You are loved. You are beautiful. You are intelligent. How often have you said these words to yourself and if the answer is “never,” is it worth starting? In case you thought self-affirmations have little inherent benefits, researchers at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology discovered findings that may put your doubts to rest. The researchers conducted three experiments to measure how people performed in high-stress situations. The results showed that when participants were in a position of higher power, they tended to stay strong under the pressure. When they are in a position of lower power, however, positive self-affirmations helped them ‘level the playing field.’
What Do Scientists Recommend?
During the study, the researchers recommended that people reflect on the things that are good about themselves. Writing down powerful affirmations about the self is more effective than just thinking it. Self affirmation, claimed the researchers, actually helps you raise your own standards. When you have low expectations, your performance tends to sink in line with them. By reminding yourself of your strengths, skills, and talents, you can set higher goals and meet them because you have the motivation and drive to do so.
The Science Behind the Power of Self-Affirmation
A study carried out by the Association for Psychological Science sought to discover why positive self-affirmations can have such beneficial effects on anxiety, stress, and defensiveness. They found that these affirmations make people feel more open to unfavorable feedback. At the same time, it also makes them more attentive and emotionally receptive to the errors they make. This in turn can improve their work performance and enable them to avoid making the same mistakes twice. Moreover, other studies have shown additional benefits to this practice – including those of improving brain functioning and helping people overcome difficult situations including poverty.
How Can You Include Positive Affirmations In Your Life?
Writing down self affirmations strengthens the message they relay. Keep a notebook where you can list a few affirmations, and make colorful posters that you can display in your bedroom or relaxation room. Your affirmation should be written in the present tense and be positive yet brief. The affirmations should be centered on yourself and some of them should aim to counter the negative messages you tend to give yourself. To work out what these messages are, keep a journal by your side and write them down. Try to think of a positive statement that can counter each of these negative ones. Focus on the things you already feel good about as well. This could be anything from your personality to your talents and abilities, and even the way you get on with others.
To make the most of self affirmations, write them down and try to get into a mindful state when you are reading them out or telling them to yourself. To achieve this state, practice controlled breathing exercise and try to keep your mind in the here and now. If negative thoughts and feelings crop up, don’t fight them. Recognize them and work through them until you reach a more positive state. Once you are calm, tell yourself wonderful things that can lift your mood, make you more attentive, and help to reduce stress. Try doing this soon after waking up – if possible, while gazing at the beautiful sunrise!