've undoubtedly heard of positive affirmations. In the simplest of terms, positive affirmations are positive statements that challenge negative thoughts.  The idea is that, over time, you can reprogram your subconscious mind to let go of the negative beliefs you may hold about yourself, resulting in higher self-esteem and more positive thoughts. 

The law of attraction can help further explain why affirmations work so well. The idea behind the law of attraction is that we attract into our lives what we focus on. Unfortunately, a lot of people are wrapped up in a bit of a comfort zone of negative thoughts, constantly focusing on not being worthy or doubting themselves. 

If you've ever spent days beating yourself up over that one piece of negative feedback from your boss without ever allowing yourself to think about all the positive feedback she's given you, chances are you could be in a bit of a negative self-talk loop. That's OK—you're only human! But in order to make the law of attraction work in your favor, it's important to bring more positivity into your life, and healing affirmations can be an excellent place to start. 

While it would be great if you could spend a few days practicing positive self-talk and watch all your negative thoughts fly out the window, that's not how it works. As with most things, all those positive statements won't "work" unless you do—meaning it's important to cultivate a a positive affirmations practice in the form of daily affirmations. 

How to get started with daily affirmations

As motivational speaker and author Jack Canfield puts it, "daily affirmations are to the mind what exercise is to the body." Think about it like this: If you do yoga once a week, you might end up with a more flexible body and overall calmer mindset a year later. But if you do yoga every day—or even several times a week—you'll likely see more radical changes, and see them happen much more quickly. So if you want to see positive changes in how you think about yourself, you'll want to get started with it sooner rather than later. 

A lot of people get tripped up in the actual format of affirmations, thinking there's only one way to do it. As with most things, you can tailor your affirmation format to what works best for you and your daily life. If sticking affirmations to your mirror and looking at them every day works for you, great. If you'd rather use an affirmation jar and pull them out at a random, that's fine too. An affirmation list works just as well! If you want to text your daily affirmations to a friend you trust (and let them know they can do the same), that's also an excellent option.  

Examples of positive affirmations

Self-help guru Louise Hay is a huge proponent of positive affirmations, believing they can be an excellent way to improve help people start generating happy thoughts and improve self-esteem. She releases different powerful affirmations on her website every day, but also has a huge bank of affirmations to choose from. Here are a few: 

  • "I go beyond barriers to possibilities."
  • "I feel glorious, dynamic energy. I am active and alive."
  • "Today is going to be a really, really good day."
  • "I love every cell of my body." 
  • "Every decision I make is the right one for me."
  • "I am grateful for my healthy body. I love life."
  • "My self-esteem is high because I honor who I am."
  • "I am pain-free and totally in sync with my life." 
  • "I am patient, tolerant and diplomatic."
  • "I rejoice in the love I encounter every day."
  • "I am an open channel for creative ideas."

While Hay's affirmations can be a great place to start, if they don't resonate with you, don't use them — write out affirmations that work for you. The most important thing is that you implement your affirmation practice as often as possible. Why not try it? It might just change your life.

Have you ever tried using positive affirmations? Let us know in the comments. And in the meantime, if you're not a Silk + Sonder subscriber, become one today by clicking here

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