How to Use Affirmations Effectively

Updated: Aug 31

Why is it important to use affirmations effectively? Because one of the most influential factors in creating a happy and healthy mind is your self-talk, which can take many forms. Not only does it consist of the words used consciously, including affirmations, but also the subconscious conversations that circulate in your psyche.


Affirmations can be damaging


Affirmations are considered the cure-all for negative inner-talk. But, in many ways, they can be more damaging to our self-esteem. Let me give you an example. Say you want to use an affirmation to gain more confidence or become calmer. Words such as ‘I am extremely confident in all things’ is likely to produce a strong kick-back from your subconscious, which screams ‘Oh no you’re not! Look at you; you’re a quivering wreck at work, you become tongue-tied when speaking to others, you’ve always been timid. Who are you trying to kid?’ Likewise, declaring ‘I am calm at all times’ is going to make your mind laugh that you’re always in a state of anxiety. Can you see the problem that affirmations, while seemingly a useful tool, can work against you?


Coax your Subconscious Mind


Your subconscious needs to be coaxed into accepting new thoughts and beliefs, because the mind, being the prehistoric relic that it is, clings onto what is familiar. And what is familiar is what it’s heard a thousand times. Your subconscious has eavesdropped on your thoughts, taking them in and filing them under ‘the truth’. Your thoughts and beliefs aren’t necessarily the truth. They’re just thoughts that you’ve repeated often enough so that they appear correct and valid. A useful way to overcome the problem is to prelude your desired affirmation with the term ‘I am in the process of becoming – fill in the blank’.

Although you may feel an initial resistance from your subconscious to this statement, with determination – and repetition – over time, the subconscious will accept the new concept as your regular thinking pattern.


Why Affirmations Need to be Repeated


The key to success is in the repetition. That means that it’s essential to remind yourself to do it. What ways can you think of to prompt yourself to repeat your chosen affirmation to yourself? Which would be most comfortable and successful for you? After a while, which may be a few weeks or a few months, when your subconscious becomes lulled into accepting your affirmation, you can move onto the next stage.


Build Up the Use of Affirmations


Émile Coué, the French psychologist and pharmacist, taught others a self-improvement method termed conscious autosuggestion. His famous phrase was ‘Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better’. And indeed, many of his patients did improve their lives.


So, leading on from this, you can say to yourself ‘Every day, in every way, I’m getting more and more – fill in the blank’. An example might be ‘Every day, in every way, I’m getting more and more confident’. Or you might like to tweak it and say, ‘Every day, in every way, I’m feeling calmer’. Use whatever feels right for you.


Use Affirmations in Different Ways


To maximise the effect of affirmations, it’s useful to incorporate different ways of affirming to yourself. Self-talk doesn’t have to be affirmations spoken aloud or silently to yourself. Other ways to sink the concept deep into your subconscious include writing the words down repeatedly in a journal; since this includes not only seeing the words but also the physical imprinting of the words through the action of moving the pen across the paper. Typing the words would be another way to involve physical action. Reading the words regularly is also useful; as is imagining in your mind reading the words printed in a book.


Using the various parts of the mind in this way can speed up the process of enabling your subconscious to accept your new way of thinking, as different parts of the brain process information in different ways.


Eventually, your subconscious will accept the affirmation not only as fact but also as an instruction to be carried out. The affirmation becomes part of your inner programming; a bit like upgrading the software on your ‘neck-top computer’ and it simply goes about the business of ensuring you stick to the new programme. Which means your mind starts to work for you, instead of against you.


Decide on Your Affirmations


The trick is to take time to think about which affirmations would increase your ability to create happiness in your life and work through them in order of importance to you.


Your task today is to jot down various affirmations and decide which one to use first. To begin with, start with just one affirmation. If you try ten different affirmations, you may feel overwhelmed, trying to remember them all, which will feel awkward. Beginning with just one affirmation will be easier and far more effective.


Be patient and allow time for it to be accepted as fact by the subconscious before moving onto another one. Remember, repetition and persistence are the keys to success!


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