As mentioned in last week’s article about how affirmations work, there are thousands of affirmation videos and soundtracks out there. But the truth is, not all of them are effective because not all creators understand how affirmations actually work. Some of them can even bring about the exact opposite of what you were hoping for. How do you know which affirmations are good and which ones aren’t? Keep reading to find out.
What Makes Affirmations Actually Work For and Not Against You?
When it comes to affirmations two things are crucial: the emotion behind them and how they are worded. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to separate the good from the bad:
Pay Attention to the Tense
One of the most common mistakes that I come across when looking for affirmations created by others is the tense. In order for affirmations to actually work, they have to be in the present tense. You have to talk as if it was already yours. For example “I am grateful that I am wealthy enough to live comfortably and help those in need” is much more powerful than “One day, I will have enough money to donate to charity and live comfortably”. In the first example, you’re talking like you already have all the money you need and more. In the second, you’re saying it’s coming… eventually.
Avoid Absolutes So Your Affirmations Actually Work
Absolutes are words like “always” and “never” and they don’t belong in your affirmations just like they don’t belong in your speech. The brain rejects statements like “I always feel calm and balanced” or “I never lose my balance” because it’s a denial of the natural variety of circumstances and emotional states. Even the Dalai Lama is not always calm and loses balance at least once in a while.
Say No to Negatives
Affirmations actually work against you when they contain negatives like “no”, “not”, and “nothing”. Those words get omitted from the statement. If you affirm “I will not argue with my daughter” the universe/God/your brain hears “I will argue with my daughter”. Guess what happens then? “No bad days” could very well bring about bad days. “Nothing goes wrong” pretty much guarantees that something, or everything, goes wrong.
A Strong Emotional Connection
Affirmations work best when you have a strong emotional connection to them. This makes the single most powerful affirmations the ones that you create for yourself. You know yourself and your dreams better than anyone. No one knows what grabs your emotions more. Creating your own affirmations with a deep emotional connection gives them more power.
That being said, sometimes you’re not in a place where you can come up with positive statements at all, or you might not have the time or energy. Maybe you don’t trust yourself to get them right (although if you follow the tips in this post, you can’t go wrong). In these cases, feel free to use affirmations that someone else created. Just keep these tips in mind so you use affirmations that work for you and not against you.
Make Them Believable but a Stretch
Most articles on affirmations tell you to keep them believable, but that’s not the whole truth. It’s true that the brain is not going to build a new neuropathway to support a lie. But, the brain also gets confused about what’s actually true. If a thought is presented often enough, what was labeled a lie slowly turns into a new belief.
An affirmation that you can’t say with a straight face is not going to help you much. On the other hand, a little bit of stretching is good for your brain. Try using affirmations that are at the edge of your comfort zone to grow and expand your mind.
Sarcastic Affirmations Actually Work
If your mindset is so low that you can’t think positively about yourself, sarcasm can save you. It’s not only a way to use humor to deal with trauma, it’s also a way to trick your brain into believing in yourself. Sarcasm works because your brain doesn’t process the tone of your voice.
To put this to the test, try a little experiment. Every time you catch yourself saying or about to say something like “I’m so dumb” when you make a mistake replace it with a sarcastic “I’m so smart”. Do this for a couple of months and watch what happens. I bet you start to handle mistakes with a lot less guilt and a lot more grace. I also bet that you’ll feel smarter and more capable than you did when you started.
Are You Ready to Create Your Own?
Download this FREE affirmation checklist to create powerful personal affirmations that actually work using the tips and tricks from this article. And, stay tuned for next week’s article on best practices that will take the affirmations you create to the next level. If you get FOMO and don’t want to miss it, make sure to subscribe so you get each blog post in your Inbox!
I hope I see you again next week and check out my previous posts until then.