As a nurse practitioner, health coach, and front-line consumer of coaching, I’ve witnessed first-hand that affirmations can affect our health in positive, powerful ways.
Yet, affirmations get mixed reviews. While many coaches, teachers, and mindset gurus advocate in favor of affirmations, others claim they are useless. So, what are affirmations, anyway? And will they be helpful for you?
What are affirmations?
Simply stated, affirmations are positive, present-tense statements that express a desired outcome or claim a state of being. You can use affirmations as a tool to leverage your inspiration and align your thoughts and actions with your vision of ideal health.
Affirmations affect your health by reinforcing the actions you’re already taking in the name of health improvement.
The ideas behind how affirmations work are grounded in psychology and neuroscience. Cognitive behavioral psychology tells us that thoughts and feelings determine behaviors and actions. Neuroscience brings us the concept of “neuroplasticity,” which says that it’s possible to rewire our brains.
When these two ideas come together, they provide a foundation for understanding how affirmations can help us make any change in life, whether it’s health-related or not. If your thoughts and feelings determine your behaviors and actions AND you can rewire your brain, what is possible for you?If your thoughts and feelings determine your behaviors and actions, AND you can rewire your brain, what is possible for you?Click To Tweet
Affirmation statements are designed to be repeated— whether out loud, silently to yourself, or written down on paper. Repeating affirmations regularly and consistently not only helps to reprogram the subconscious mind but helps reshape neural circuits.
Affirmations can help you make lasting and meaningful changes.
Reprogramming your subconscious mind allows you to clear old negative thought patterns and erase limiting beliefs. If you think of your mind as a computer, embracing a set of affirmations would be analogous to downloading a new app. By using the app routinely, you’re reshaping the neural circuits, or re-wiring your brain, in a way that establishes different neurological pathways in response to physical and mental stimuli. That would be analogous to activating new firmware.
By both reprogramming your subconscious mind and rewiring your brain, you can make lasting and meaningful changes in your thought processes, perceptions, and emotional and physical responses.By reprogramming your subconscious mind and rewiring your brain, you can make lasting and meaningful changes in your thought processes, perceptions, and emotional and physical responses.Click To Tweet
Isn’t it amazing that starting with something as seemingly simple as an affirmation can help accomplish that? And isn’t that part of what we’re all looking for when we set out to improve our health…. creating lasting changes?
Of course, the advantages of affirmations extend beyond their grounding in psychology and neuroscience. Affirmations are incredibly practical because they are a readily available and easily accessible tool. They are free for everyone and require only a small investment of time and attention.
How can affirmations be practical when they’re really just “wishful” or “magical” thinking?
You may have heard it said that whenever you desire a certain outcome and declare it to be true, your desire will become a reality. Sayings such as, “Act as if, and it will be so,” and “Fake it till you make it,” support this idea. However, the idea is only partially true. And the partiality is what allows skeptics to dismiss affirmations as “wishful” or “magical” thinking.
The truth is, the declaration itself does not create the new reality, it only paves the way. In order for your desire to become reality, you have to truly believe the declared outcome is possible, and then you have to take action to support it.
Without belief and action, the skeptics are correct in their assertion that affirmations are “wishful” or “magical” thinking. However, when correctly mastered, affirmations can be a powerful, integral, part of your best health arsenal.
The true power of affirmations is not about empty wishes or magic. When you are consistently integrating affirmations into your daily healthy habits, you’re not seeking a direct manipulation of reality by thought alone, you’re taking personal responsibility for your health and wellness.
When used correctly, affirmations can help you make profound changes in your thought patterns, energy levels, mindset, decision-making, and action-taking processes. Affirmations support positive beliefs, behaviors, and actions that can lead to the fulfillment of desires. In other words, they are not only practical but indispensable, when used correctly.
How affirmations affect health
When you make subtle changes in your thoughts and behaviors, you become like a magnet for new thoughts and behaviors that match the change. When you feel good about what you’re doing, you attract more good thoughts and more good things. The converse is also true. If you are consistently fearful or worried, these thoughts and feelings will perpetuate more of the same.
That’s why it’s so important to truly believe the statements you make as affirmations and to feel them in every fiber of your being. Without sincere beliefs, feelings, and actions to back them up, your affirmations won’t actually work.It's important to TRULY believe the statements you make as affirmations, and to FEEL them in every fiber of your being.Click To Tweet
Affirmations can affect your health in a positive way with only a small investment of time and effort. Thoughtfully prepare your affirmation statements, consistently devote your attention to them, truly believe in them, and remember to use them. Observe what happens. Based on past experience, I predict you’ll start to see a positive shift toward the outcomes you desire in a very short time.
If you haven’t tried using affirmations in your health improvement plans, I invite you to begin now. Click here for some ideas to get you started.
What do you like best about affirmations? Please leave a comment below.
Last updated: 6-28-2020