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Discover how to write positive affirmations that actually work!
When I first started studying affirmations, I discovered that I’d been attempting to use them the wrong way!
I learned that I’d been writing my affirmations incorrectly by focusing on the future or on what I didn’t want instead of crafting truly positive affirmations.
I was also guilty of trying to use affirmations that just didn’t feel authentically me, which also detracts from their power.
I know these are common mistakes when people work on creating their own affirmations, so today I’m sharing my top tips for how to write positive affirmations so you can start to create the results you want to see. (Plus there’s a free bonus cellphone wallpaper at the bottom of the post!)
Let’s talk a little bit about affirmations and why it’s so important to write them “correctly.”
As my Hypnobabies affirmations track reminded me every day during pregnancy, your mind and body can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined (read more about Hypnobabies and our amazing, comfortable birthing time in this post!).
If you stress, worry, and obsess over something going wrong, then your body will move into “fight or flight” mode, you’ll send out negative energy, and, sure enough, something will go wrong. (At the very least, you’ll be so busy waiting for something bad to happen that you won’t be able to enjoy all the good things life sends your way!) This is why it is so important to always focus on what you do want instead of what you don’t want.
It is incredibly important to shift your mindset if you want to enjoy, well, whatever it is that you want to enjoy! As they say, nothing changes if nothing changes.
How complaining is bad for your health
We are constantly bombarded with negative messages. These negative messages from the media, coworkers, friends, family members, and even our own minds form limiting beliefs, stress us out, and create a cycle of unhappiness.
Criticism, complaining, and negativity are bad for your physical health and even your ability to think!
Studies have shown that complaining raises your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a “stress hormone” and raised cortisol levels are incredibly damaging to your body over time. Cortisol is involved with the fight or flight response so it raises your blood sugar and blood pressure. While this was helpful for our ancestors running away from a predator, for example, it is unhealthy for extended periods of time.
High cortisol levels over time put you at greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and even stroke! (source)
Complaining rewires your brain to default to complain more in the future, which creates a snowball effect of poor physical and mental healthy.
Even being around complaining can damage your health due to an effect called neuronal mirroring. It’s the function that allows us to feel empathy for others and makes us unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us. Like second-hand smoke, second-hand complaining kills!
Complaining, or hanging out with complainers, tend to attract even more complaining into your life. Author and speaker Will Bowen addresses the way complainers tend to gang together and get involved in escalating contests of who has it worse in his life-changing book Complaint Free World.
- A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
- Will Bowen
- Publisher: Harmony
How affirmations work
Positive affirmations reprogram your brain to think more positively, see and expect the good, and create the vibration that attracts what you seek. This is possible through the brain’s amazing neuroplasticity.
The same processes that work to make complaining and negativity your default behavior can help you make positivity your default behavior. It’s a lot of work, but affirmations can help with the process.
Think about a field of high grass or even woods with lots of shrubs and briars. If there’s a path through the field or woods, it’s easier just to take the existing path than to carve a new one. This worn down path is your old, complaint and negativity-filled way of thinking.
You can, if you choose, set out to blaze a new path. The first time will be very hard as you push your way through tall grass, bushes, and undergrowth. The next time you need to walk through that field, you’ll be tempted just to take the well-worn path because you know the new way is a lot of work. However, every time you take the new way, the path becomes more defined and easier to follow.
If you take the new path for long enough, the plants will start to grow back in the old path. It will still be visible and tempting for a while, but every time you take the new path the old one has the chance to grow over a bit more. If you give it long enough, the old path will be completely reabsorbed by the woods and only your new path will remain.
Affirmations are a mental tool that allows you to create new patterns of thinking and begin wearing a new path in your mind.
Because your body likes to become more efficient at the things you do most often, the neural connections along the “complaining” pathway will actually start to break and fall away with disuse. Your body doesn’t want to maintain unused circuits! This is exactly what happened to you with the old, negative way of thinking. Your mind basically ‘forgot’ how to be more positive as you flexed your positivity muscles less and less.
