What to Know About Positive Affirmations

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 08, 2022
5 min read

Positive affirmations are a form of self-help. Practicing daily positive affirmations can help you overcome fear and self-doubt and reduce self-sabotage. Daily positive affirmations help you believe in yourself and what you’re capable of achieving. 

Positive affirmations are made up of phrases that you can say aloud to yourself or in your head. You can also write them down and make sure they’re always visible. Positive affirmations are meant to help build you up and improve your confidence, even when things are difficult. 

The purpose of positive affirmations is to help you overcome negative thoughts that make you doubt yourself. Daily positive affirmations are meant to minimize negativity and help you see yourself in a positive light.

Practicing positive affirmations doesn’t have to mean repeating one phrase repeatedly every day. It’s about affirming yourself and replacing negative thoughts with positive self-talk. This could look like telling yourself you’re talented and valuable at your job when you start to compare yourself to a co-worker or stopping to appreciate your body when you see your reflection when you pass by a mirror.  

You’ll need to figure out which method of positive affirmation works for you. There’s no one right way for everyone. To start positive affirmations, you should pick out a quality, trait, or choice you’ve made and begin highlighting the positive aspects of that. 

Positive affirmations work best when they’re about a specific issue or concern you’re dealing with. If you’re going through a difficult situation, positive affirmations can help you get through it.

An essential part of doing positive affirmations is not to deny your reality. Denial isn’t a good coping strategy. It’s necessary to process the tough times you’re dealing with and start working through the feelings. Affirmations are meant to acknowledge what you’re going through and how difficult it is, then help you get through the other side of this challenge.

If you find that writing positive affirmations helps you more, you can start by writing about core personal values. Research has shown that identifying your values and affirming your identity can help tremendously with your self-talk.

There has been plenty of research that’s shown positive affirmations to:

  • Decrease stress
  • Increase well being
  • Improve academic performance
  • Make practitioners more open to behavior change

Positive self-affirmations focus on affirming your self-worth by reflecting on your core values and helping give you a broader view of yourself.

Over time, repeating positive phrases has been shown to reshape how you think and feel about yourself. The science behind it involves the billions of neurons in your brain. When you think, neurons send electrical impulses along paths in your brain. This makes the neurons more sensitive and strengthens their pathways. 

When you’re repeatedly thinking something, you’re making it easier to fall into that same thinking in the future. Positive affirmations, though, help you disrupt negative thinking habits and build a new route in your brain for positive thoughts. 

Eventually, positive thought patterns appear, and your good thoughts affect your actions. This could help you learn new skills, succeed at work, or improve relationships.

Affirmations are typically short, encouraging statements that help you create a positive frame of mind. You can say these affirmations in your head while brushing your teeth, say them aloud when you’re heading to work, or write them down before you go to bed. 

The more you use an affirmation, the more it should help you find your value and self-worth within yourself. Examples of positive affirmations include:

  • My efforts help me succeed.
  • I can make a real difference.
  • My hard work will pay off.
  • I am strong.
  • I have the power to make the right choices for myself.
  • I have faith in my abilities.
  • I am grateful for what I can do.
  • I am happy to be me.
  • My goals are achievable.
  • I am confident.
  • I am on the right path for me.
  • I am thankful for the love in my life.
  • I will take action and accomplish my goals.
  • I will find the good in all things.
  • I am always learning.
  • I trust myself.
  • I am safe.
  • I love myself.
  • Life is beautiful.
  • I am powerful.
  • I believe in myself.
  • It’s OK for me to have fun.
  • My possibilities are endless.
  • I am relaxed and at peace.
  • I am strong in my mind, body, and spirit.
  • My life is a gift.
  • I deserve love and happiness.
  • I care for myself.
  • Healthy food fuels my body.
  • I give myself room to grow.
  • Each day is filled with joy.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it can help you get started on your journey to more positive self-talk and thoughts. You can begin by choosing to repeat one of these phrases that you connect with or use them as inspiration to create your unique positive affirmation. 

When you are starting to employ positive affirmations, some exercises for you to try include practicing being positive. Of course, positive affirmations take work and may not come naturally to you, especially if you're not used to saying them. To kick out negative thoughts and let in positive ones, you have to think positive things about yourself intentionally. 

Don't be skeptical. When you first begin, you may feel silly standing in front of the mirror saying kind words to yourself, but no matter how you feel at first, don't give up. You can't become a positive thinker overnight, so be patient, put your skepticism on the back burner, and give affirmations time to start feeling normal. 

Repeat your affirmations. Whether you're talking aloud or to yourself, it helps to say the same positive affirmation repeatedly at first. Hearing things aloud can be more impactful than just saying them in your head. Say your affirmations aloud during the day and write them down on notecards or sticky notes. Keep a list of affirmations that work for you and keep them nearby in a notebook or on your phone. 

Do what works best for you. Getting started can be the most challenging part. There's no strict schedule or right way to start using positive affirmations. The best thing you can do for yourself is to just start saying them or writing them down in the way that works best for you. Eventually, you should start seeing results