Affirmations and Positive Thinking

affirmation, affirmations, positive thinking, mindset, positive, happiness

What are the voices in your head telling you? Are they motivating you with encouragement and pushing you toward your goals or are they putting you down? These negative voices have been ingrained in our minds over time are slowly picking away at your self-esteem. Your inner critic is programming you with negative self-talk producing self-fulling prophecies that hinder your achievements and are setting you up for failure – because “how can you succeed if you’ve already told yourself you’ll fail?”  

Luckily you can fight back against these negative thoughts with positive affirmations. It’s time to stop that negative voice and replace it with one that will push you further, try harder, and feel happier.

What are Affirmations?

The use of affirmations is the practice of using positive thinking to increase self empowerment and motivation. An affirmation is a specific statement that assists you in overcoming negative thoughts and self sabotage. Affirmations and positive thinking has been used to fight against depression, low-self esteem, and other mental health conditions with success. One study found that using positive affirmations “significantly increased scores on self-esteem and decreased depression scores” (1).

Positive affirmations is one method of positive thinking and changing your mindset. Affirmations might not be for everyone, some see the practice as as too “New Age”, but for others including business leaders and top athletes the practice can bring amazing results, however your results will be based on your own mindset. If you start this practice believing it’s a waste of time – it will be for YOU. On the other hand if you believe it will bring you positive thoughts – it will!

Affirmations are exercises for your mind. You are repeatedly working your brain to improve it’s performance and function. Like any type of exercise it will take time, but the results can be truly amazing.

Create your own Affirmations

Affirmations are flexible and best when they are as personal as possible. Work on creating a list of 10 to 20 positive affirmations covering all the important aspects of your life.

  1. Affirmations should be short, simple, and direct.
  1. Affirmations must be in the present tense “I am…” or present progressive tense “I am becoming…”.
  1. Keep away from negatives. Don’t use statements such as, “I’m NOT perfect”, instead use wording like, “It’s OK to make mistakes.”
  1. Believe in the Statement – You must have some belief in the statement. If you are still far from your goal or the change scares you add a modifier. “I’m a confident person,” might be too far of a stretch for you, so make the change, “I’m becoming a confident person.” Willing and learning also work well. Once you start gaining momentum and getting closer to your goal – remove these additional words and get more direct.

How to Practice with Affirmations

Affirmations can be used any time you need to change your thinking be it overall or in a specific situation. Repetition and increased exposure to your new scripts are the key to imprinting them deep into both your active mind and your subconscious.

  1. Repeat Them To Yourself – this can take place when you’re walking, driving, eating,… basically any time you need a quick boost of positive thinking. You can say your affirmations to yourself (in your head), but if you’re alone say them out loud.
  1. Use Cues – Cues allow you to practice affirmations every time you do something, these could be specific affirmations connected to the activity. When walking into the office – “Today I will be…” or looking at the mirror when brushing your teeth – “I’m a good person.”
  1. Post and Read. Print or write out your affirmations and put them somewhere you’ll see them often. Keep the writing large enough you can read it twenty feet away. Want to be more subtle? A sticky note on the mirror or even your computer desktop will work
  1. Write them out. This will work with a single affirmation or a list. The act of writing them out helps cement them in  your mind. Better yet, use an affirmation journal which you can return to and read over.  
  1. Set a reminder. It could be a hourly reminder or set time. When the alarm sounds read or repeat your chosen affirmation for a few minutes.
  1. Record them. Record a list of affirmations and listen to the recording whenever you need a boost. Use 20 or so affirmations and space them about 5 -10 seconds apart as you read them. In the space between repeat them to yourself.
  1. Make Cards – Use small flash cards and write out your affirmations. Whenever you have the chance go through the cards reading each one slow and with conviction.
  1. Take a single Affirmation into Meditation. Repeating the affirmation slowly in a deep relaxed state is will assist in cementing it into your consciousness. It doesn’t only need to be meditation you can do this while exercising or walking.

Tips for Success

  1. Repetition – it took years to ingrain the negative thoughts and feelings into your mind and the same will be true with the positive thoughts you want to replace them with. The more you actively practice with affirmations the deeper they will be ingrained. You don’t need to use every strategy above, but pick a few ways that resonate with you and get started.
  1. Conviction – I’ve already mentioned that mindset will be crucial in affirmations working for you. Saying affirmations (out loud) with deep conviction and feelings is one of the best ways for strengthening them.
  1. Confirmations – Don’t just say and believe in the affirmation, but look for evidence that it’s true. If your confirmation is “I’m a confident person” – when were you confident today? Look for clues. Better yet write these confirmations down (use the back of the flashcards or affirmation journal). Discovering real life evidence that your affirmations are true and part of your life gives another layer of authority to them.

Positive Affirmations to get you Started

    1. I’m in control of my life.
    1. I accept the natural ups and down of life.
    1. I am learning to love myself.
    1. I am learning to balance work and play in my life.
    1. I trust my inner wisdom and intuition.
    1. I play a big role in my own career success.
    1. I take the time to show my friends that I care about them.
    1. I deserve whatever good comes my way today.
    1. What I did is in the past and now I can create my future.
  1. I am deeply fulfilled with who I am.

Want more – Here are 101 Positive Affirmations for all Parts of your life – coming soon…


Affirmations are a fantastic way to stop negative self talk and start thinking positive. Take five minutes right now to review the list or write a couple personal affirmations you can work with to start changing your mindset for the future!

I’d love you hear if you use affirmations and how they help you achieve your goals. Please share your favorite affirmation with us or leave us a tweet at #KeysToOptimalLiving.

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Sources: Psychol Rep. 1996 Aug;79(1):83-91.
Rehearsal of positive self-statements and restructured negative self-statements to increase self-esteem and decrease depression.
Philpot VD1, Bamburg JW.