How 15 Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life

heart mug with macarons“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” —Henry Ford

When Henry Ford first conceived of the V8 motor, his engineers told him it was simply impossible to cast an 8-cylinder engine block in just one piece. Ford told the engineers to do it anyway. He instructed them to try until they succeeded, no matter how long it took. If they wished to remain employed by Ford, this was their one and only task. After more than a year of trying with no results, Ford told them to continue. Shortly after, the first V8 motor was built.

Our thoughts and beliefs shape both our perception and experience of ourselves and the world around us. Research indicates that nearly 80% of our self talk is negative. Imagine spending your whole day listening to a recording of whining, complaints, and criticisms. What many people fail to recognize is that they are listening to these types of thoughts in their head on repeat every day.

Our programming can become so ingrained in us that we may not be aware of its existence. Thoughts such as “I’m not good at anything,” “Life is hard,” or “People can’t be trusted” may cross our minds so frequently that we begin to recognize them as facts and no longer question the possibility that things could be different.

The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, which means “to strengthen and make steady.” Affirmation statements are affirming that something is true for us. The purpose of positive affirmations is to affirm to ourselves that things are good even if we don’t necessarily feel that way at the time.

Positive affirmations have the power to transform lives. They play a significant role in many therapeutic models—including cognitive behavioral therapy, a treatment for depression. Positive affirmations are also at the forefront of many 12-step rehabilitation programs.

Carefully constructed positive affirmations can “rewire” our brains to break negative thought patterns. Similar to exercise, positive affirmations can actually increase the amount of feel-good hormones in our brains. Positive thoughts create positive emotions, which can actually change our physiology and improve our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Here are 15 positive affirmations that can help change your life:

1. I am worthy of love, happiness, and fulfillment.

This affirmation can increase your self-esteem and self-worth. You are what you believe you are!

2. I have the power within me to create the life I desire.

This empowering statement can help you recognize that you alone have the power to create the life you want. Honor your power to choose by choosing thoughts and actions that positively contribute to your life.

3. Each new day is filled with infinite potential and possibility.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Tomorrow is a new day.” Every new day brings with it new opportunities. Carpe Diem. Seize the day by making the most of the opportunities available to you.

4. I am so grateful for my life and all its blessings.

An attitude of gratitude can not only boost your mood and increase your awareness of all the blessings you already possess, but it also serves to attract even more good things into your life.

5. I forgive myself and hold myself in a state of compassion.

Forgiveness can free us from past burdens and allow us to operate from a clean slate. Love yourself, recognize that you did the best you could in the past, and strive to continue to learn and do better in the future.

6. I love and accept myself just the way I am.

The simple act of self-acceptance can radically transform your life. A healthy relationship with yourself is necessary if you wish to have healthy relationships with others.

7. I am strong in my values and confident in my abilities.

Strong values and self-confidence can keep you feeling empowered, strong, and capable of taking on life’s challenges.

8. I let go of the past, surrender concerns about the future, and openly receive the experience of the present moment.

When we let go of the past, it no longer has power over us. Choose to live in the present moment and remain open to its possibilities.

9. I continue to learn, grow, and evolve with each passing day.

Remembering that each day is a new opportunity for learning may make it easier to let go of the past and remain excited about the future.

10. I attract experiences that serve my highest good and facilitate personal growth and transformation.

A negative attitude can invite negative experiences. By keeping a positive perspective, we can openly embrace experiences that serve to help us grow and become better people.

11. My life is filled with meaning, purpose, and passion.

Seeking out meaningful experiences that ignite our passions can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives.

12. I have positive, healthy, and supportive relationships with my loved ones.

Reminding ourselves that we wish to have healthy and supportive relationships in our lives can remind us to treat others with kindness, compassion, and respect. It can also empower us to stand up for ourselves by creating healthy boundaries in our relationships.

13. I am confident in my talents, strengths, gifts, and abilities.

Being confident in your gifts and strengths can give you the courage needed to put yourself out there and seize the opportunities presented.

14. I have the courage and tenacity to overcome any challenge I face.

There’s no doubt that life can sometimes be difficult. Regularly reminding ourselves of our courage and tenacity can provide us the strength needed to get through even the toughest of times.

15. I freely give and receive unconditional love and acceptance to myself and others.

Life is of little meaning without love. Reminding ourselves to be open to giving and receiving love can be important, especially after loss. Rather than guard your heart, choose to remain open to the love that is all around you.

Our thoughts and beliefs shape both our perception and experience of ourselves and the world around us. Research indicates that nearly 80% of our self talk is negative.The more personal the affirmations are, the more likely they are to work for you. Try using the above affirmations as a guide to aid you in creating your own affirmation statements. Start by identifying your negative thought patterns and creating positive countering statements. For example, a phrase such as “I’m not good at anything” may become “I always do my best.”

