Have you ever thought of affirmations as a weapon that you can use in the fight against stress?
Many people use affirmations as a way of developing or maintaining a positive mindset to help them meet their life goals. But did you know you can use affirmations to build your resilience to fight stress?
Well, you can.
Whether your stress is due to a one time event like having to give a presentation or an ongoing stressful issue, you have the power to create the right affirmations to support you and help you make it through difficult times. The right affirmations will help you to better cope with your current stressors and over time, they can prevent future anxiety.
This post will cover a variety of ways that affirmations can be used to help you manage your stress before your stress manages you. First, I’ll talk about how to create your personalized affirmations and then I’ll talk about how to incorporate your affirmations into your everyday life.
Know Where Your Stress Comes From
Many times, we face situations that we know in advance will be stressful. Activities such as networking events (in person or virtual) or maybe a presentation at work. When you’re faced with that type of situation, take a moment to think of all your thoughts and feelings related to the event.
Maybe you worry about not knowing what to say at during the networking event or freezing while you try to give the presentation? Write down any thoughts that pop into your head, whether positive or negative as those thoughts will become the basis of your affirmations.
The positive thoughts are easy as they’re already in the proper format to be affirmations. The negative thoughts, however, will need a little work and you start by making a conscious decision to move away from those negative beliefs.
Turn those Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones
Now you have your list of negative thoughts; you’re gonna take each one and turn it into a positive thought. Make sure that your revised statements are strong and positive to remind yourself of times in the past when you coped well in similar situations.
Tie them to times when you have succeeded in the past. For example, if you’re nervous about a job interview, think about what you did on the interview for your last job and how you were successful in obtaining that job. In that instance, you could make an affirmation related to your previous success in a job interview.
Write down some encouraging phrases to get you through, like 'I'm feeling stressed, but I will be ok,' 'I can do this,' 'When this is over, I will be so proud of myself.'
Keep Your Affirmations Realistic
Affirmations should not be thought of as magic. It’s important to keep your affirmations in proportion to what you can do and how you feel. Affirmations are a support to the other steps in whatever goal it is that you’re trying to accomplish. If they are too ambitious, they can make you feel more anxious than before. And if you have a misstep or you fail, then you'll feel even worse than before.
For example, you might have anxiety around public speaking, whether it's giving a presentation or having a job interview. Your affirmations will help you even more if you know you have done everything else possible to be prepared.
If you worry about getting stage fright or going blank, prepare every aspect of your speech or presentation. Remind yourself that you know how to do this, you know your subject and you’ve got this!
Try to anticipate what might go wrong and work out strategies to prevent or deal with those things that you anticipate whether it’s having spare notes in case the technology fails to having a glass of water nearby if you feel faint.
Incorporating Affirmations Into Your Life
Affirmations are a powerhouse in the world of goal setting. They provide encouragement by building optimism and turning around a negative mindset. And they work most effectively if you repeat them until they become part of your positive self-talk.
But saying your affirmations to yourself in front of the mirror can be helpful, but it can also get old fast. It’s a good idea to mix things up every once in a while, by finding more creative ways of building your affirmation practice into your daily routine. Use them to supercharge your motivation.
Read on to find 5 ways to incorporate affirmations into your life.
Write Down Your Affirmations
Writing down anything makes it more tangible and affirmations are no different. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing enables your brain to remember better.
Choose your favorite way of recording your own affirmations. Keep a journal; write post-it notes and leave them where they’re easy to see, on your fridge, bathroom mirror, and computer. Set reminders on your smartphone or tablet with the text of each affirmation at different times of the day.
Make Affirmation Themed Art
As I’ve talked about in the past, creativity is a form of self-care. It’s okay to be creative with your affirmations. Try making art themed around your affirmations. Use scrapbooking, paint, collage, clay, colored pencils, markers, origami paper or any other artistic mediums you can think of and let your Inner Child play with colors and shapes to interpret how your affirmations make you feel.
Turn Your Affirmations into Music
Take a familiar or favorite tune and sing your affirmations instead of the regular lyrics. If you’re musical, maybe you can write a song that uses your affirmations. Or consider making a rap song about your affirmations and create a dance routine to go with it. Or think of them as poetry set to music.
Vision Board Your Affirmations
Vision boards are powerful tools in your goals setting toolbox. Affirmations can sometimes feel a little abstract. Using a vision board can help you come up with concrete images of what you want in your life. Look for photos that inspire you and make you feel good. You can make a physical vision board or use an internet platform like Pinterest.
Affirmation inspiration is everywhere! Look around for motivational speakers and writers whose approach to life appeals to you. You can find plenty of motivational talks on the internet, on platforms like TED Talks and YouTube. Search for motivation from people you admire or those who have made their dreams come true while overcoming adversity.
It’s essential to find someone whose values and approach feel right for you. Don’t follow or watch an influencer just because they’re popular. Check your affirmations to see if the themes of the motivational talk ring true to you.
Making Affirmations A Daily Habit
Affirmations are at their very best with repetition. To maximize their benefits, it’s important to repeat your positive statements over and over until they become second nature. And the more creative you can be at doing that, the better.
Repeating your affirmations every day in front of the mirror is the tried and tested method of using them. But there are lots of other little tricks that you can use to keep your affirmations front and center throughout your day.
Find a comedian or podcaster whose approach and subject matter relates to your affirmations.
Read your favorite personal development author and follow them on social media.
Pick one affirmation for each day of the week. Put them into your phone and set your alarm for 3 times during the day. When your alarm goes off, take 2 – 3 minutes to think about that day’s affirmation.
Ask your partner or best friend to record themselves reading your affirmations aloud, substituting your name for the 'I' part. Save the audio track onto your smartphone and listen to it during your commute or downtime.
Build a playlist of songs that reinforce your affirmations and listen to it regularly.
If you're artistic, scrapbook, paint, draw or sculpt your affirmations!
Sing your affirmations while you're exercising. If you're not brave enough to sing them out loud, it's ok to do it in your head.
Find motivational quotes that are similar to your affirmations.
Use aromatherapy and list the scents that you associate with each of your affirmations. Choose an essential oil to burn while you're thinking about that affirmation.
Watch a movie or tv show that reflects your affirmations.
Think of your favorite movie, tv, or book character who most resembles the person you want to be or the qualities you want to have.
Create a Pinterest board that aligns with your affirmations.
Build your own photo library of images that inspire you, remind you of your successes or are directly related to your affirmations. Create a vision board or ‘affirmation board’ remind yourself of what changes are coming.
Imagine your affirmations as a smorgasbord of your favorite foods. Which ones taste good, and why?
Read your affirmations during your me time. Think about the meaning of the affirmation or what gives it meaning to you and your life.
As you go about your day, notice things that remind you of your affirmations. In your journal, write down what they are and why they triggered that association.
You can even use your clothes as a fun way to remind yourself of your affirmations. A hat could remind you of how smart you are; a warm sweater of your warm heart and your shoes as a sign of how you are striding towards success.
Play a game of 'affirmation catch' with your partner or best friend. Start by 'throwing' affirmations about each other and then turn it around, so you have to think of something positive about yourself to throw.
If you have a morning or evening routine that includes journaling, take time to journal about your affirmations – what their importance is to you, what changes you want your affirmations to help you make in your life, anything that helps you look deeper at the affirmation and how it can best serve you.
Following the steps in this post will allow you to not only have affirmations personalized to your specific needs, but also a game plan in which to use to use them to develop a positive mindset and manage your stress.
Let’s talk, how will you (or do you) incorporate affirmations into your life? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In