by Roberta Alves, Certified Anxiety Specialist, www.essenceofhealingcounseling.com
(*Note: The use of positive affirmations is essential in my coaching, counseling and facilitation practice. This article gives you a great background and method for using them daily. Reprinting from https://www.essenceofhealingcounseling.com/anxiety/using-positive-affirmations-to-combat-anxiety-and-depression/)
People who experience anxiety or depression normally engage in negative thinking. Engaging in the pattern of thinking negatively has a horrible toll on our mental health. As a therapist and counselor my clients often ask me how to change this. A great mental health technique that I teach is the use of positive affirmations. It is a great practice to shift your thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that teaches that shifting our thinking from negative to positive helps us fight anxiety and depression. Positive affirmations is a great tool in the cognitive behavioral therapy arsenal. Affirmations can be used by both adults and teens.
Below are some examples of positive affirmations that can be used when you are feeling depression, anxiety, or even low self esteem.
1) I am calm and relaxed.
2) I value the wonderful person that I am.
3) I am happy and healthy.
4) It is easy for me to feel relaxed and at ease.
5) I let go of all things that I lack control over.
6) I get great grades in school. (For teens/teen therapy)
7) I make friends at school easily. (For teens/teen therapy)
8) I get along great with my parents. (For teens/teen therapy)
The rules to create positive affirmations are as follows:
1) Must be set in the present tense
2) Must be about yourself (since that is the only thing you have control over)
3) Must lack negative words (for example: not, can’t, don’t, anxiety, fear, without)
Now that you know what they are and how to form them let’s discuss how to use them. If you are feeling anxiety then create one to address that specifically. If you are feeling depressed create one for that, and so on. Only use one at a time.
Below is how to use them:
You can use them in 3 different ways…
1) Say it in your head to yourself 10 times in a row
2) Write it down or type it ten times in a row (for example: you could text it to yourself, write it in the notes/memo pad section of your phone, or email it to yourself)
3) Say it out loud 10 times in a row (you could even get creative and sing it out loud or even challenge yourself and look at yourself in the mirror while saying it)
When to use them:
Use positive affirmations anytime you have negative thoughts throughout the day. As soon as you notice yourself having a negative thought about something immediately create a positive affirmation to counteract that thought. For example, say you notice yourself having a negative thought about how fat/ugly/not happy about you are with your looks. As soon as you notice that thought, create an affirmation about your looks. For example, “I am beautiful” or “I appreciate how I look” or “I am capable of eating healthy and reaching my weight goals”.
I also suggest to my clients I see in counseling to use their positive affirmations throughout the day even when they don’t notice they are having negative thoughts. Just to say their positive affirmations throughout the day periodically. The best way to do this is to tie a habit or activity that you do multiple times a day while using your positive affirmations. This way saying your affirmations will become second nature. Just like how you automatically put on a seatbelt when you get in your car.
Below is an example of all the different times you could say your positive affirmations during the day during things that you do daily…
First thing in the morning before you even get out of bed
When you brush your teeth in the morning and at night
When you drive to work/school/running errands
When you drive home from work/school/running errands
When you take a shower in the morning or at night
When you go to bed before you fall asleep
Using positive affirmations takes practice and at first it can seem a little tough. But stay persistent and I promise you will see results!!