Saluting the sunset at Zabriski Point, Death Valley
Whether we realise it or not, we all engage in affirmations. The pep talk that we give ourselves before a presentation, or the mantra we repeat to get us through our workout routine, are all forms of affirmation.
They reflect the idea that you are what you think; that words have a power of their own and we can use our inner monologues to change our reality.
While we’re generally prepared to believe that persistent negative thinking can produce negative consequences, when it comes to the power of positive thinking, people tend to be more sceptical. Yet, just as negative narratives can turn into realities, affirmations can help to set positive mindsets and belief.
They can help us to break old habits, form new ones and can be harnessed to develop resilience and mental strength. Here are fifteen daily affirmations that I recommend trying to boost your health and wellbeing:
1. I am worth it
Sometimes we stick with bad habits simply because we don’t truly see ourselves as worthy of change. Adopting a mindset of self-worth is the very first, and arguably most important, step towards positive health and wellbeing.
2. Today I abandon my old habits and take up new, positive ones
Changing old habits is hard and a big part of the challenge is shifting our mentality. Actively verbalising that we will abandon old habits and take up new ones can help to cement our goals, bringing them out of our thoughts into our reality.
3. I am so much more than my past and/or my mistakes
As humans we are fallible and we make mistakes. Bad choices don’t make us a bad person and we all deserve self-compassion and forgiveness.
4. Each day I’m learning more about myself and the world
Humans are wired to thrive from a feeling of progress and development. Repeating this affirmation reminds you that you are continually growing as a person, often in ways that you may not even be able to fully appreciate yet.
5. Nothing is forever
Sometimes when big decisions loom ahead of us, we can place a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the ‘right’ choice. This is when it’s important to remember that no decision is permanent and there are always other options.
6. My body appreciates how I take care of it
We sometimes talk of ‘future me’ when making decisions about our health, but sometimes it’s helpful to abstract our body and think of it as a separate entity that we have a duty of care towards. Thinking specifically about how our body will respond if we have another drink (or alternatively, go to that gym class) can be powerful in making us feel more responsible for our actions towards our health.
7. I am grateful for…
Recognising what we have, rather than what we feel we may be lacking, is one of the cornerstones to positive thinking and wellbeing more generally. This is a great affirmation to practice and journal on daily, as it makes you realise just how many things there are to be grateful for in your life. And abundance goes where gratitude grows.
Having a major gratitude moment in the stunning Death Valley National Park, California
8. I take notice of myself and how I feel
When we feel frustrated or sad, it’s common to project those feelings onto others. By practising self awareness and analysing the reasons behind our feelings, we can better regulate our emotions and prevent them from impacting our relationships with others.
9. I am brimming with energy and life
Evocative, visual affirmations like this can have a visceral effect in helping us to start our day energised, helping to lift us back up when we’re feeling demotivated or lethargic.
10. The wonder of life is happening in this moment
We can get so busy and caught up in everyday life that it can be easy to lose our natural sense of curiousity and wonder at the world. This affirmation brings us back down to earth, forcing us to pause and recognise that every moment we are alive is precious.
11. My life is filled with purpose
Feeling that our lives have purpose is vital to our wellbeing, yet we can get so caught up in getting things done that we forget the reason why we’re doing it. It’s important to remind ourselves that our actions do matter and that they have a purpose.
12. I breathe in calm, I breathe out my anxiety
There’s a reason we are told to ‘just breathe’ when we feel anxious or overwhelmed – breathing deeply facilitates full oxygen exchange and helps to slow our heart rate and stabilise our blood pressure. Repeating this affirmation allows us to more consciously feel these health benefits, uniting our mind and body’s response.
13. I am open to the world and its challenges
When we are fearful and inhibited, we close ourselves to valuable new experiences and opportunities that the world has on offer. Repeating this affirmation can help us to feel strong in facing the unknown, thus building our confidence in taking risks.
Letting go and letting the light inside in the desert
14. I am cared for
Simply recalling the people that care about us can be a powerful tool in positive thinking, motivating us to achieve our goals and reminding us that we are not alone.
15. I have the power to change my thoughts
Ultimately, the effectiveness of affirmations comes down to belief. Our thoughts can either trap us in negative cycles or spur us on to become our best selves. The starting point, however, is believing that we are in control of our own mindset and that change truly can happen.