Affirmations are the grand daddy of all optimistic thinking exercises.  You can and should definitely use affirmations in addition to the other exercises listed on this site.

Some people may not believe that affirmations work.  Recent findings in neural science tell us that our brains can and do change throughout our lives.  What we focus on and pay attention to changes the structure and function of our brain.  In other words as we practice repeating a mental pattern (saying an affirming statement or beating ourselves up for our failures) this develops neural pathways that become automatic over time.  Much of our time is spend reciting a negative narrative and consciously narrating something more balanced and Optimistic will eventually take hold.  This concept is called neuroplasticity.

Affirmations are positive statements that when repeated on a regular basis can re-train your brain to generate the Optimistic thoughts automatically as a default. Do they really work?  YES!  If I was to tell you everyday for the next 30 days that I told a child that they were not a nice person?  What if I pointed out all the times that they were rude to someone or dismissed someone or was short with someone or got angry at someone. What do you think this child would think about themselves as the days passed?  Would they start to believe that they were indeed not nice? Everyone would agree that this is not a good way of dealing with a child and yet that is EXACTLY how we treat ourselves.  If

If you believe that negative chatter and pointing out examples does indeed effect a person negatively then you must also believe that saying Optimistic things to a person has the opposite effect – they will start to think better of themselves.

The key here is to start small and be realistic.  Say affirmations that will gradually shift your thinking.  You don’t have to be completely positive at the beginning.  You can focus on the things that are real no matter how small.  Gradually you can build up the scope of your affirmations to the point where you can say grand positive statements that you will really believe.

Examples:  If you want to have more confidence, then you may say the following affirmations:

  • I am confident in some of my abilities – for example.
  • Some people like what I have to say.
  • I am smart in many areas and have a wealth of knowledge to share with the people around me.
  • I have many abilities that I am proud of.
  • I am getting more confident every day.
  • I do like my hair.
  • I like my ears.
  • I like my hands.
  • etc…

Affirmation are done in a variety of ways.  When you use them while you meditate, people call them mantras.  When you use them imagining a positive outcome, people call them visualization.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy calls affirmations “balanced thoughts” and encourages the practitioner to right them down on paper. What ever you believe them to be, rest assured that