Many methods take a considerable amount of time. Positive affirmations are a great way for you to take action immediately towards reducing your anxiety. Read on to learn more about how to use positive affirmations for anxiety today.
What are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations are intentional, constructive statements or thoughts to promote change and self-love while reducing stress and worry.
Social psychologist Claude Steele, the father of self-affirmation theory, recommends that positive affirmations begin with “I” or “my.” This first-person perspective connects positive affirmations more powerfully with your sense of self, making them more relevant and believable.
When you regularly repeat an encouraging and positive phrase, you give it power. In his self-affirmation theory, Claude Steele emphasizes that the more frequently you hear something, the more likely you’ll believe it over time. Positive affirmations can help you change your negative subconscious thoughts. Believing in your positive affirmations makes it more likely that you’ll take action to make your affirmations become your reality.
The Science Behind Positive Affirmations
Scientific research shows that positive affirmations are beneficial because they activate the human brain’s reward system. Two things motivate human action: needs and rewards. When you anticipate a reward, your brain releases dopamine. Dopamine helps lower your perception of pain and reduce the impact of physical and emotional distress.
Positive affirmations cause your brain to anticipate a reward: the manifestation of your affirmation. For this reason, social psychologists have prescribed daily positive affirmations for anxiety, body image issues, and other issues as a self-help strategy. Research has shown that positive affirmations are most effective when repeated in a variety of ways on a regular and consistent schedule.
Many experts have recommended the use of positive affirmations during hypnosis to re-educate the unconscious mind and boost self-esteem. Mental health professionals advocate for the use of positive affirmations on your cell phone set as an alarm or sticky notes posted in high-traffic areas. You must see and repeat positive affirmations regularly and consistently for them to have the best possible effect.
Claude Steele’s self-affirmation theory argues that it is better to affirm actions rather than what feels good or what may be. For example, it is better to say, “I am going to do well on this test” than “I am smart.” Affirmations that point to a state of being can often bring up unnecessary feelings of shame or guilt. Actionable affirmations avoid these emotions and celebrate the process instead of just the outcome.
Developed during an empirical study in the late 1980s by Claude Steele, self-affirmation theory is one of the main scientific arguments for the benefits of positive affirmations. The theory has three major tenets, which provide a greater understanding of how affirmations work. These three tenets are:
- When we practice self-affirmation, we maintain a self-narrative in which we can be ethical and able to adapt to different circumstances. This narrative makes up our self-identity. With positive affirmations, we feel able to adopt a variety of different roles and have success in each of them.
- Self-affirmation theory contends that maintaining self-identity is not about always being perfect or excellent at everything. Instead, it’s more important that we see ourselves as competent and capable in the areas that we value.
- To benefit from positive affirmations and maintain your self-integrity, you must behave in ways that genuinely deserve acknowledgment and praise. When practicing self-affirmations like, “I am an attentive mother,” your end goal by saying it shouldn’t simply be to receive that praise. For a positive affirmation like this to work well, you have to act in ways to deserve that praise by being the most attentive mother you can.
Practicing positive affirmations offers a variety of benefits, including improving your mood, increasing motivation, and boosting your self-esteem. When you use positive affirmations for anxiety regularly, they can help you address negative thoughts and solve problems with a calmer, clearer head.
Examples of Positive Affirmations
I know myself.
I respect myself.
I have confidence in myself.
I learn from my mistakes.
I give myself space to grow and learn.
I forgive myself for not being perfect.
I am a unique and worthy person.
I accept what I cannot change.
I make the best of every situation.
I am at peace with who I am as a person.
I value my time and effort.
I support and encourage others.
I put my energy into things that matter to me.
I take responsibility for my thoughts and emotions.
I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Can Positive Affirmations Help with Anxiety?
When you affirm yourself regularly and consistently, you improve how you can manage stressful situations. The ability to handle any challenge you may face will better prepare you to work towards a long-lasting change in the management of your anxiety. When you use positive affirmations for anxiety regularly, you help your brain become more resilient.
If you’re considering using positive affirmations for anxiety, you must ensure that your self-talk is grounded in reality and actionable. If you choose statements that aren’t realistic, you will struggle with motivation and self-confidence. Unrealistic affirmations will only make you feel more anxious, incapable, and unsuccessful.
If you’re anxious about money, saying to yourself, “I will inherit a vast sum of money” is not helpful or realistic. When you choose a more realistic affirmation like, “I am deserving of a raise at my current job and have the confidence to ask for one,” you’ll be more motivated to take actionable steps towards making your affirmation a reality. Unrealistic affirmations only stop you in your tracks.
Affirmations can reinforce your self-worth by encouraging both your positive opinion of yourself and your confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. Positive affirmations mitigate the panic, stress, and self-doubt that usually comes with anxiety. When anxious thoughts threaten to overwhelm you and make it difficult to focus on positive outcomes, affirmations help you regain control, change your negative thought patterns, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety.