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Affirmations are positive declarations or statements that empower and encourage us to pursue our goals and desires. They help us move beyond our intentions and into action.
Often, they are written in the present state, as if they’ve already happened. For example, if you are working toward improving your physical fitness, you might construct a statement like, “I am strong and healthy.” Likewise, if your vision of the future includes becoming a musician, you might say, “I am a successful, well-known musician.” Assertions like these help us envision our future as if we are already living it. And some statements can be less goal-oriented and more holistic. Author Brené Brown coined the popular affirmation “I am enough” in her TED Talk on vulnerability.
Affirmations give us the recognition we often deserve, but may not always receive from external sources. When we are gentle with ourselves and celebrate our personal accomplishments, we can create the conditions to become more actively involved in our life–and our health.
Studies have found that use of affirmations can reduce stress and defensiveness, and improve our health behaviors. As part of my self-care journey, I spent some time creating new affirmations to reflect my current goals and vision for the future. Since I already journal quite regularly, it was easy to incorporate this practice into my routine.
If you’re new to this concept, though, Ronald Alexander, Ph.D. offers some tips for how to make affirmations more effective and powerful.