The science of positive affirmations

Do you know why they are called ‘Mind games’? Because they are just that, games that our mind plays. The human mind is a queer organ, born clean slate (tabula rasa), but once the ego develops, it starts its machinations. The human mind is said to be a good servant but a poor master; not without reason. It gives in to temptation very fast. Doesn’t listen to our sub-conscious mind and constantly holds duels and battles with it. It has to be tamed. If you know how self-help experts guide us with taming this shrewd mind, you will know the importance of it all. Louise Hay popularized the habit of standing in front of a mirror and saying to yourself ‘I love you’ first thing in the morning. When she tells us to say that, all she is doing is to train the mind into a positive frame.

How the mind works

Our mind is an abstract concept, independent of the brain but also aligned with it at the same time. Psychology, Spirituality, Neuroscience all look at the same mind through different perspectives. At birth, our mind has no identity of its own. Then we get a name so it identifies with the name. Slowly, the id, ego and superego start to develop. Concepts like Me, mine start to evolve. The mind starts identifying itself with the world. This identity is not independent but always in context to something else. Ex: Our idea of beauty should have been independent. But it is always in context with the standards set by the world which are actually different in different parts of the world at differing times. When the mind finds it difficult to adapt to the context of the world, it gets into a negative spiral. It’s very easy to fall into this abyss but very difficult to come out quickly. That is where positive affirmations help.

What are positive affirmations
They are like a soothing balm to a mind in turmoil. But they will not work if we merely say them without believing. The mind cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. So when you watch a movie or a play, you end up experiencing all the emotions as though they were true scenarios. Taking cue from this, we can train our mind to adapt to situations better. A large part of our personality is shaped even by the time we reach the age of 6 and it stays for a lifetime. Early life experiences of a feeling of or hearing someone say about us triggering fear, abandonment, failure, incompetence or hatred shapes our personality in that mould. As we grow up, these emotions override and it takes some effort for us to steer the mind towards positivity through positive affirmations.

Where do positive affirmations help

Self talk through positive affirmations helps in several scenarios

  1. In cases of people with a negative mindset that prevents them from aiming big or achieving meaningful success
  2. In interpersonal conflicts where a person’s insecurity makes it impossible to establish strong relationships with others
  3. In students who are marred in self doubt about academic abilities and success
  4. In patients with psycho somatic disorders who need help with a change in mindset
  5. In people suffering from depression
  6. In people with low self esteem and those are absolutely not assertive
  7. In insomniacs who lose sleep over worry and anxiety
  8. For sportsperson and competitive people who need to maintain a positive attitude and frame of mind for long duration’s
  9. For people, especially adolescents and women, facing identity crisis
  10. For people with negative concepts of body and beauty

How to work with positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are miniature versions of what a counselor or a parent / mentor would tell us and we would wholeheartedly believe. But we face situations that make us weigh down under our own negative thoughts too frequently. So we are our own best mentors when it comes to this. Science also supports daily positive affirmations in that it actually rewires the brain infusing cognitive bias in your favor. It trains the mind to think in a positive way.

Positive affirmations when done daily with full belief and convictions can actually show very encouraging signs of change in mindset and personality.

To begin with, identify your problem areas that bother you or hamper your progress. It could anything from body shape, intelligence, confidence, wealth, strength, parenting ability or just mere being normal. Be very specific about noting down all that troubles you. These are the demons in the mind with whom we have a constant fight. Now write a positive affirmation against every negative statement that you experience in your mind.

Read both statements and note how you feel about both. Start saying the positive statement by looking into the mirror. Look in your own eyes and say with a  smile. Believe what you are saying as though someone else is saying it to you.

At the same time, make sure you never again allow the negative statement to enter your mind at all. Catch it when it’s in the bud stage and nip it off by replacing it with the positive affirmation. It takes some practice for this to happen on auto mode, but you can do it.

Use affirmations that are convincing and make you feel good about yourself like

  1. I am putting my 100% in my work today and I know I will succeed
  2. I am really beautiful inside and out.
  3. It is a beautiful day full of opportunities that will help me succeed
  4. I am worthy of love, wealth, health and success
  5. I am loved. I am strong. I am enough
  6. I am taking care of my health and I am getting healthier by the day

A word of caution.

Use of or practice of positive affirmations must never be done with a mind that doubts its efficacy. When you know you need help to change and improve, trust the solution wholeheartedly. Put in your full conviction when you say these statements and believe them to be true. Only then can these statements work in your favor.

What are some of the positive affirmations that you use which have worked wonders in your life? How has the use of positive affirmations helped you change your mindset? Take a moment and comment below.

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