Positive affirmations have been used, in various forms, for thousands of years. Affirmations are phrases that you can repeat to yourself over and over, locking the phrase into your mind and changing the way that you think and feel. People use positive affirmations for success, self-esteem, happiness, and many other things.
Affirmations can produce many positive changes in those who recite them. People attribute the effects of affirmations to be the result of many different things. In this article, we will touch on the various ways that affirmations can help improve mental and even physical health.
What Are Positive Affirmations?
In their simplest form, positive affirmation quotes are just encouraging phrases that you can repeat time after time. For example, “I am healthy and well.’ The purpose of repeating these phrases is to help encourage your subconscious mind to adopt the affirmation as a belief.
Positive affirmations are a sort of natural remedy that can be used as tools to facilitate self-growth. People have known and practiced this for thousands of years, originally with the ritualistic chanting of mantras.
Mantras: Affirmations Throughout the Ages
Mantras are an ancient form of affirmation, perhaps the oldest of all. Drawing from spiritual traditions, mantras are a lot more diverse and powerful than simple affirmations.
Many older mantras are written in Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Hindus. Sanskrit, as well as ancient Hebrew, are said to have been used by God as formative languages for the creation of the universe.
Mantras can be used alone, but they were often chanted by large groups. Mantras become significantly more powerful when they’re vocalized in harmony by numerous people.
Rather than just singing random words, ritualistic mantra chanting is more akin to casting a spell than reciting an affirmation. Mantras were often designed to invoke the power of Creation to bestow positive blessings on individuals and communities.
Benefits of Positive Affirmations
There are many benefits to using positive affirmations. Even though people have attested to the benefits of positive affirmations, nowadays we also have scientific testing to verify most of these claims.
Here are a few of the best benefits that you can enjoy when using positive affirmations.
Positive affirmations for stress reduce both the physical and mental symptoms of stress and change negative or restricting beliefs or thoughts that might be its cause. Affirmations also encourage mindfulness by allowing you to surrender to the present moment, rather than resisting it. Resistance is a major cause of stress.
Building new habits
Positive affirmations are a great way to encourage yourself to take up new habits. If you maintain the positive affirmations then you won’t have a chance to forget about your new intentions because you’ll be reminded each time you perform the affirmation. People have used affirmations to:
- Develop new exercise routines
- Begin to practice meditating
- Start a daily journal
- Eat healthily
- Improve their self-image
- Finish old projects and start new ones
Positive affirmations have been shown to have the interesting benefit of influencing the way that our brain responds to incoming messages, whether they’re social messages (from another person or, say, an email), advertising messages, or even subliminal messages.
After regularly using positive affirmations, people became less receptive to negative messages, such as those portrayed by the news or the media. At the same time, they became more receptive and aware of positive messages that were presented in their environment…
Increasing work ethic and performance
Positive affirmations can help keep you focused and determined to work. They can also help you foster good relationships with your coworkers.
At their core, affirmations and mantras are both very spiritual practices. Many mantras are designed to help people strengthen their connection with either their spirit or with God. Even if you’re not using spiritually-inclined mantras, you’re still honing your spiritual senses: mindfulness, clarity of thought, and intuition.
Increased self-esteem and overall well-being
One of the most popular uses of mantras is to help encourage a healthy self-image and build confidence through the repetition of phrases that promote self-love. This can increase your overall well-being, mood, and appreciation for life.
Diminishing negative feelings
Positive affirmations are just that: positive. Repeating them can help you rid yourself of negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, sadness, or grief.
Remember, though, that there’s no “easy way out” when it comes to processing feelings. If you use a mantra to cast away some unwanted negative feelings, the only way that’ll happen is if you process that feeling and let it go. So this means that you might initially get sadder, or angrier. This is normal. It’s just the emotion passing through.
How Do Affirmations and Mantras Work?
There are various explanations as to how and why affirmations work.
For many years, spiritual traditions upheld that mantras imbued the chanters with energy and love drawn down from the divine. If you’ve ever watched a group chanting mantras, then you’ll know that this certainly seems to be what’s happening. However, the Western mind still prefers to take evidence in the form of scientific study, so here are some of the biochemical and psychological functions of affirmations.
Programming the subconscious
Your subconscious mind occupies the vast majority of your consciousness and contains all of the beliefs, ideas, and thoughts that compose your innermost being. For the most part, though, you’re completely unaware of it. This makes it very hard to alter its contents or even to be aware of what’s going on within it.
Repetition is one of the best tricks for hammering new information or ideas into the subconscious. Thus, repeating mantras and affirmations over and over causes the subconscious to adapt these affirmations as beliefs.
Harmonizing the Brain and Body
Interestingly, science has only recently begun to describe a phenomenon that ancient Hindus have understood for thousands of years: the concept of harmonics that we discussed earlier. Any multiple of a base sound frequency is said to be its harmonic. The Hindus understood that chanting in a harmonic tone that matches our brain waves would influence consciousness.
