Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Praise of Affirmations ... it works for me!

Welcome to Day 29 of the 31 Days series It Works for Me!

yes ... 
I'm pretending it's still October 
and am determined to finish out the 31 posts for the 31 Days series ... 
28 down, 3 to go!

Look out ...

it's more psychobabble!

I've mentioned before I love self-improvement literature.
  One very common recommendation is the practice of positive affirmations.

I know what you're thinking!

it's okay to laugh ... it does seem a little silly!

But the countless wise people who recommend positive affirmations can't all be wrong. 
If you've never tried this practice, let me tell you a little about what I understand of it.

The Bible is my foundation for seeking and testing wisdom.  
I believe all true wisdom is rooted in Biblical principle.

You know the verse ...

The power of your thoughts is a force to be reckoned with.  

Basically, your mind doesn't make the distinction between what you think and reality.  
Thus, when you tell yourself that people like you, doggone it ... 
your mind believes it to be truth.
And when your mind believes it, you become it. 

There really is something to it.  

We all have self-talk going on in our heads all the time.  Positive affirmations are intentional positive statements that you tell yourself about yourself.  Especially if you have a habit of negative self-talk, using positive affirmations can help you re-program your thinking.  

A couple important points:  

-  Affirmations should be in the present tense.  As in "I am", as opposed to "I want to be" or 
"I will be".  Telling yourself you will be tells your mind that you don't have to right now.  Using the present tense is a little like tricking yourself.  Your mind dwells in the present, 
so telling yourself you are means it simply is.  

-  Affirmations should always be stated positively.  As in "I feel energetic and hopeful" as opposed to "I am not tired and discouraged".  For some reason, your mind hears "tired" and "discouraged" and ignores the not.  So always make sure your statement is clear and positive.

-  Affirmations should be believable.  Although your mind can be "tricked" into believing something is reality if you state it in the present tense, it will not be tricked into believing something that isn't credible.  So stating "I am an Olympic marathon runner" would be counter-productive, since my mind would get into an argument with itself because please, this is nowhere close to the truth.  However, stating "I am an exerciser" is believable, and it helps me build the habit.  

Initially, I was skeptical, but I decided to give it a shot.  
As an experiment, I told myself "I am happy."  
And while I knew that I already was happy, telling myself I was happy 
made me mindful of being happy ... and lo and behold, 
I became happier.  

There was a time when I felt as though every. single. decision 
took way too much effort and mental anguish ... 
so I began telling myself "I am decisive".  
I was surprised at how quickly I found making decisions to be less stressful and time consuming.  
It's like a switch is flipped, your mind goes back to what it's been told, 
and it acts accordingly.

I'm not trying to tell you that you can make vast and sweeping personal changes 
just by using positive affirmations.  For me, they help me visualize more clearly the person I want to be, and that takes me just a little step closer to being that person.  I go through periods where I use affirmations more regularly than not, and I would say that the days when I think on them are better than the days that I don't.  

I still have my first list of character qualities that I wanted to develop from which I created my list of affirmations.  I don't sit still and go through affirmations in a formal meditation, I generally just think on them while I'm doing more or less menial tasks.  
Repetition of the same affirmations seems to have a more sustained effect.  

Because I'm good enough.  I'm smart enough ... and doggone it ... people like me.


Affirmations ... it works for me!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :