The current situation is shaking up humanity. There’s a lot of uncertainty about our economy and fear around what’s going on. On top of that, we are constantly being bombarded by the media with unsettling news. It is very easy to fall into fear or helplessness if we don’t make a conscious effort to keep our mental health in check.
But even when you’re making a conscious effort, fear can creep in. It’s understandable with what’s happening and it’s important to acknowledge these feelings and deal with them as they come up, but it’s also very important to not dwell in them for too long. Fear lowers our immunity, clouds our judgement and makes it harder to listen to our intuition in a time where we need to the most.
Positive affirmations are a great tool to utilize during this pandemic, whether it’s to calm your fear or anxiety, to allow yourself to dream of a better future or to give you back a sense of self-worth and courage to face what’s ahead. And what I love about positive affirmations is that it’s easy to do them any time. The other day I started feeling fear while I was cooking dinner. I couldn’t stop what I was doing so I started repeating positive affirmations that helped me get back in a good mind state.
If you’ve done affirmations before, you can scroll to the end of the post to see the affirmations to help you get through this pandemic. However, if you’re new at practicing positive affirmations, keep on reading to understand why they are effective and how to do them properly.
What are positive affirmations?
Positive affirmations are positive statements that help you overcome or deal with negative emotions. They are statements that you repeat over and over again to help you make positive changes in your life. The purpose of positive affirmations is to replace your negative thoughts or unhelpful thoughts with more positive, useful and impactful thoughts.
If you find yourself having a lot of negative talk or feeling a lot of stress, positive affirmations are a great tool to combat this.
Positive affirmations are also great at helping you achieve your goals and build the life you want to live. By using repetition, you are forcing your subconscious mind to focus on a goal, which helps you achieve it.
The science behind positive affirmations
According to Psychology today: “One of the key psychological theories behind positive affirmations is self-affirmation theory (Steele, 1988). So, yes, there are empirical studies based on the idea that we can maintain our sense of self-integrity by telling ourselves (or affirming) what we believe in positive ways.”
They explain that:
“The development of self-affirmation theory has led to neuroscientific research aimed at investigating whether we can see any changes in the brain when we self-affirm in positive ways.
There is MRI evidence suggesting that certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks (Cascio et al., 2016). If you want to be super specific, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex—involved in positive valuation and self-related information processing—becomes more active when we consider our personal values (Falk et al., 2015; Cascio et al., 2016).
The results of a study by Falk and colleagues suggest that when we choose to practice positive affirmations, we’re better able to view “otherwise-threatening information as more self-relevant and valuable” (2015: 1979). As we’ll see in a moment, this can have several benefits because it relates to how we process information about ourselves.”
This 2015 study published on Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience confirms that affirmations influence us in a positive way:
“These neural correlates of self-affirmation were further associated with objectively measured behavior change, suggesting the external validity of the affirmation task. Taken together, our results highlight ways in which brain systems implicated in positive valuation and self-related processing may be reinforced by prospection and suggest novel insight into the balance of processes supporting affirmation.”
I love this explanation by Power Thoughts Meditation Club of why positive affirmations work in our brain:
“Everything that we repeatedly say to ourselves out loud or in our thoughts are an affirmation. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a part of our brain that makes words that get repeated over time as part of our identity, positive or negative. Just like sowing seeds in a fruitful garden. When we water and nurture the seeds every day, they will grow (most of them). That’s like repeating an affirmation. If you have a tomato plant seed…you plant that seed…water it (focus)…can you expect to get apples? No of course not. You expect to get tomatoes. That’s how our subconscious mind works. It doesn’t care if you want the seeds you plant to grow. As long as you water and nurture them (affirm repeatedly), they will grow.”
Why do positive affirmations work?
Your subconscious mind believes whatever you keep repeating to yourself. “The act of repeating the affirmations, mentally or aloud, motivates and inspires the person repeating them. This act also programs the mind to act according to the repeated words, triggering the subconscious mind to work on one’s behalf, to make the positive statements come true.” (Source)
In my experience, repeating an affirmation has allowed me to start believing that this affirmation is, in fact, a possibility in my life. It’s given me the strength and confidence to keep on going, even in uncertainty, and it allows me to stay focused and remember what truly matter.
Research, through brain scans, has concluded that positive affirmations work because they are rewarding and pleasureful for the brain. Brain scans also showed that affirmations are most effective when you’re focusing on a future-based self-affirmation, when you focus on what you want to accomplish and how that makes you feel.
Positive affirmations work because they remind us of the things that truly matter, which helps us expand our self-worth. Self-worth heavily influences our choices and decisions in life and makes us more resilient, courageous people.
However, affirmations don’t magically and instantaneously work. The more regularly you do positive affirmations, the more effective they will be. You also have to make sure you are doing them right (we explain how to do them correctly below).
In my personal experience, combining positive affirmations with other mindfulness techniques is even more effective. Some mindfulness practices that work well with positive affirmations are deep breathing, meditating, tapping, gratefulness or reading spiritual / personal development books.
What are positive affirmations used for?
Positive affirmations can be used for anything, really. They are most commonly used to:
- Achieve life goals and stay focused in achieving them.
- Replace negative thoughts and negative self-talk, with thoughts that serve you better.
- Lower stress and calm anxiety.
- Help create new habits, such as sticking to a new work-out routine, focusing better or mastering a specific task.
- Improve one’s health.
- Positively influence your mind, spirit and body.
- Bring you back to a positive mindset and keep you there.
- Help you have a more positive attitude towards life.
During this pandemic, I have found affirmations to be soothing, calming and reassuring. They also help me bring my stress levels down, especially I don’t have to do another mindfulness practice.
