I’m someone who believes in the power of affirmations. I try to select one each day in the hopes that it will positively influence my mentality.
My mental landscape used to be a very harsh environment. Every thought-especially the intrusive ones-was negative. All I wanted to do was escape myself, but I obviously couldn’t. Then, one day, I stumbled upon a podcast called “Shine.” The episodes are guided meditations led by people of color. Toward the end of the episode, an affirmation related to the topic is provided. Suddenly, I recognized a potential solution to my thinking problem.
Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius believed “Our life is what our thoughts make it. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Where negative thinking had me feeling powerless, Marcus’ words remind me I am not! They “put the ball in my court,” so to speak. So, about those affirmations, what are they and how do they work? Well, it’s all up to you really. If you’ve ever heard of a mantra, an affirmation is just like that. It is a simple, positive statement that you can repeat to yourself as many times as you want.
One example from Shine is, “I greet my inner critic with curiosity and compassion.” I really like this one because it offers a unique way of responding to a voice most of us don’t like. As a writer who gets inside their own head often, my natural thought might be “I hate my inner critic with a passion!” The aforementioned affirmation is a more patient and healthier alternative.
You can pick an affirmation for the week and write it in your planner. Or you can put it in the Reminders app on your phone. Another way to use affirmations is to record several in the voice memos app, if you prefer to have some to listen to on-the-go. I’ve personally tried writing them on my mirror, as well as writing them on slips of paper to pull from a jar every day.
All in all, affirmations are a great way to practice internalized compassion and positive thinking. They’re easy to use, easy to come up with, and best of all, easy to hold close to your heart.