Using affirmations correctly gives you the thoughts and patterns you need to make those positivity circuits work again!
How to write positive affirmations that work:
Successful positive affirmations should have the following characteristics:
Present tense. Affirmations should always be in present tense. This sends the message to your brain and the Universe that whatever you want is already happening. If you write in the future tense, you create the energy of waiting for something. You’ll keep on waiting and waiting and waiting because that’s the energy you’re sending out.
Gratitude. Express thanks, gratitude, happiness, or some other positive emotion. A great starting point for writing your own affirmation is “I’m so thankful now that…” or “I’m grateful now that…”
Instead of expressing gratitude, you could make sure your affirmation contains positive emotional energy, if it’s more fitting for the situation. You can include positive words and use phrases like “I am joyfully…” or “I am lovingly…” instead of specifically expressing gratitude. Gratitude words are a more specific subset of the positive emotional energy idea, but I’m such a big believer in gratitude that I wanted to list it first!
First person. There really isn’t much more to say about this one – make sure you’re affirmations are in the first person!
Clarity and specificity. Be really, really clear on what it is you want, especially if you decide to use your affirmation for a manifesting ritual. Make your affirmation just as long as it needs to be – a sentence or two, not a paragraph.
Plausibility. Your affirmations must be believable so that your mind will accept them as a done deal. If “I’m so excited about being my ideal weight” is something your subconscious just can’t accept as true at this time, try to rephrase your affirmation to make it more plausible. “I’m thankful that I’m learning to love my body more every day” or “I’m so glad I’m taking better care of myself every day” might be more acceptable to your mind at this time.
If you’re having a bit of trouble crafting your own affirmations, you may find the printable daily intentions planner in this post a good place to start.
How to use positive affirmations:
It’s best to repeat your affirmations aloud every single day, at least once a day. For maximum efficacy, read over your affirmations multiple times a day. For example, in the morning, at lunch, and at night before bed.
You can repeat each affirmation multiple times in a session to help reprogram your subconscious more effectivly.
If you can only go over them once a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night are particularly powerful times. Repeating affirmations in the mornings helps set your intentions and energy for the day; repeating them at night helps them stay active in your subconscious while you sleep.
If you’re having trouble remembering to use your affirmations, tie them to something you already do. Make a note to yourself to repeat your affirmations while you have your fist cup of coffee, eat breakfast, drive to work, eat lunch, etc. Most of us do the same things at roughly the same time each day, so you can set a reminder on your phone at breakfast time, for example, if you need another reminder.
- You may also want to write your affirmations down on a daily basis. If writing ‘speaks’ more strongly to you than actually speaking, feel free to do this, instead.
- Keeping your “original” hard copy of your affirmations somewhere special, like a manifestation box, can help you create a personal affirmation ritual. This watercolor manifestation box is easy to make and a lovely place to keep your positive affirmations!
Repeat your affirmations every day for at a month. Every day, they’ll become more automatic and ingrained in your subconscious mind. At the end of the month, revisit your affirmations to see if you need to update any of the to reflect newer, even bigger dreams!
Make sure to enroll in my monthly newsletter using the box below this post! You’ll receive instant access to a month-long printable gratitude journal (with plenty of space for coloring and doodling!) to hep you raise your vibration and practice finding the joy in everyday situations.
As my free gift to you, please download this motivational free cellphone wallpaper! Absolutely no sign up required! It will serve as a reminder each time you look at your phone that your thoughts shape your reality. Just right click/hold, save, and set as your background!
I really hope enjoy these tips for how to write positive affirmations! Please share some of your favorite, most powerful affirmations with everyone in the comments so others can benefit from them. 🙂
Natasha is a former classroom teacher turned WAHM. She also is a registered yoga teacher and certified life coach. She shares her passion for education with craft tutorials and free printables. She also shares her experience moving through grief after losing a parent and passion for positive parenting. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.