What are the best positive affirmations?
The best positive affirmations are the ones that resonate with you, your own desires and your own personal goals. If you read or say an affirmation that reflects your heart’s desires than you know you are saying the best positive affirmation for you, at this specific time in life.
How to create positive affirmations?
You can create your own positive affirmations, even if you’ve never practiced saying affirmations before.
A positive affirmation should be:
- easy to remember
- said using positive words
- said in present tense
To create your own, think of something you’re struggling with and what a positive outcome would look like. Turn that positive outcome into your positive vibration. For example, if you are scared to get sick, the positive outcome is being healthy, so a very powerful affirmation can be as simple as “My body is always in good health.”
How to repeat positive affirmations?
You can do affirmations whenever you feel like you need to do them or when you are catching yourself going into negative chatter. You can do them while you’re sitting quietly in a room or while you’re cooking, driving or doing any other activity. The more you repeat an affirmation, the more effective it will be in the long run.
Follow these steps when doing a positive affirmation:
- Regardless of what you are doing, it’s good to take a moment to relax before you start repeating positive affirmations. Take 3 deep breaths before you begin and imagine the tension in your body being released at every exhale.
- Pick an affirmation you want to repeat, either from the list below, another list you might have or come up with your own.
- Be as relaxed as possible, pay full attention to the words you’re saying and believe in what you are saying.
- Start repeating your affirmations with intention. You can say them out-loud or in your mind. Out-loud makes it easier for you to stay focused on the affirmations but if you’re around people, you can say them in your mind.
- Focus on what you are saying and most importantly, FEEL what you are saying. Feeling is key for positive affirmations to work. Take deep breath while doing your affirmation if you’re struggling to stay focused.
- Repeat your affirmation for a few minutes, until you feel your stress levels, concern or anxiety lower. Some experts recommend repeating an affirmation for 5-10 minutes.
It is okay if at first you feel weird saying an affirmation. Keep repeating them until you can embrace what you are repeating.
Combining deep breathing with positive affirmations is a powerful technique to ease anxiety and help you get into the right mindset. I often pay attention to my breathing and take deep breath to help me stay focused and to help me FEEL and BELIEVE in the words I’m repeating.
How often should you repeat affirmations?
It is recommended that you do affirmations daily, for at least 5 minutes a day and ideally 15 minutes. However, I am a strong believer in listening to your intuition and you should do as many affirmations as you need to do. I mostly do affirmations when I’m actively working on an issue, pursuing a goal or when I feel anxiety or fear.
You will see some affirmations work faster than others, and it will all depend on how deep is your belief. Continue doing the affirmations until you feel a shift in your mindset or see a change in your life. Trust yourself and trust that you will know when you need to do affirmations.
The secret to effective affirmations
Our minds are tricky and sometimes we can find ourselves repeating a positive affirmation without paying much attention to it, and this makes them less effective. Just like our mind has chatter and just like we do some things on auto-pilot, positive affirmations can become simply a thing on your to-do list and not something you do with full presence.
You can repeat positive affirmations while doing an activity, like cooking or walking, and still be fully present mentally. When you’re saying your positive affirmations you need to repeat every word carefully, and with intention. Allow your body to feel those words, your emotions to feel the words.
Our emotions are key to changing beliefs and unwanted patterns. Focus on your positive affirmation both mentally and emotionally so that you can get the full benefits of it.
You also have to believe in your affirmation. It’s okay if at first you feel uncomfortable saying it, but it has to be something you desire and that you know you will believe in, even if it feels a little hard right now.
In other words, your affirmation should be about something you want to be true in your life. You have to feel that emotionally, and feel it as true, regardless of your current circumstance. A good way to intensify the feeling is to visualize what your life would look and what it would feel like if this affirmation was true in your current reality.
In essence, for affirmation to really work you have to:
- say the affirmation
- believe in the affirmation
- feel the affirmation
Feeling is key when manifesting anything in your life.
Positive affirmations to say during a pandemic:
There are lots of great positive affirmations out there but on this post, I focused on affirmations that are more helpful in navigating the quarantine and that touch on the most common fears surrounding this whole situation.
Read the affirmations and pick whichever one stands out to you right now. You are welcome to come back to this post daily and pick a different affirmation, one that will serve you best that day. Pin this article so you can easily find it again.
Tip: write your affirmations in different pieces of paper and tape them around your house. Make an effort to repeat the affirmation every time you see it.
- I am safe, I am healthy, I am well.
- Everything is always working out for me. Everything is always working out in my favor.
- I welcome miracles into my life.
- I trust my intuition to guide me in the right direction.
- I release all negative emotions that don’t serve me.
- I choose hope. I choose love. I choose happiness. I choose life.
- I accept myself. I love myself deeply.
- Everything I need in life comes to me easily. Everything I need in life comes to me at the right time.
- My body is in good health. My body can heal from anything that comes my way.
- I deserve everything I want in life.
- I am safe and everything is good in my world.
- I trust that everything happening is for my greater good.
- I believe in myself and trust my higher self to guide me through this process.
- I am confident in my future.
- I let go of fear because it doesn’t serve me. I allow calm and wisdom to enter my life.
- I am capable of adjusting to new situations successfully.
- I am more calm, trusting and positive.
- I am a source of light and love.
- I am protected and guided at all times. The Universe is on my side.
- I always know what to do at the exact right time. I trust myself.
- All is well in my world. Everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation only good will come. I am safe!
Affirmations are not set in stone, in other words, you can make them your own and come up with your own affirmations. Make sure they are positive and serving you in a positive way. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and keep on repeating them until the positive ones start to take over the chatter on your mind.
Remember, friends, this too shall pass!