This Simple Trick Might Just Make Your Affirmations More Powerful
Repeating affirmations can be powerful, as research indicates that positive thoughts can have equally positive effects on the brain1. If you've struggled to get the hang of the habit, this one simple rephrasing method can help make it more approachable.
Why you might struggle with positive affirmations.
An affirmation is a positive statement about yourself or your life that helps you begin to believe, see, and experience the thing that you're affirming. For example, if every day you repeated, "I love my body"—even if you don't really—over time, you might find yourself starting to believe and embody that phrase.
But for anyone who struggles with positive thinking, getting into an affirmation practice can feel challenging. As mental health expert Mollie Aklepi, LMSW, explains to mbg, "Some people shy away from affirmation statements because they do not have much evidence to believe that the affirmation is true. Statements like, 'I am great' or 'I believe in my ability to...' do not tap into understanding your feelings—and may even sound silly when you don't believe them."
A simple way to rephrase your affirmations.
If that sounds familiar, one way to approach affirmations differently is by rephrasing them as questions. So, rather than "I am so powerful," you would ask, "Why am I so powerful?"
According to Aklepi, framing affirmations as questions helps you explore your thoughts and emotions around mental barriers. "Open-ended questions such as, 'Why am I great?' or 'What would my life look like with less anxiety?' would allow for creativity and exploration," she notes, "leading to some insight into which thoughts or actions are serving you, and which could be creating barriers."
The bottom line.
Once you open the door to exploring those affirmations, such as "Why am I beautiful?" or "Why do I love my body?" you'll automatically begin looking for reasons why your affirmation is true. And that's pretty powerful. It's not a shift that happens overnight, but with time, affirmations can help us to start looking at ourselves in a new light and unlearning the negative stories we have internalized over the years.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.