Affirmations are most effective when implemented into a daily routine. Your own quotes can be read, spoken aloud, and thought several times throughout the day.  Repetition is key. The more you say it, the more you may believe it.

Affirmations are more than simply repeating words, however. Though the process may seem silly if you’re new to it, affirmations have the power to drastically improve lives by freeing people from their own negativity and self-doubt. Using affirmations is a practice of recognizing and changing your thoughts on a daily basis. Eventually, positive thoughts can transform your cognitive patterns and negative thoughts may become less prominent. The more you can consciously choose your thoughts, the better your life can be.

“Thoughts become things, choose the good ones.” —Mike Dooley

References:

  1. Ford Motor Company Timeline. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://corporate.ford.com/company/history.html
  2. Fundukian, L. J., Ed. (2011). Cognitive-behavioral therapy. In The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Vol. 2, 4th ed. (pp. 1061–1064). Detroit, MI: Gale
  3. Harra, C. (2013, July 6). 35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-carmen-harra/affirmations_b_3527028.html
  4. Hay, Louise L. (2010, June). How to use affirmations. Going bonkers, Vol. 4, Issue 3, 58–61.
  5. Hill, N. (1987). Think and grow rich. New York: Fawcett Books.
  6. Maxwell, C. (2014, October 6). Self-Talk: Shifting Negative Thoughts to Positive. Retrieved from http://www.askdrmaxwell.com/2014/10/positive-thinking-self-talk/

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Gregory Caulfield Esquire III, therapist in Olympia, Washington

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 12 comments
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  • Greta

    September 23rd, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    hehehe a little Stuart Smiley but worthwhile nonetheless!

  • Marcus

    September 23rd, 2015 at 2:21 PM

    Might I suggest starting on one or two of these at a time?
    When you have been pretty hard on yourself it could be sort of hard to introduce all of these at one time.’Instead I think that it would be better to have your list and pick one or two each day or maybe even each week that you are really going to hone in on and focus on. I think that that way you will not be quite so apt to feel overwhelmed and give up on thinking positive thoughts about life and about yourself.

  • lawson

    September 24th, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    forgiving yourself and having the contentment to forgive others is such a blessing that you can give to yourself

  • Louise M

    September 25th, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    I agree with everything that is written. We need to be aware of our thoughts and what we say at all times. What we think we attract. Affirmations are a wonderful tool to help us stay positive.

  • Shell

    September 25th, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    Even when the day before was really pretty crappy, you just have to tell yourself that today is a new day and that it will be a better one. There is no need to remain mired in the past because really what good is that going to do you? Being stuck in past regrets or hurts is just that- being STUCK. I choose to move forward.

  • matty

    September 26th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

    what would make me feel even better would be if someone else was telling me all of these things so I didn’t feel the need to have to say them to myself.

    Of course I guess that is just being dependent on someone else to build me up, but hey, I think that there are times in life where we are all looking for that.

  • Kendal

    September 28th, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    I know that this is what we are always being told but you know, when others have told you things that imply the complete opposite then it is hard to forget the past and move forward to something more positive. It can take a whole lot of work and a whole lot of talking to begin believing in yourself again.

  • jim

    September 29th, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    that first paragraph really makes me nostalgic for more thinkers like Henry Ford

  • Travis

    October 6th, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    I practice Mindfulness Meditation in the morning to help identify when my mind is running wild. I have a noticed an increase in positive thoughts after practicing meditation for a couple of months.

    It is astonishing how much you ramble in your mind. It is constantly turning, processing and telling you to be careful.

    I will be adding Mike Dooley’s quote, ““Thoughts become things, choose the good ones”, to my commonplace book.

    Good advice from Marcus above, on taking it one step at a time working your way through the list.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

  • Violet

    May 31st, 2016 at 11:37 PM

    Thanks Marcus and Travis for your comments and advice . True the whole post is good and worth reading through and practice at least one at a time. Thanks goodtherapy for sharing.

  • Sara

    March 8th, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    1, 4, 5, and 11 are both helpful and true. 14, too, maybe, depending. But the other affirmations are worded in such an extreme way that they are probably untrue and therefore unhelpful, and they encourage an unexamined, flawless picture of yourself, as if that is helpful. The best affirmations are both helpful and demonstrably true. But “each new day is filled with infinite possibility”? Sorry, no, the possibilities are not infinite. “I give unconditional love”? That’s a pretty tall order. “I have positive relationships with my loved ones”? If that’s true, then great, but for many, it’s just not true. I suggest sticking with simple affirmations, not ones that encourage a magical world. “I deserve love.” “I am a good person.” “I deserve people who genuinely care about me.” “I try my best.” If there are jerks in your life, I can think of protective self-affirmations for that, too, but I don’t have the time to write that here. Anyway, stick with 1,4,5, and 11, I think those are good.

  • Violet

    May 31st, 2016 at 11:39 PM

    Good post.

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