Are you looking to unlock the power of affirmations to supercharge your life and reach your goals? Or, maybe you’ve tried affirmations and despite the scientific evidence that they work, they didn’t work for you. First, use these tips for creating your own affirmations. Then, take them to the next level with these 10 tricks to skyrocket the effectiveness of affirmations to transform into the version of yourself that you’ve always dreamed of. Unlocking the power of affirmations is as easy as using these 10 tools.
Tools to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Affirmations:
Use the links below to skip ahead to the tool that grabs you, or even better, keep scrolling to learn about all of them.
- EFT Tapping
- Meta Modeling
- Positive Parental Messages
- Swish Technique
Anchoring Your Affirmations
Based on the psychological concept of conditioning, anchoring links a stimulus to a desired response. When paired with an affirmation, thought and emotion combine. This creates a powerful catalyst for positive thought. Here’s how to anchor an affirmation:
- Think of a time full of positive emotion matching the affirmation that you want to trigger. For example, an anti-anxiety affirmation could be paired with a feeling of calm.
- When you felt that way, what did you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel? Was there an ocean breeze? Were children laughing in the background?
- Visualize that ideal moment, and how you felt in it while activating the sensory memories of that moment. Try to recreate the experience in your mind.
- Once the emotion/memory reaches its peak, anchor it with a small movement. This can be playing with a ring or earring, touching a necklace to your lips, pinching the inside of your wrist, or using a supporting hand mudra.
- Take a short break to rest your mind and emotions, then repeat.
- Practice until the anchoring action triggers the desired emotion (this can take time, so be patient).
EFT Tapping Affirmations
What the heck is EFT tapping? I’ve talked about it briefly in this article. It’s tapping on certain points on the face and body while releasing negative emotions and replacing them with positive ones. To start, check out this video on how to tap, then read this short article by expert Ruth Stern, MA on what to say while you tap the various areas. I am a novice to tapping, but I have a lot of friends that have had great success with it, including Leanna Hunt of Huntress Coaching. I’m sure she will be happy to help you if you want a deep dive into tapping, and if you reach out to her, tell her I sent you!
Meta Modeling to Challenge Negative Patterns
One reason affirmations might not work for you is a lack of belief in the affirmation. You have to believe it to achieve it. And, while beliefs can be built up over time, they are constructed a lot faster if opposing negative beliefs are cleared first. This is where meta-modeling comes in. It helps you challenge avoidance behavior and encourages pattern separation. To put it simply, pattern separation is the ability to separate a situation from a patterned response, allowing room for alternate (healthier) responses.
Here’s how to meta-model your thoughts:
- Start by analyzing your self-talk, looking for these patterns:
- Generalizations – “always”, “never”, “all”, and “none” are examples.
- Selective Ignorance aka Confirmation Bias – this is selectively ignoring or paying attention to what contradicts or confirms your pre-existing beliefs. If you have a negative self-image, this would look like ignoring compliments and obsessing over criticisms.
- Mind Reading – do you assume someone is mad at you if they don’t talk to you at an event? Does your husband doing the dishes make you think he’s mad at you?
- Cause/Effect Statements – “if I don’t get that promotion then I am a failure” for example.
- Ask yourself what category the self-talk belongs to.
- Play “devil’s advocate” and actively question the thought. When you do, look for generalizations in your response(s). Ask yourself if statements like “always” or “never” are accurate (of course, they’re not). Could there be exceptions?
- Pretend the limiting belief is impossible. Is there another reality or possibility that exists if you take that one out of the picture?
- For cause/effect thoughts, is that really the only possible outcome? Does any other possible option exist? If not, how are you so sure? What is your evidence? If there is only one option, can you see it from another perspective or in another way?
Positive Parental Messages
Don’t worry, these don’t have to come from your actual parents. If you have a good relationship with your parents, great. If not, a friend, another family member, spouse, or even saying them to your inner child in the mirror can work. The point is to increase the effectiveness of affirmations by having someone you love and look up to say them to you. This works really well for those with low self-esteem. If you don’t believe affirmations when you say them to yourself, try this technique. Bonus points if you repeat it back to them, like a pledge or promise.
