Do you often find yourself thinking that you have no control over your thoughts and circumstances? That your goals and dreams are out of your reach because of your chronic or mental illness?
Let me tell you that I have felt that way for most of my life. And it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder and in group therapy that I started to understand that I have more power over my mental health and well being than my mental illness does.
One of the most powerful (and easiest) activities to improve mental health that you can do for yourself is to use affirmations. There are so many benefits of writing affirmations and it is a daily self-confidence exercise you need to add to your routine.
Through therapy, I learned how creating your own positive affirmations to say every day
What are affirmations?
- Affirmations can be positive or negative.
- Anything you say or think to yourself (i.e. self-talk, internal dialogue,
- Beliefs you have about yourself
- Beliefs you have about life in general
- Beliefs about your potential and future possibilities
- Core beliefs that come from your upbringing or life circumstances
- Positive affirmations are statements about specific goals you want to achieve (whether those be internal or external.)
You want to focus your energy on creating positive affirmations. And sometimes identifying the negative affirmations you have been telling yourself for years, can be a starting point of coming up with positive ones.
What Can Affirmations Do for Us?
Simply by creating a positive affirmation, it forces us to identify and defeat false logic that
According to this study, it was found that stress can deteriorate our ability to problem-solve. Affirmations help relieve stress and therefore help us to more effectively solve the problems and challenges we face.
Affirmations also motivate
Therapist and counselors often have their patients use affirmations as a form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.)
Benefits of Writing Affirmations
- Changes negative self-talk
- Helps identify and change self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors
- Increases self-esteem by addressing the source of feelings of worthlessness
- Builds self-confidence
- Helps to overcome bad habits
- Develops new habits that improve mental health
- Keeps you focused on achieving your goals
- Helps fight against procrastination
- Increases productivity
- Challenges limiting beliefs
- Helps you to be more open to new thoughts and experiences
After being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and hospitalized for a manic episode, I adopted some very limiting beliefs. I started to believe that I would never have what most people call a “normal life,” and that I would always be on the brink of another manic episode. My kids would grow up with a “broken” mom who could not put them first. And that my husband would be burdened with taking care of me without me being able to take care of him when needed.
Through therapy and the use of positive affirmations, I was able to identify and change those negative thoughts. And also to see the false logic and evidence of those self-sabotaging beliefs.
Want to Know How to Create Your Own Affirmations?
In order to create your own affirmations, you first have to ask yourself some important questions. Be brutally honest with yourself and don’t allow yourself to feel ashamed of the negative thoughts you identify. But also, don’t let fear hold you back from “thinking big” and outside of your comfort zone.
Start with asking yourself the following questions:
- What negative thoughts do you tend to have running on replay through your mind?
- What areas of your self-esteem need to be improved?
- What goals or dreams do you have?
- Have you been procrastinating on making certain changes in your life you know are healthy?
- What new habits do you want to develop? (Consider good mental health habits, emotional health habits, and physical health habits)
- What bad habits do you need to change or get rid of?
- What thoughts and beliefs about yourself are negatively affecting your self-confidence
- Are there things you are really angry about that you need to work through?
- What doubts do you have about yourself?
Keep in mind that the affirmations you create don’t have to be true in the present here and now. Part of why affirmations are so powerful is because they push you towards a better way of life using what some call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Best Way to Write Affirmations
Here are some basic guidelines on the best way to write affirmations:
1. Use present tense
Using present tense in your affirmations shows intent. It is important because it doesn’t give your subconsciousness the opportunity to doubt that the affirmation can become true. Otherwise, your subconsciousness would cause you to doubt that achieving this goal is possible. It will fill your mind with questions like, “When” or “How.”
2. Be specific
It is important to be very specific when writing your affirmations because it helps you become laser-focused on your goals. Your affirmations will likely cover many different areas of you life, so when they are specific it is easier to envision your success.
3. Make it something achievable
Am I saying you shouldn’t dream? Not at all! Your dreams should be big and scary and push you outside of your comfort zone. But they should be within the realm of reason. For instance, writing an affirmation that says, “I will win the lottery,” is trying to make something happen that you really don’t have any control over.
4. Write it like it is a command (and that’s how your subcon
sciousness will interpret it)
Our subconscious mind works a little differently than our conscious mind. It actually responds better to being “told what to do.” And once an idea is accepted as true by the subconscious mind, it becomes true and real to our conscious mind.
