“Just think positive.” It’s common advice when we’re going through something challenging. Sometimes, though, it can make us want to scream. You may just need to vent for a moment. However, there’s some data to back up the idea that positive thinking can help mitigate stress and anxiety.
A 2018 study of 71 people found that positive emotional writing was a good way to ease stress and anxiety. It may seem hard to find the good when things feel bleak. One way to reframe your thoughts is through positive affirmations. Here’s what you need to know about them, including 12 to try.
What are positive affirmations?
These statements are positive thoughts about yourself, your life, and your relationships. You want these affirmations to be a reality. You can repeat them by saying them out loud or to yourself or writing them down. By reciting or writing affirmations consistently, you have a chance to re-program your mind.
Affirmations may sound great in theory, but what does the science say about them? Research published in 2016 utilized MRI-generated evidence to show that self-affirmations amplified neural pathways in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that plays a role in processing emotions.
12 affirmations to try
1. I will focus on what I can control.
Why it works: If you are constantly thinking about other people’s opinions of you or whether your outdoor barbecue will get rained out, you may be giving too much headspace to things that are out of your control. Instead, recite this affirmation to remind yourself to focus on aspects of your life you can affect, such as meeting a deadline or going for a jog.
2. I’m not sweating the small stuff today.
Why it works: You spilled your coffee and accidentally tripped over your cat this morning. Things happen. Stain removers were created for these mishaps, and your cat probably already forgot about this morning’s SNAFU. Think about the big things you got right, like nailing a presentation or helping a friend in need.
3. I am enough.
Why it works: We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect friend, colleague, and family member. Even in moments where you fall short, it’s important to remember that as long as you put your best foot forward, you did and are enough.
4. I will not compare myself to others.
Why it works: Comparison is the thief of joy. Focusing on what you have and are working towards, rather than how far along others are on their journeys, can help you think more positively.
5. I am the boss of my own life. I will choose the energy I internalize and externalize.
Why it works: You can’t always help how you feel, but you may be able to choose how much energy you put into negative feelings. However, if something is bugging you, speak about it with a trusted friend or therapist.
6. I am permitting myself to set boundaries.
Why it works: As we saw with Simone Biles in the Olympics, it’s essential to know your limits. If you need to say no to a coffee date with a friend so you can sleep late, that’s OK.
7. I am at peace with what is happening and what will happen.
Why it works: It can be hard to relinquish control, but we can’t script every aspect of our lives. When you’ve done your best, that’s all you can do. Making peace with how things shake out from there can be empowering.
8. I can overcome this. I will overcome this.
Why it works: If you’re faced with a challenge, having confidence in yourself can make a huge difference.
9. I am in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.
Why it works: This affirmation comes from self-help author Louise Hay and can help you feel more confident in your choices.
10. I am doing the best I can.
Why it works: Even if it doesn’t feel like enough, your best is all you can do.
11. I am proud of what my body can do.
Why it works: If you struggle with body image issues, reframing your thoughts can help you see yourself in a more positive light. Focus on what you can do, such as shave a few seconds off your mile pace or give your niece the piggyback ride of her life.
12. I am more than my job.
Why it works: Your career doesn’t have to define you. You are a complete person, and that includes your family life, hobbies, and passions.
There’s nothing wrong with needing to blow off steam, but it may benefit you to look on the bright side eventually. Positive affirmations can help you do that, and research shows that they can enhance your well-being. Unlike other useful forms of mental health help, utilizing affirmations is free, making them accessible to nearly anyone. You can write them down or say them. You may find it beneficial to write a few on scraps of paper and tape them to your mirror or carry them in your wallet so you can repeat them during a tough moment in your day. When choosing affirmations, try to use ones that use the present or future tense to help you focus on the things you can control, rather than the past.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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