A positive affirmation is a statement or word that empowers you.
It’s a simple, but powerful tool that can help you cope during stressful times at work, provide comfort when you’re feeling anxious, and give you an emotional boost before big moments.
A positive affirmation helps you tame the negative thoughts that are swirling in your head, and shift your focus to something more motivating and inspiring.
Here are some of the ways that positive affirmations can benefit your life:
- Improve your performance.
- Help you slow down your thoughts. Provide stress and anxiety relief.
- Build confidence.
- Increase motivation.
- Be more mindful of the present moment.
How to choose a positive affirmation
When it comes to choosing a positive affirmation, it’s good to go with one that resonates with your values or current situation.
For example, if you’re experiencing work-related anxiety, or feeling pressured to do well in a meeting or interview, you might find it helpful to recite a positive phrase that reminds you of your skills and talent. For example, “I will land on my feet” or “I am comfortable speaking to others.” Or perhaps a mantra that puts things in perspective, and will help ease the pressure, such as “I will always have new opportunities” or “it’s okay to take risks.”
A positive affirmation is more powerful if you connect with it on a personal or emotional level. If an affirmation sounds too unrealistic or if it’s not aligned with your values, you’ll probably want to skip it. For instance, telling ourselves that we’ll be wealthy and live in a mansion may sound too far-off from where we really want to be. An affirmation works best if we feel inspired or comforted by it.
So maybe instead of saying “I believe I’ll live in a big mansion”something more affirming would be “My home is my sanctuary” or “I will find a home that I love soon.”
How to use a positive affirmation
Use your journal
After you pick your mantra, take a moment to reflect on the statement and what it means to you.
Write the positive affirmation down. Then write it again. It’s the repetitive act that makes a mantra stick. Think of how often negative thoughts creep into our consciousness. We need to outweigh the negative with something healthy and empowering. By repeating the positive affirmation, it enables us to release the negative thoughts and center our mind.
Many people like to write their positive affirmation in cursive. The cursive writing forces you to slow down and really take in the meaning of the words.
You can write down your positive affirmations whenever you’re feeling stressed and anxious. Or you can make it a part of your daily routine. After writing in your journal, take a moment to write down positive affirmations for the day. Or turn to them at night as part of your calming evening routine.
Say them out loud
Another technique is to recite your positive affirmation out loud.
The key is to recite the positive affirmation multiple times. The repetition helps center your thoughts and puts your focus on something positive.
You can recite your positive affirmation to build confidence before a big presentation or a job interview. Or you can recite them whenever you’re experiencing self-doubt or insecurity.
The great thing about this technique is that you can do it anywhere and at any time, and you can start to experience the soothing benefits after reciting an affirmation a few times.
Make it visual
If you have an easier time retaining visual information, turn your positive affirmation into something eye-catching.
Write it down on a colorful post-it or put it in the center of your vision board. You can display your positive affirmation at your workspace and give yourself an emotional boost whenever you’re feeling stressed. Or stick it on a mirror so that you can see these words before you get ready for work. Or place it by your bedside so that you can start and end your day on a positive note.
Turn it into self-care
It takes practice to talk to ourselves in a loving and positive way. After being in the habit of talking to ourselves critically, we need to build the habit of replacing negative talk with positive talk.
One way to practice positive self-talk is to incorporate it into your routine. If you have a regular self-care day, use this time to practice self-affirming language. Maybe recite a positive affirmation while doing morning stretches or after drinking a cup of tea. It will make your self-care day that much more inspiring and calming.
Pair it with a mindful activity
You can pair your positive affirmation with a mindful activity like coloring, knitting, or even doing the dishes.
Mindfulness is the state of being in the present moment. You’re not thinking about mistakes you made in the past or worrying about how things will go wrong in the future. Part of what makes us anxious is that we usually have one foot in the past or in the future.
A mindful activity helps us focus on the task at the hand and keeps us in the present. By keeping distractions and negative thoughts at bay, we can start to feel emotional and physical relief.
Positive affirmations to help you manage anxiety and stress
Feel free to use these exact words, or use them as inspiration to craft your own positive mantra.
- I can get through this.
- I will try my best.
- My past does not define me.
- I will focus on the things that I can manage and let go of the things I cannot.
- I am smart and capable.
- I release the things that are holding me back.
- On the exhale, I let go of stress and worry. On the inhale, I feel calm.
- This feeling is temporary.
- I will handle it day by day.
- I can start fresh tomorrow.
- I will slow down my thoughts.
- My body feels relaxed.
- “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”– Confucius
- “It’s always the simple that produces the marvelous.” – Amelia Barr
If you need additional guidance on managing stress and anxiety, make sure to talk to a professional you trust.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline is a free, confidential, hotline that provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to find more resources.