"A man is what he thinks about all day long." - Emmerson
What is this crazy new trend going around? People mumbling stuff to themselves before they go to bed, when the wake up in the morning, and it's supposed to change their entire existence?
Sounds a little too good to be true... Or is it?
What is a Positive Affirmation?
By definition, an Affirmation is a statement which affirms something to be true. Therefore positive affirmations are positive phrases repeated over and over again to help better your life and help you achieve your goals.
An example of a simple but powerful positive affirmation is "I am poised, serene, calm, and confident in any given moment."
But how can simply repeating words to yourself help you achieve your goals? The truth is it can't and won't unless you use them correctly.
Most people repeat these phrases to themselves and expect miracles to happen, but using affirmations correctly takes more effort than that.
You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?
The Dynamic Duo - Affirmations and Your Subconscious:
Affirmations depend on our subconscious; we must believe the statement is 100% true for it to be accepted and brought into manifestation. Your subconscious is the part of you that is responsible for your entire belief system, what you think is possible for you, and what you're able to see and achieve in your daily life. Unlike our conscious mind which we only use when we are awake to analyze our environment and reason with, our subconscious mind is always at work 24/7, 365 days a year, untill the day we die (maybe even after, who knows).
Your subconscious mind helps you repair your skin when you get a cut without having to think, it keeps your heart pumping and automatically controls your lungs when you're sleeping to keep you alive, and it's responsible for your perception of the world outside yourself aka physical reality.
Our conscious mind can reason, which gives us the power of deciding whether we believe a statement that we tell or anyone says to ourselves is true. Our subconscious, on the other hand, does not possess the ability to reason. Whatever message we send to our subconscious and deeply believe it accepts as true. This acceptance of the belief by the subconscious eventually manifests the desired trait, material, or outcome into our physical world.
What Works & What to Avoid:
Our subconscious does not possess the ability to argue or reason; it is critical that what we monitor what we tell ourselves and what we believe to be true.
Because of this, it's important to avoid using negative statements that start with "I can't," "I don't," or even worse "I won't." They are destructive and will completely negate the efforts of your positive affirmations.
Instead, you can use positive statements like "I can" and "I will," but the most authoritative declaration of all are ones that start off with "I" or "I am."
When you use I am, you are talking in the present tense. "I can" implies that you have the ability to, "I will" implies that it won't be received until a later date, while "I am" means that you have and are receiving it now.
Make sure to watch your wording when creating a positive affirmations statement. Words are powerful.
Another pitfall to avoid is being envious, jealous, or unhappy with someone else's success or thinking thoughts that contradict your original statement.
If you want to be popular among your peers, but get angry at and jealous of someone who has what you want, you're pushing it away, rather than drawing it closer to you.
"You lose what you condemn. You cannot attract what you criticize." - Dr. Joseph Murphy
If you want to be rich, but are constantly worrying about your finances, you're not thinking like a rich person would and are negating your original affirmation.
"For anything to have substance in the realm of mind, it must be thought of as actually existing there." - Dr. Joseph Murphy
Why Emotions are Important for Affirmations:
Your subconscious relies on your feelings. That is why when you use positive affirmations you need to come from a place of relaxed joy and excitement.
Emotionalized statements are much stronger than ones with no conviction. It works both ways, both positive or negative emotionalized statements hold a greater power to reach your subconscious.
This is where the danger lies. You must be very careful not to repeat negative affirmations to yourself when you're depressed or angry because these are highly emotionalized states and your subconscious will accept these affirmations more readily as well.
Things like "I am not good enough," "No one wants me," or "I will never become successful" said when in these states will attract this sort of behavior into your life.
It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior." - Wikipedia
The good thing is that a self-fulfilling prophecy doesn't have to be negative. First get into a happy and joyous state by whatever means necessary. Listen to music, go on a run, or watch your favorite motivational tape. Then tell yourself the positive affirmations you wish to receive. When you're in a happy and hopeful state, the positive messages you tell your subconscious will be more readily accepted by yourself.
Remember your subconscious doesn't possess the ability to argue or reason, it believes whatever you believe to be true and immediately starts working on attracting it into your reality.
The Best Time to do Affirmations:
Our subconscious accepts ideas more readily when we are calm, which is why I recommended repeating affirmations before you sleep and when you wake in the morning. During these times, people tend to be more relaxed, and when the body and mind are in this state, the messages are accepted by our subconscious with less effort.
The added benefit of repeating positive affirmations at night is that you end your day on a positive note, which usually leads to a much more positive mood upon waking. If not, you repeat the positive affirmations in the morning which starts your day on a positive note. Either way, it's a win-win.
Why Affirmations Alone are not Enough:
“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.” - Jim Rohn
While it's true that positive affirmations have the potential to change your life, they are only one part of the grand equation. Everything in life requires action, to think otherwise, would be naive. Some may get "lucky," but luck is something that usually happens to people who consistently put in the work.
For example, if your goal is to become rich, use positive affirmations, but also and more importantly start taking action towards that goal. Start working on a developing the skills that will help you in your chosen field. Start reading books and become financially literate. Learn how to look out for opportunities and pounce on them the minute you recognize one.
Let's Put it All Together:
Positive Affirmations are positive phrases repeated that you affirm to be true.
Your conscious mind has the ability to reason and decide what it wants and can send the message to the subconscious, the part of your brain that is responsible for your external reality. Your subconscious does not have the ability to reason or argue, it accepts any idea that you believe to be true. Once the subconscious believes the statement to be 100% true by you, it immediately starts working on attracting it into your reality.
Avoid using statements that start with I don't, can't, or won't. They are negative and only serve to limit you and your potential. Also, avoid I will or I can statements, although they are positive, they are not powerful enough and aren't in the present tense. Instead, use I or I am statements such as "I easily make $100,000 a year" or "I am confident and calm in front of large crowds."
Emotionalized statements are much stronger than statements said with no feeling. Be careful not to repeat destructive thoughts to yourself when depressed or angry and try to repeat affirmations in a positive and joyous state, so that your subconscious can more readily accept it.
The best times to repeat affirmations are in when you wake up, right before bed, and when happy.
Affirmations by themselves are not enough. Pair it with consistent deliberate action.
Examples of Powerful Affirmations:
"Everyday I am becoming more and more lovable and understanding."
"I am one with the infinite riches of my subconscious mind. It is my right to be rich, happy, and successful. Money flows to me freely, copiously, and endlessly. I am forever conscious of my true worth. "
"Throughout the night peace remains with me, and in the morning I shall be filled with life and love."
"I am a spiritual and mental magnet attracting to myself all things which bless and prosper me."
"I think, speak, and act lovingly, quietly and peacefully. "
"I am not afraid of anything in the past, the present, or the future. The infinite intelligence of my subconscious mind leads, guides, and directs me in all ways. I now meet every situation with faith, poise, calmness, and confidence."
If you're interested in learning more about how the subconscious and affirmations work together, check out these books.