Have you ever stopped to consider the power of words and how affirmations can transform your life? Consider this, how many times a week do you say to yourself ‘I could never afford that’ or ‘I’ll never have my dream job’? It’s highly unlikely that you even notice these thoughts, but it’s even more unlikely that you realise how they are actually contributing towards you not achieving financial freedom, landing your dream job or any other desire that you may long for. That’s because these types of thoughts are affirmations.
“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts” James Allen
Affirmations are simply statements or sentences that we say or think repeatedly. They can be positive or negative and affect both your conscious and subconscious mind. What is so powerful about affirmations is that by repeating them daily – you can actually transform your life. What you think or say over and over can sink into your subconscious mind and, believe it or not, become part of your reality. This can be a little tricky to grasp at first – but there is science behind it.
There is a small piece of your brain that starts close to the top of the spinal column and extends upwards around two inches. This is the Reticular Activating System (RAS) and nearly all of your senses, perceptions, thoughts and feelings are wired directly to this part of your brain. The RAS acts as a filter – ensuring that your brain doesn’t receive more information than it can handle and therefore plays a huge role in what you perceive on a daily basis. When you repeat statements such as ‘I’ll never become a writer’ or ‘People like me don’t become managers’, the RAS is receiving this repeated information and allowing it through the filter – making it part of our daily experience. And this is the reason why it’s so important to choose to repeat positive, rather than negative, affirmations.
“The only limitation is that which one sets up in one’s own mind.” Napoleon Hill
You may not even consider yourself to be a particularly negative person, but every complaint, every internal moan about a colleague, and every dismissal of your abilities is an affirmation. If you decide to utilise the power of affirmations, you need to make the conscious decision to stop saying certain things to yourself first. On her beautiful blog, From Roses, Rebecca writes about the things she wants to stop telling herself on a daily basis including statements such as ‘I’ll be happy when…’, ‘You’re not doing good enough’ and ‘You’re boring’. To really harness the power of affirmations you need to consciously commit to stopping saying certain things and start repeating positive statements.
So what sorts of statements make good affirmations? There’s no right or wrong formula to a ‘good’ affirmation, what’s important is that it relates to a way you want to feel, something you want to achieve or a mind-set you want to create. Positive affirmations are truly positive – you should always try to avoid statements such as ‘I don’t have a low paid job’ or ‘I am not lonely’. The very words that make up these statements are negative: ‘don’t’, ‘low paid’, ‘lonely’. A really effective positive affirmation is constructed in the present tense and consists of positive words so try ‘I have a job that pays me well’ or ‘I have a busy social life with people I love’.
So what if you do have a low paid job or genuinely have very few friends? It can seem like you’re almost taunting yourself by repeatedly saying or thinking otherwise. The point about a positive affirmation is that by consciously choosing to think these positive thoughts you are putting yourself on the path to change. Whether or not the statements you decide to repeat are true at that moment in time they are helping to motivate you and keep your mind focused on a goal as well as helping to retrain your thinking to become more positive and energised. You are purposefully opening doors to a happier and more successful life.
“Your word is your wand. The words you speak create your own destiny” Florence Scovel Shinn
It’s not only important to think these affirmations. Writing them down and saying them out loud with action and conviction is crucial to increasing their effectiveness. And again – there’s science behind this. Remember that little part of your brain – the RAS? It processes nearly all of your senses and cognitions making what you think and perceive part of your experience and identity. When you not only think your affirmations, but also write them or verbalise them and say them out loud with passion, you are increasing how often your RAS processes them, maximising their impact on your subconscious and attitude. Angela, founder and writer at Angela’s Haven, even uses painting to help her repeat her affirmations. By turning your thoughts into words or images, you are really drumming them down into your subconscious making you much more likely to act upon them.
Isn’t it amazing to think that the power to transform your life is already inside you? You must choose positive change, and start to think and speak that change. It really is possible to transform your life to become happier and more fulfilling and you can start with simple, positive words!
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