What are Affirmations?
An affirmation is a powerful statement or declarative sentence that empowers people to believe in themselves and their ability to grow, improve, and change their lives. For example, “I am relaxed and at ease” or “I am a precious human being”.
What are Afformations?
Afformations are a type of self-talk that are formulated as questions, rather than statements. The idea behind afformations is that they can help to change limiting beliefs and negative thought patterns by reframing them as questions that the subconscious mind will then try to find an answer to. It is believed that this process can act like a placebo effect in the subconscious mind, helping to change one’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions in a positive way.
What are Autosuggestions?
Autosuggestions are a form of verbal cues that allow one to become more open to altering specific habits and behaviors. These can be used in an Ericksonian approach, encouraging individuals to tap into the power of suggestion, or it can be a in the style of an authoritative instruction. “You can go ahead and let yourself feel relaxed now”- is an Ericksonian style approach whereas, “You feel so relaxed and at ease now”- is an example of an Authoritative style.
What are Mantras?
A mantra is a brief phrase, word, or sound that is used as a tool to help focus attention and promote relaxation. They can be repeated aloud, chanted, sung, whispered, or simply thought of in the mind. The word mantra is derived from the Sanskrit language and has been used in various spiritual traditions for centuries. Its literal meaning is “instrument of thought”.
What are the Benefits of Positive Self-Talk?
The use of positive self–talk in the form of affirmations, mantras and autosuggestions is not a new concept – these practices have been around since the dawn of human history. However, modern science has recently caught up to this ancient wisdom and there is now an abundance of research indicating that such techniques can be significantly beneficial for our mental health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.
McQueen and Klein (2006) found that positive self-affirmations can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health. The review of 39 published papers revealed that when people are exposed to positive self-affirmations, they experience increases in motivation and performance, better problem-solving abilities, improved emotional regulation, reduced stress levels, less negative thinking patterns and an increased sense of self-confidence.
Cohen & Sherman’s (2014) study explores the psychological effects of self-affirmation and social psychological interventions. The authors conducted experiments to assess how these techniques can influence one’s behavior, attitude, and beliefs. Through their research they found that self-affirmations were associated with increased motivation for change as well as greater levels of resilience in the face of adversity or failure. It was also identified that social psychological interventions such as goal setting and problem solving can be effective tools for supporting personal growth and positive outcomes in difficult situations. This emphasizes the importance of using individualized, realistic positive self-talk tools to create meaningful changes in one’s life.
Tips for Creating Affirmations
Writing your own self-affirmations can be as simple or complex as you’d like. Start by setting aside some time to reflect on the qualities and values that are important to you. Consider what makes you unique, and what strengths or abilities bring joy into your life. Once you have identified these things, write down affirmations that express them in a positive manner.
I believe in myself.
I can do great things.
I value my relationships with family and friends.
I will work towards becoming healthier each day.
I take care of myself so that I can take care of others.
Tips for Creating Afformations
Start with “why” or “how”. These words are powerful because they encourage the subconscious mind to seek out answers.
Make them positive and specific. Afformations should focus on what you want, rather than what you don’t want. Also, make them specific to the area of your life you want to improve, whether that’s your career, relationships, or health.
Use present tense. Afformations should be framed as if they are already true.
Keep them simple. Avoid using complex language or multiple ideas in one afformation.
Repeat them often. Afformations are most effective when they are repeated regularly. Repeat them to yourself multiple times a day and write them down to remind yourself to focus on them.
Believe in them. Afformations can only be effective if you believe in them. Avoid using ones that don’t resonate with you.
Why am I so happy and fulfilled?
How do I always attract the perfect opportunities?
Why am I so confident and successful in my career?
How do I easily maintain a healthy weight?
Why do I have such loving and supportive relationships?
Tips for Creating Autosuggestions
The term “autosuggestion” was first used by the French psychologist and neurologist, Hippolyte Bernheim, in the late 19th century. He used it to refer to the process of a person suggesting something to themselves, particularly in the context of hypnosis.
1. Keep your autosuggestions specific and relevant to your goals and desires.
2. Keep the language simple without using complex grammar or vocabulary.
3. Use positive and empowering language and focus on what you want, rather than what you do not want.
4. Make the suggestions specific and realistic.
5. For Indirect/Ericksonian style autosuggestions use metaphors, story-telling, or embedded commands.
6. Visualize yourself achieving these suggestions while writing them.
Indirect Ericksonian Autosuggestions
Imagine how good it would feel to be able to relax and let go of all your stress and worries.
You can feel confident and in control every time you have to publicly speak.
I wonder if you could feel how much happier you are now than you were only moments before?
Direct Authoritative Autosuggestions
Starting today, I will not eat or snack on food when I am not hungry.
Each time I open the fridge door, I will ask myself if I am really hungry or if I seek distraction.
I am worthy of love and respect and will not settle for anything less.
Tips for Creating Mantras
- Keep it short and simple. A mantra should be easy to remember and repeat unless you are turning it into a recording.
- A mantra should be a positive statement, sound, or affirmations that represents something you want to achieve. This could be a feeling, a mindset, or taking a specific action.
- Write a mantra that is specific to you or your client’s goals to make it as meaningful, empowering, and effective as possible.
- Make it time-bound by including a specific timeframe to create a sense of urgency and accountability (it is not suggested to use these for relaxation or sleep mantras).
I am the love and light.
Peace. Rest. Tranquility.
I grow and evolve.
I achieve my goals in the next 30 days.
In control of my thoughts and actions.
1 Minute Affirmations and Mantras
- Albalooshi, Moeini Jazani, M., Fennis, B. M., & Warlop, L. (2020). Reinstating the Resourceful Self: When and How Self-Affirmations Improve Executive Performance of the Powerless. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 46(2), 189–203. https://doi.org/10.1177/014616721985384
- COHEN, & SHERMAN, D. K. (2014). The Psychology of Change: Self-Affirmation and Social Psychological Intervention. Annual Review of Psychology, 65(1), 333–371. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115137
- Cascio, C. N., O’Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Strecher, V. J., & Falk, E. B. (2016). Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv136
- MCQueen, & Klein, W. M. P. (2006). Experimental manipulations of self-affirmation: A systematic review. Self and Identity, 5(4), 289–354. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298860600805325