Reframing Thoughts to Boost the Effectiveness of Affirmations
In psychology, reframing is a therapeutic method to help you change your perspective. Here’s how it works:
- Choose a thought, feeling, habit, response, etc. that you would like to reframe. For this example, let’s use social anxiety.
- What triggers it? Social anxiety could be triggered by a fear of rejection.
- What is the positive intention behind this? In this example, anxiety wants to keep you safe from the pain of rejection.
- Why doesn’t it work? Avoiding social interactions may stop rejection, but the resulting loneliness and lack of friendship are the same.
- Reassure the subconscious that the positive intention will be honored. This is where your affirmation comes in. For example, “I am safe from rejection because I am socializing with friendly, inclusive people”.
- Check in with yourself. Does your subconscious monkey mind accept or reject this reassurance? If you notice recoiling from the reassuring thought, maybe in the form of a racing heartbeat or sweaty palms, repeat step 5 until the monkey mind easily accepts the reassurance.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Remember that affirmations work by building new connections in the brain. That’s not going to happen by saying “I am successful” out loud to yourself every once in a while. Repeating it for at least 5 minutes 3 times a day will. When it comes to affirmations and a lot of other good things in life, consistent repetition is the key.
Try the Swish Technique
Swish like the sound of a basketball hitting nothing but the net, not swiss like the cheese full of holes. The Swish Technique helps you identify negative triggering thoughts and replace them with an affirmation. This encourages a more positive response to the trigger in the future. Here’s how to Swish:
- Identify the trigger
- Observe how your body reacts to the trigger (tremors, eye-twitching, nausea, etc.)
- What is the context where this occurs most often? Is it walking into a job interview or visiting your in-laws?
- How would you ideally like to feel and react in this situation going forward? Turn that into an affirmation.
- Imagine the triggering thought as blurry and in black and white. Then picture the affirming thought, bold, clear, and in color, covering up the triggering thought.
- Make the affirmation wipe away the now insignificant triggering thought with a swish.
- Repeat until the ideal feeling and reaction becomes the natural response to the trigger.
The Magic of Touch
Start with steps 1 and 2 from the section above on the Swish Technique. What part of the body had the strongest physical reaction? Rub your hands together to warm them, then place your hands on that part of the body. As you repeat or listen to an affirmation, imagine healing energy and breath flowing to where your hands are placed. Simple but effective.
Harness the Power of Visualization
Since affirmations are essentially goals in the form of an “I am” statement, visualization is a powerful way to increase their effectiveness. One way to do this is the “mental rehearsal” method. Imagine yourself sitting in a movie theater. On the screen is a movie of you living out your affirmation. In the social anxiety example from the section on reframing, the movie is about you having a great time at a social event and being accepted and included. Once you can see the movie clearly, switch perspectives so that you are now inside the movie instead of watching it. Feel what it feels like to live out your affirmation. Then, leave the screen and return to watching yourself on it. A few minutes a day of this visualization method skyrockets the effectiveness of affirmations.
3 More Visualization Techniques
- Photoshop a picture of you having achieved your affirmation/goal. In the above example, a photo of you surrounded by smiling people at an event would be perfect. Make it your lock screen image on your phone.
- Turn your affirmation(s) into a vision board, hang it in a very visible location, and meditate on it (eyes open) every day.
- Put each affirmation on an index card along with a picture that represents it. Use images that appeal to your visual aesthetic so you resonate with them more. Say the affirmations out loud as you use the index cards like grade-school flash cards.
Expectations Affect the Effectiveness of Affirmations
Try saying that 5 times fast. 😅 But seriously, affirmations can’t be effective if you don’t expect them to be. This is the single most important factor in their success. Whether it’s the placebo effect or neuroplasticity, expecting affirmations to work makes them work. Expecting them to fail makes them fail. Does it matter why they work so long as they do? Do you really care which scientific principle is at work here? I didn’t think so.
I hope that this series of articles on affirmations has taught you why affirmations do or don’t work, the best practices for the wording of affirmations, and ways to boost the effectiveness of affirmations. Next week’s article will be about macro-mineral calcium, including why you need it and ways to get more of it. It’s part 2 of a 7 part series on the seven essential macro-minerals that your body needs to function. You can check out part 1 on the benefits of magnesium here and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss part 2! You’ll get a free playlist of songs full of positive affirming lyrics as a thank-you gift for subscribing.
Until Next Week,