What researchers now call Delta and Gamma brain waves both represent the two fastest and most subtle states of consciousness. Delta brainwave states can be generated by chanting as well as during states of deep meditation, and Gamma brainwaves resulted when individuals were observed during states of altruism or unconditional love.
Positive Affirmations and Neuroscience
Positive affirmations can also create many changes in the brain that can be observed with modern scientific techniques.
Affirmations influence the brain’s reward center, a complex system of neurotransmitters affected primarily by dopamine. The reward center is usually activated when we do something good for our health, such as exercising or having sex. Mantras and affirmations can produce a sensation of reward and accomplishment by activating this same system.
Affirmations have also been shown to interact with the prefrontal cortex, a highly evolved part of the brain that deals with our sense of self. Affirmations improve our ability to regulate emotional responses and reactions. This makes it easier to remain composed during moments of intense
Positive Affirmations and Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is a term that describes our brain’s ability to adapt and make changes, develop new ‘circuitry’, and build new connections. Neuroplasticity allows us to mold and shape our brain according to what sort of information we feed it.
Affirmations can influence neuroplasticity as well. Because, as it turns out, our brain has a hard time telling the difference between an experienced event and an imagined event. So that means that if you repeatedly tell your brain something as if it had already happened, then it will activate the same neural circuitry that it would if the thing was happening.
This means that you can prepare yourself for all sorts of situations by simply affirming them in your head. You can adjust the way you perceive and think about situations. If you’re about to go on a date, visualize yourself having a great time, laughing, and gazing into your date’s eyes. The trick here is that you have to feel the things you’re imagining, believe not only that they’re going to happen, but that they’ve already happened.
When you imagine something so clearly, so intently, and so emphatically that it’s like you’ve already done it, you’ll start experiencing the feelings that would accompany the experience: gratitude, appreciation, pride, accomplishment, or whatever!
When and How to Use Positive Affirmations
So, how do you go about performing positive affirmations? Should you just walk around babbling affirmations to yourself all day long?
In all honesty, that’d be a great way to jump right into the practice. The fastest way to hammer an affirmation deeply into your subconscious is to repeat it incessantly until it becomes second nature. It’s sort of like muscle memory, but for your subconscious brain.
Otherwise, you can simply set aside some time to mantras throughout the day. There’s no specific set amount of time for doing this. 10-20 minutes of repeating your affirmations should be enough unless you want to follow the traditional Eastern method.
108 Times the Sun & Moon
Buddhist and Hindu traditions recommend chanting a mantra 108 times. This can be made easier by using a set of prayer beads, which are made with exactly 108 beads.
Each time you chant your mantra or affirmation, select the next prayer bead. Repeat this until you’ve finished a whole 108 repetitions.
The Hindus placed great significance on the number 108, and rightly so: it demonstrates the Vedic mathematicians’ thorough understanding of astronomy and astrology in numerous ways – ways that our supposedly modern science has only discovered in the last few decades thanks to the development of incredibly complex machinery.
The number is a mathematical representation of a fascinating ratio: the sun, the moon, and the earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the sun’s diameter. The same is true of the Moon: its distance from Earth is 108 times its diameter. And finally, the diameter of the sun itself is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
This mathematical revelation is an astonishing statement of nature’s symmetry, and yet the odds of such perfect harmony existing at such a large scale in a purely random universe have given many scientists reason to pause and reconsider their beliefs.
And yet this sort of natural symmetry is exactly what the Hindu people captured with their study of universal harmonics and the resonance of mantras.
Examples of Affirmations for Different Situations
There are lots of different affirmations that can be applied to any situation where you’d like to see a positive change take place.
Positive affirmations for kids
These positive affirmations will help your kids find happiness and strength.
- I have good, healthy habits.
- I will never give up.
- I will celebrate every win, even if it’s small.
- I will remain motivated even if progress slows.
- I am here, right now, and everything is okay.
Positive affirmations for men & women
Positive affirmations for women and men are, naturally, going to be a bit different than those recommended for kids. That said, there’s no real difference between positive affirmations for men versus those for women, so we’ve combined the list here.
- I will focus on the process, not the outcome.
- I listen closely and connect with my friends.
- I remain alert and active.
- I will honor my emotions, but they will not control me.
- I stand strong in my boundaries.
- I am energetic and motivated.
Positive affirmations for self-love
- I am here to support myself.
- I love and cherish my own company.
- I deserve nice things.
- I am worthy of respect and love.
- I am authentic and genuine.
Positive affirmations for stress
- I value my mental and emotional health.
- My mind is clear and focused.
- I will not take on other people’s energy.
- It’s okay to work at my own pace.
- I am doing the best that can be done.
Affirmations are a great way to improve your overall mental and physical health. Affirmations – simple phrases that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day – have the unique ability to penetrate your subconscious mind. This allows them to change deep-seated beliefs that may be influencing your behavior.
Affirmations and mantras have been an extremely important aspect of history throughout all the different cultures. Whether you prefer to follow a scientific or spiritual belief system, now you can rest assured that – no matter which you prefer – mantras and affirmations produce tangible changes in the human mind and body.