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How to Use Positive Affirmations

by Mary Beth Janssen

How to choose joy, through positive affirmations

Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

According to a survey of 6,500 American women, 95 percent said that happiness was more important to them than power, wealth or even beauty. We all have our down days—and it’s certainly important to embrace and learn from all of our emotions—but a basic capacity for optimism is the foundation for overcoming even the most trying obstacles. This often means enjoying a steady diet of simple pleasures rather than waiting for that big pie in the sky.

Our inner lives, relationships and careers are the areas in our personal landscapes most likely to send us sinking into a well of self-pity or soaring into a cloud of self-satisfaction. Feeling satisfaction in these areas gives us the ability to experience the essence of true joy. And a positive mental attitude is integral in helping us get there.

Positively Positive

A positive attitude is huge in managing stress. Optimism builds our resiliency to get over, through and beyond challenges that come our way. It places us in solution mode instead of problem mode. Positive thoughts enact powerful effects on our mind-body physiology. It raises energy levels and creates a can-do attitude. Studies show that positive affirmations raise the immune system’s white blood cell count, giving a healthy boost to our immunity: Positive affirmations help us become optimists.

With this practice, we say a positive word, phrase or sentence either silently to ourselves or out loud at any point where positive reinforcement is needed. One example could be, “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Create your own positive affirmations that you can call on whenever your inner censor rears its ugly head with any form of negative self-talk.

Behold the Beauty Within

For example, do you know how beautiful you are? You’re beautiful beyond compare. Affirm this to yourself 10 times. Now think about how you feel as you affirmed your beauty. Did you feel a spark of power? What if you used that spark to ignite filling your whole life with beauty, truth and goodness? Imagine this tiny spark spiraling outward, casting a radiant glow upon everything and every person you see. Can you picture how glorious it would be to see all of life in this beautiful light of transformation? Once you achieve this, you’ll find more to celebrate and less to criticize. Now, imagine how those around you—family, friends, business associates—will feel as they interact with you. How do you think they’ll react to you as a person who sees goodness in the entire world and everyone in it? The residual effects of your self-realized beauty are enormous.

Spread Your Wings and Fly

Having affirmed how truly beautiful you are, let’s see how far we can take this positive self-talk. For the next 24 hours, shower yourself with positive affirmations. Try one of these affirmations:

  • Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start.
  • Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.
  • I’m alive and filled with vitality.
  • I’m so glad to be me!
  • Every day, I appreciate who I am and what I have.
  • My positive way of thinking is changing my world.
  • I have the courage to be myself without fear or apology.
  • I’m learning and growing by dropping old prejudices.
  • My life is as happy and full as possible without my harming myself, others or the planet.
  • We’re all in this big soup together, loving, learning and living to our fullest capacity.

Now put pencil to paper and write your own affirmations. Before meditating in the morning, speak the words as a form of grace. Smile and relish them as you speak! Sing the affirmation in verse if you’d like. Ultimately you’ll program your subconscious to expect great things every day.

Mindfulness is key in developing a positive attitude. When you’re relaxed and in the moment, your mind-body physiology is open to positive affirmations or suggestions. If a negative thought pops into your consciousness, ask yourself whether that thought is productive. If the answer is no, tell yourself, “Stop! This is not constructive,” and refocus your thinking on a positive affirmation.

You can also imagine loading your negative thoughts into a small boat, and then watch the boat drift out to sea and sink. When practiced regularly, positive affirmations reduce stress, improve coping skills, boost self-confidence and self-worth, create joy and just plain old feel good. Remember, it’s all energy! And it’s a win-win, when it comes to optimal health and well-being.


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