5. Be positive and optimistic
It is important to write your affirmations from a positive point of view. This does require you to be optimistic–sometimes beyond what seems reasonable to you. For example, take “I won’t eat so many deserts anymore” and instead write, “I make healthy food choices.”
6. Write the statement as if the goal is already reached
I know it may seem a little weird and uncomfortable, but a key to a powerful affirmation is to write it as if it is already true. So instead of saying, “I will become a more positive person,” write, “I am optimistic.”
7. Use powerful affirmation words
When you write your affirmations, choose strong “power” words that evoke strong emotion. Doing this will make your affirmations more effective. Using powerful affirmations words can really help short affirmations pack a punch.
Get a list of powerful affirmation words.
How Do You Practice Positive Affirmations?
You’ve written them out, now how do you use them? The best way to practice positive affirmations is to first, make it a daily habit. Daily positive affirmations is a great self-care activity that has plenty of mental health benefits too.
1. Meditate On Your Affirmations
You can practice positive affirmations as a meditation exercise. Sit in a quiet place without disruptions and focus on one affirmation at a time. Visualize what it will take to make the affirmation true and also what it will feel like when your goal is accomplished.
2. Say Them Out Loud
Saying your affirmations out loud is another way to practice positive affirmations. Use feeling and strong emotion when you state them. You
3. Write Them Down (Over and Over)
I may be dating myself, but do you remember having to write your spelling words or multiplication facts down over and over in school? The logic is that it helps you commit the information to memory. Then when asked to recall the answer it almost becomes an automatic response.
Well, the same thing will hold true with positive affirmations. In times of self-doubt, stress, or overwhelm, you can quickly tap into the power of your affirmations. Just like physical exercise trains our body, affirmations train our mind to quickly pivot or refute away from those negative thought patterns and beliefs.
You can write them down in a journal, a blank piece of paper, a notebook, or create your own affirmation cards.
4. Make Your Own Affirmation Cards
To make your own affirmation cards, you just need some thick paper or cardstock a pen, ruler, and scissors. Decide on the dimensions (whether you want to be able to fit inside your wallet, purse, or journal) and use a ruler to trace the outline of the card. Cut it out and write your positive affirmation (you can use colored pens or markers to make it more fun.)
You can also use index cards. Check out this tutorial on how to make affirmation cards (DIY ideas.)
Or I have created some blank affirmation cards for you as a free printable & resource. (Get the secret password to access my Resource Library and tons of other free printables and resources.)
Just click here to sign up with your email address and they will be sent straight to your inbox.
5. Keep Them With You
By keeping them with you, you can pull out your positive affirmation cards at a moment’s notice when you need them. Practice saying your affirmations out loud or meditate on them throughout your day.
6. Hang Them Up Around Your House
Being able to see your affirmations frequently as you go about your day, is a great way to remind you of these positive goals, thoughts, and beliefs. There may be times when you walk by and see one, only to realize that
7. Use Them As a Coping Strategy
It’s important to have an arsenal of coping strategies ready to use at times when you are experiencing negative feelings or thoughts. Whether it’s caused by an external situation that you can’t control or an internal low that may be a symptom of depression or anxiety. Affirmations help to reprogram our minds to challenge negative self-talk.
How Many Affirmations Should I Focus On At a Time?
There is no one right answer as to how many affirmations you should focus on at one time. There is also no wrong answer. The key is to figure out what works for you.
Initially, I make a huge list of affirmations I wanted to work on. But I knew I couldn’t remember or focus on all of them at the same time. So I divided them into categories and picked a few (maybe 3-5) to focus on at a time. That way I could focus on a particular issue I needed to work on at a time. (such as the limiting beliefs I had about being Bipolar.)
You can see how I took my huge list of positive affirmations to say every day and divided them up into categories in this post.
I repeated and used those until I could just think about the topic and I noticed that the affirmations had become automatic thoughts. Then I move on to the next issue or topic I needed to work on.
As I go forward in strengthening my mental health and developing good mental health habits, I think of new affirmations I want to add to my list.
You should think of practicing positive affirmations as an ongoing process.
The End Result
I can’t tell you how powerful using positive affirmations has been in strengthing my mental health and balancing my mood. And as you can proba
Although the medication I take is crucial (and the foundation) of my mental wellness, affirmations have been one of the most beneficial CBT techniques I have used.
It is also one of my favorite ways to meditate (since I really don’t like traditional meditation.)–But don’t tell my therapist! ?
If you want more help with creating positive affirmations, check out my Affirmation Starter Kit in the Chronic Illness Warrior Life Shop!