Affirmations are statements that assert or confirm that something is true, and people often create and repeat positive statements to themselves to relieve depression and worry. Affirmations are a staple of new age philosophies but they also can be used as a part of psychological therapy. You may wonder if psychological research confirms the efficacy of using them.
Affirmations As Self-Talk
One new age proponent of affirmations, Louise Hay, says 'all thoughts are affirmations of one kind or another.' It does appear from research that affirmations used as positive self talk may help you in several ways, but this comes with some caveats. The first one is to consider how you address yourself when you use affirmations. If you use your name and talk back to yourself in the third person, you may find affirmations to be a more effective aid in your performance, and to be soothing when you are feeling anxiety.
For instance, if you are were about to apply for a house loan and wanted to give yourself a pep-talk before talking to the loan officer, you might say something like, "[your name], you know you have the means to pay this loan back, so you can speak confidently and convincingly to this loan officer. Whether this bank approves you or not, you will get the loan eventually."
Researchers have found that self talk in third person allows for you to
Affirmations to Counter Negative Thoughts and Beliefs
Traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches clients to look intently at their negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, and then to develop new patterns of thought to challenge the negativity.
However, many contemporary psychologists have found that this may not be as effective in reducing anxiety or depression and increasing performance as once thought. They have found that focusing on negativity and counteracting it with positive statements is counterproductive for two reasons. The first is that if you don't really believe a positive statement could be true for you, you will spend a lot of mental energy arguing with yourself on the veracity of the affirmation.
The second reason is the more you try to fight the negativity, the more time you spend ruminating on it and you spend less time and energy on the positive aspects of your life and various situations. You will find yourself making the same mistakes and encountering the same negative emotions time and time again. You may find that clear-eyed acceptance of the less desirable aspects of yourself or your life and practicing mindfulness may help you more in the long run to deal with them.
You could compare this to mountain biking where participants are told not to focus on obstacles like trees or they will ride right into them. If you are experienced cyclist you focus on open spaces because your body takes you where your eyes are focused. In your life, if you turn your focus to the more positive aspects of your life and ponder those instead of spending a lot of time trying to fight and conquer the negativity, the happier and more serene you will be. Using affirmations to clarify your values, and adjusting your behavior to be in accord with them, will increase their usefulness to you.
If you want to use affirmations to improve your life, try crafting them in the third person, make sure they are believable for you, and adjust your primary focus to the positive aspects of your life to amplify them.
For more assistance or information, talk to a professional, like those at Psychological Associates of Pennsylvania PC.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.