Do Positive Affirmations Actually Work?
By Laura Lee - December 11, 2021

The old saying goes, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” This saying goes under the category of positive affirmations, statements that help overcome fear, and negative self-sabotaging thoughts. Through practice and repetition, positive affirmations create positive changes in your life. These statements or phrases can be said out loud, in your head, or written down on paper. These will help you build yourself up and create more belief in yourself and your capabilities. Psychologist Lauren Alexander, PhD explains, “We live in a society where it’s easy to get bogged down with lots of negativity. Positive affirmations are a way to help shuttle out some of that negativity, in terms of the things that we say to ourselves.” The great thing about positive affirmations is that they will be different for everyone, so you can choose one that feels right for you.

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Choosing statements that acknowledge your current reality is the way to go when it comes to positive affirmations, but make sure you pick ones where you can state your abilities to get through any situation you may be in. Dr. Alexander says, “I advocate for affirmations that acknowledge the difficulty you’re going through but also remind you of times when you’ve been successful.” This can include statements like, “My feelings make me uncomfortable right now, but I can accept them,” or, “I’ve survived other situations like this, and I’ll survive this one, too.” Instead of focusing on denial, which is never healthy, positive affirmations create necessary space for your feelings and also encourage you to power through them.

There are several tips for picking out the right positive affirmations for you. Firstly, it’s pivotal to practice being positive. If saying these statements aren’t common practice for you, it will take time to truly feel their benefit. The thoughts we think most often are the ones that stick out the most in our brains, so to change how we normally think through positive affirmations, will take some patience and practice. Also, you may want to start by saying them out loud to yourself. Although you can repeat them to yourself in your head, saying things out loud tend to have a far greater impact. You could also write them down on sticky notes and stick them around your house. Additionally, you’ll want to perform an action along with your positive affirmation, because although positive thinking is essential, it’s not as convincing without some sort of behavioral change.