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What are affirmations?

Updated: Mar 16, 2023



Affirmations are self-suggestions that help your subconscious mind believe a certain thing about yourself and your world. The origination of the word affirmation tells you most of what you need to know about them. The word affirmation stems from the Latin word affirmers, which simply means “to make steady, strengthen.”


Affirmations are a widely used tool in the law of attraction and positive thinking. Affirmations can help to retrain our subconscious mind, which is usually largely affected by negative thoughts and negative beliefs about ourselves. Affirmations work because they provide a better way for the brain to receive the information that we feed it.


At the simplest level, when we feel good about ourselves and have a positive attitude, our lives tend to run smoothly. Proponents of the “law of attraction” often refer to this as raising our vibration such that when our vibration is positive, positive things such as financial abundance, love, and renewed health are drawn to us.


On the other hand, when we feel bad about ourselves and have a negative attitude, we tend to engage in self-defeating behaviors which may cause negative outcomes, like financial mishap, interpersonal drama, or acute or chronic illness.


What, Exactly, Are Affirmations?

Affirmations are simply statements that are designed to create self-change in the person using them. They can serve as inspiration, as well as simple reminders. They also can serve to focus attention on goals throughout the day, which, in and of itself, has the potential to promote positive and sustained self-change.


The formula for writing effective affirmations is actually quite simple according to Psychology Today.


1. Effective Affirmations Are Written in First Person.

Begin your affirmations with the “I” or “I am....” These types of statements turn affirmations into statements of identity. Identity statements are powerful motivators for self-change. Examples of I statements would be, “I am secure and confident speaking in public,” “I enjoy eating healthy food,” “I love to exercise,” and “I am a loving and compassionate person.


2. Affirmations Are Written in the Positive (as Opposed to the Negative).

Always state your affirmations in the positive. For example, instead of saying, “I no longer enjoy the taste of cigarettes,” you might say, “I am completely free from cigarettes,” or “I am a healthy person and I love the way my body feels when I make healthy choices.”


3. Affirmations Have an Emotional Charge.

Imbue your affirmations with feeling. Using emotional words in affirmations is important, because of the deep association we have between emotion words and somatic experiences. So instead of saying, “I spend time with my aging parents,” try saying, “I feel such love and gratitude spending time with my mother and father.” Or instead of “I only eat healthy food,” which sounds suspiciously chore-like, try, “I feel vibrant and alive when I make healthy choices for me.”


4. Affirmations Are Written in the Present State.

Write your affirmations as if they are already happening. This means affirming, “I am happy and confident,” instead of “Two months from now, I will be happy and confident.” Or, “I am sexy and attractive,” as opposed to, “When I lose these last ten pounds, I will be sexy and attractive.”


This is the step that causes most people to falter, because in some cases they feel silly writing or saying something that they actually don’t yet believe at least at a conscious level is true. But remember, the purpose behind affirmations is to rewrite your subconscious mind.

Many holistic traditions suggest that if you act as if something is true, if you experience the feelings associated with the outcome that you want, the more likely it is for the outcome to materialize. That is, if you believe that you are attractive and sexy, you will automatically engage in the behaviors associated with that (heightened self-care), which will help you to attain your goals.


Additional tips for writing affirmations that work:

A review of sources on writing effective affirmations also cautions against getting caught up in the how. Because if you believe that you are a certain way, you will—subconsciously—figure out a way to make it work.


They also point out that affirming your current successes (that is, the things that you consciously know to be true already) in addition to affirming those things you want to create may undercut any dissonance you have for making future-paced statements.


Further, many sources stress the importance of writing your own affirmations—ones that speak to your deepest desires and use specific words or phrases that resonate with you personally.


They also suggest that you update your affirmations regularly, in order to preserve their emotional potency.


If you'd like to try your hand at writing your own, personal affirmations, there is an app called Affirmable that lets you easily create your own affirmations and work with them every day.


Pick you Affirmation

The very first step in starting an affirmation practice is to pick an affirmation. You can use a phrase you’ve heard that really resonates with you. You can also come up with your own affirmation that will serve your purpose. It always needs to be positive.



What I feel works best is when you have to look in the mirror. Stand up straight looking at yourself in the mirror. Start with one affirmation that resonates with you. At first it may be a little difficult to keep looking at yourself in the mirror. Say it for the first time making constant eye contact with yourself in the mirror, then continue two more times. If you don't think you need the mirror then turn to a blank wall and say it to a blank wall. Pay attention to how you feel it saying the affirmations to the blank wall and how it's different than in the mirror. I'm guessing that in the mirror you will feel a bigger difference because you're having to face yourself. Eventually build up to 10 times you will start to know a difference. I want you to feel it, to sense it in your body each time you say the positive affirmations in the mirror.


Take it from me. It was hard at first to do positive affirmation but it got a lot easier. As I kept saying them in the mirror. I started with I am strong, I am beautiful and the hardest one was I am loved. I would say each one started out saying the affirmations three times and eventually working up to 10 times a day. Making eye contact with myself in the mirror. At first it may make you emotional and sad because you don't believe it. Over time you will. We all tend to believe the negative over the positive because it is easier to believe the negative.


In creating a positive change in you always need to be putting positive back in. When I work with clients in Hypnotherapy and Intuitive Work I give positive affirmation homework. I want my client to see the positive in themselves to create a bigger change. Once they start believing in themselves they start to blossom and grow in significant ways. #affirmations #mindset #growth #hypnotherapy



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