How to develop a positive affirmation practice

Affirmations can be an incredible resource for cultivating more self-love and fostering resilience. Laia shares how to develop your own daily practice with 10 affirmations to get you started.

How to develop an affirmation practice

Many see affirmations as just fancy pep talk, and even though there’s certainly an element of “fake-it-till-you-make-it” energy, when practiced with intentionality and regularly, daily affirmations can become a supportive tool for your journey.

In this article we will discuss:

  • Becoming aware of your negative thoughts and patterns
  • Benefits of practising positive affirmations
  • How to create your own affirmations
  • How to use your affirmations
  • 10 positive affirmations to get you started

Read on!

Becoming aware of your negative thoughts and patterns

If you meditate, journal, or practice mindfulness you may be quite familiar with the abundance of negative thoughts and self-deprecating talk that your mind engages in.

Certain situations can activate (trigger) those detrimental patters, damaging your self-esteem and affecting your life.

We have around 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day, and studies concur that 90% of those thoughts are repetitive. Of those, approximately 80% are, in broad terms, negative.

These numbers may sound ridiculous, but if you have ever consistently journaled, or meditated you’ll know that to be quite true.

Ruminating, negative thoughts are a tremendous source of anxiety and stress, and can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Whether or not you know it, you are using affirmations all the time:
“I can’t do this.”
“I am so stupid.”
“I am such a bad cook.”
“I will never find a better job.”

All those are affirmations that you may be allowing to take over your conscious and subconscious mind, day in and day out. Because when left unattended, the mind has a clear tendency to lean toward negative thinking.

That’s not necessarily because you’re a negative person or a glass-half-empty kind of human, but because your brain is simply trying to keep you safe.

Practices like yoga, meditation, and Qi Gong, are designed to move your energy, helping you develop self-awareness, hence allowing you to take a bit of perspective from your own mind.

Benefits of practising positive daily affirmations

Positive affirmations are phrases that you choose to repeat to yourself. They bring you to the present moment and move you away from the monkey mind.

Affirmations are a simple way to challenge self-sabotaging thoughts, and tip the scale toward a more balanced mind. Often making space to create positive change in your life.

When you use positive affirmations daily that align with who you are, your intentions and your goals, you are creating new neural pathways. In effect, reprogramming your mind, and taking charge of the narrative that accompanies you throughout your day and your life.

There are many ways in which you can start a positive affirmation practice. But if you want to truly set yourself up for success, consider writing your own and committing to practising them daily.

It will take a bit more time and intention, yet it will be personalised to your needs and wants, making them much more aligned with your truth, and that much more powerful.

Types of affirmations

You can utilize two different types of positive affirmations to support your life: goal affirmations, and mantra affirmations.

Goal affirmations

Goal affirmations are, indeed, more goal oriented! These types of affirmations are often written in the present progressive tense, as if something that is already happening and will continue to happen in the future.
Example: “I am so happy and healthy now that I make time for self-care every day.”

Mantra affirmations

Mantra affirmations are written as if the thought or the intention has already come true. They are written in the present tense, and they are ideal to repeat to yourself in meditation or throughout the day to keep you connected to yourself and your intentions.
Example: “I am healthy and happy. I practice self-care daily.”

Goal affirmations can be especially useful if you feel like you need a little convincing and encouragement to embody this energy. Whereas, mantra affirmations work well if you feel aligned with this belief or energy already.

How to create your own affirmations

Creating your own positive affirmations can be quite a fun process if you allow it to be.
It will require a good bit of self-reflection, which can often be challenging, so give yourself grace, space, and love as you move through this process.
Pause when you need to and take care of yourself.

1. Recognise your core values

A great way to discover what you truly need in your life right now, is taking some time to sit with yourself, journal, and recognise what direction you intend to take with your life right now, by setting your core values.
You can start by using a list like this one from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. First scratch off the words you don’t resonate with. From there, begin to group some of those words that are alike together. Choose the one from each group that you connect to most.
Eventually reducing the list to 5 or 6 values that feel true to you right now and that you want to continue to foster.
For example:

  • Balance
  • Peace
  • Kindness
  • Love
  • Joy

You can tweak and change this list periodically or when it is time to realign, but it will give you a clear screenshot to help you move forward.

2. Start with “I”

To be able to change your mental patterns, it is important that you connect to these affirmations fully.
Speaking from “I” makes you the subject of the sentence, and the main character of the narrative, starting to connect you to this new pattern and truth.
For example: “I am enough.”

3. Write your affirmations in the present tense and in a positive voice

Whether this affirmation pertains to something you want to achieve in the future or connects you to a core value of who you already are, write your affirmations in the present moment.

Use positive language and focus on what you want to attract, instead of what you no longer want.
For example, if you have been going through challenging times, instead of: “Challenges won’t hold me down” try “I face and move through challenges confidently.”

4. Use uplifting verbs, adjectives, and language

Here is where a bit of that motivational pep-talk comes into play; the words you use to speak to yourself matter.
Use words that you like and that feel good when you say them or hear them.
Choose adjectives that describe the energies you want to embody.
For example: “I radiate confidence, beauty, and grace.”

5. Be realistic

When writing your affirmations, stay grounded and connected to the reality you’re in. Yes, dream big, yet be realistic. So, instead of: “I have a million euro in my bank account” your affirmation could be shaped a bit more like: “I am abundant beyond my wildest dreams.”

How to use your affirmations

How you use your affirmations is entirely up to you, get creative, and remember that repetition and consistency are key.

1. Write them down

Many people like to write their positive affirmations down. You can either use post it notes and place them somewhere where they can see them throughout the day. You can also write them in a piece of paper and carry them in your bag or pocket, so you can take these affirmations with you.

2. Say them in front of your mirror

If you choose to use a mirror, you could put some of the post it notes there so you can see them often, and you can also choose to take a breath and recite them every morning, or any time you pass by.

3. Repeat them as a mantra meditation

One of the most powerful ways to use your positive affirmations is to use them in meditation, reciting them as a mantra. Perhaps you start by repeating each affirmation 3 to 10 times, and eventually end up using it as a japa mala meditation, reciting it 108 times.

4. In your journaling practice

If you like journaling, you can write down your affirmations every day or every night as part of your ritual.

In the quest of growth and self-discovery, we encounter a wide diversity of tools and resources to explore, and even though we may not resonate with all of them, there is something exciting and exhilarating about trying something new that can potentially get us more connected to ourselves and to life.

Give yourself a chance to explore what works for you, keeping in mind you may want to create your own unique way to work with affirmations

10 positive affirmations to get you started

  1. For confidence and self-esteem: “I am worthy of success.”
  2. For self-love: “I choose myself”
  3. For self-forgiveness: “I am at peace with my past”
  4. For gratitude: “I am grateful for all the blessings in my life”
  5. For joy: “I accept joy and happiness as my true nature.”
  6. For manifestation: “I am open to all the creative possibilities”
  7. For sleep: I choose sleep, rest, peace, and relaxation”
  8. For anxiety: “I inhale peace, I exhale worry.”
  9. For self-compassion: “I open my heart to all that I am”
  10. For resilience: “I am resilient and handle things as they come”

Whether you choose to incorporate positive affirmations to your practice or not, finding practices that can support you throughout your day, and that are simple, is essential for a healthy and balanced life.

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Laia BovéLaia loves teaching Vinyasa flow classes that are fun, playful, and creative, often with a sprinkle of dharma and spirituality that create an empowering and supportive experience.