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What are affirmations and how can I use them to change my life?

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

In essence an affirmation is a declaration. It is a positive sentence with powerful words to declare an intention and can be used to reprogramme the brain.

To understand how this works, you first need to know that the brain is made up of neural pathways which control our bodily functions, actions, emotions and thoughts by passing information from one neutron to another. It is thought that there are one trillion neural pathways in the brain.

Neural pathways become stronger the more times an instruction is repeated. For example, if you tell yourself that you are clumsy, a neural pathway is created to relay that information, the more times you have that thought, the stronger the pathway becomes.

When you say to someone else I am clumsy, you are adding to your belief.

I am are the two most powerful words in our language and our thoughts, words and actions have an energetic vibration which impacts on our health, relationship and quality of life. You are also giving other people permission to see and define you in this way and that can impact on your wellbeing, relationships and life opportunities.

So as with all language, it's important to be mindful how we use it. We need to be aware of the running commentary in our head all day and how we talk about ourselves to others.

Through mindful awareness, we will be able to identify thoughts that are not helping us to live our best life.

Once identified we can examine the thoughts and question whether they are our thoughts, created through experience or whether we have been conditioned to believe them by our family, friends, community or government.

We can then work out how we need to change the neural pathway that is communicating this belief in our brain and is being acted upon by our mind.

This is where affirmations come in.

An affirmation for this purpose must be positive, present tense and believable. We then repeat this affirmation as often as we can until we see a change in our mindset and ultimately the life that we are creating.

For example, if you have a low opinion of your worth, this may manifest as unsatisfactory relationships, low aspirations, people taking advantage and stress, anxiety or depression.

Affirmations that could be used are: I am enough or I am worthy of success and respect or I am becoming stronger every day.

The reason affirmations work is because the brain can't tell whether what it is being told is reality or imagination, it just processes the information.

So as long as you have an affirmation that you can believe, you can change the neural pathway.

Positive affirmations also raise our energy vibration and thus helps us to think more clearly, problem solve better and stay healthy all of which build confidence and resilience.

Affirmations can be repeated in your head, used as a mantra during meditation, written on post it notes and placed where you can see them, written out over and over again or used as a screen saver.

All repetition of the affirmation is positive but the optimal times are when you first wake up in the morning, during meditation and as you are dropping off to sleep at night as we are not engaging the thinking brain at these times and are in what is often call the creator mode or present moment awareness.

So, as I hope you can see, affirmations are a simple yet highly effective and underrated tool to have in your wellbeing kit.

If you are unsure about which affirmation to use, I post one each Monday on my social media. Start with them and as you become more comfortable, you will be able to create your own.

Alternatively, you can buy books and cards with affirmations on or you could even Google suggestions for an affirmation for a particular issue.

Happy affirming.


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