Negative self-chatter………are you guilty? I know I am……and the way in which it snowballs out of control……
“I’ll never be able to run that far……I’ll never be able to keep up these eating habits”
Affirmations can help to restructure our thoughts and the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible.
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Your mind is not as clever as you think! It believes what you tell it ….almost like a virus free computer, think of affirmations like your own brain’s anti-virus software.
Affirmations play an integral role by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and, in turn, negative actions.
"Think of your mind as a garden
Your thoughts as seeds
You can grow flowers
Or you can grow weeds”
We are all becoming aware that the mind and body are completely connected and that health and well-being is made up of so many different facets. Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Social to name a few.
Your body can’t differentiate between whether a phrase or image is real, dreamed or imagined. When your mind creates an image of success your nervous system and whole body will process it as if it is real. Your actions are reflections of your mental pictures. These mental pictures can make or break your performance!!!
Here are some guidelines which I use to make sure I do what I set out to achieve:
Use the Present Tense. Act as if it is already happening. Instead of “I want to be fit” use, “I am healthy, strong, and fit.”
Use a Positive Outlook. When you use negative words they may be taken into your brain without your awareness. Negative thoughts are like affirmations for what you DON'T want! Affirm what you do want to have happen instead. Rather than saying, “I have problems with food and eating well” say “I choose to eat well and nourish my body”
Use self-image statements. When possible, construct your affirmations beginning with “I” or “I am” or “I enjoy” or “I choose”.
Keep it short, clear, and specific. Make your affirmations a phrase that is a clear statement of your feelings. This way you can easily remember the phrase and your mind can take it in.
Make them permanent. “I am strong” “I love exercising in the mornings”
Use mood words. Include words that suggest strong, positive emotions. “I am full of energy and positivity” “I always get excited for workouts”
Anticipate success. When creating your affirmations, don’t let your critical side limit the phrases you create. Use whatever thoughts work for you and inspire you.
Use cards, post-its, smart phones, vision boards, text reminders, whatever works! Write your affirmations on something you will look at often. Your computer desktop, fridge magnet, car dashboard, or bathroom mirror – anything works if it works for YOU.
Many top sports coaches now use what is known as Neuro Linguistic Practice to train and empower their athletes. There is scientific evidence that highlights results in sport depend crucially on your ability to use your mind effectively.
Words are powerful...
I know it can be difficult, even embarrassing initially as it feels so alien at first. This can also work well when you feel you have failed for some reason. If you do “fall off the wagon” so to speak and don’t attend that fitness class for a few days then say to yourself “I feel I have let myself down this week but I’ll definitely try harder next week as I know I am committed”. Note that the way you talk to yourself at times is just a feeling and feelings are controlled by thoughts. Pretend you’re talking to a friend instead of yourself and I guarantee the dialogue will be much different.
In Occupational Therapy we also talk about ‘grading’. Balancing what we call challenge and mastery. The challenge has to not be so easy we lose interest but also not too difficult that we become frustrated and quit. Grade your goals at a level that’s right for you….gradual progress is better than no progress. Celebrate your successes no matter how small…..”I did good this week” tell yourself and remember the only comparing you should ever be doing is your previous self with your present self. If progress is being made that’s all that matters!
Happy affirming and ………….”you’re great, you’re strong and you will succeed!”
POSITIVE WORDS lead to
POSITIVE THOUGHTS lead to
POSITIVE ACTIONS lead to
Go ahead….find what speaks to you and keep it on repeat.
This article was written by Nicola Tuke - Occupational Therapist. UK