If you sometimes have difficulty with self-esteem, habits you can’t break, or fears and anxiety, the use of positive affirmations can be a great tool to help you build greater self-acceptance and put negative thoughts and actions aside.
What is positive affirmation?
A positive affirmation is simply a statement that you give yourself to banish negative or counterproductive thoughts. Psychologists have found that people often engage in negative self-talk mentally, in which they tell themselves all the “can’ts” and “shoulds” and “don’ts” that keep them from realizing their full potential.
Let’s say you’re trying to learn to have less fear of public speaking. A positive affirmation you could give yourself would be: “I am strong and confident when I speak before others, and they are interested in everything I say.” If you say this enough times, you really will start to believe it.
But if you want to give a real kick-start to an affirmation, try it in conjunction with a simple relaxation and self-hypnosis exercise. When your mind is in its most relaxed and focused state, it is easier to really internalize the message you are trying to give yourself.
Learn how to use affirmations with the Silva meditation
If you want to try the power of positive affirmation through self-hypnosis, start with this simple exercise:
- Stretch out in a quiet, private place. Close your eyes and let your body settle comfortably.
- Begin by taking 4 -5 deep cleansing breaths. Breathe in slowly and deeply, hold the breath for several seconds, and then let it out again slowly. Each time you exhale, imagine that all negativity is leaving your body with each cleansing breath.
- Relax your muscle groups. Move up your body, tightening and relaxing each muscle group. Start with your toes and move up to your facial muscles. For example, when you clench your toes, hold these muscles tightly for about 5 seconds, paying attention to the feeling of tightness. Slowly let the muscles unclench, noticing the feeling of relaxation that enters your muscles.
- After you have relaxed your entire body, you are ready for the next step.
- Imagine that you are moving toward the most beautiful and peaceful place you know. It can be a beach at sunset or the view from a ski lodge perched on a snowy crest. Whatever scene makes you feel content and peaceful will work. To arrive at your peaceful place, imagine having to walk down a flight of ten steps. As you begin at the top of the steps, tell yourself that you’re relaxed and peaceful. At each step, give yourself a calming and positive message. When you reach the bottom of the stairway, step into the place you have imagined and allow yourself to bask in its beauty. While enjoying the scene, begin to give yourself positive affirmations about your area of concern. Using the previous example, you might say, “As I feel more peaceful and centered here, I know that I will carry this calmness with me when I speak to others.” Encourage yourself in this manner for several moments.
- Now imagine yourself walking back up the flight of steps, with each step representing a move closer to the “real” world. At each step, continue to give yourself a positive affirmation: “When I reach the top of these steps, I will be awake and alert– ready to face the world with greater confidence.”
- When you reach the last step, before you open your eyes, give yourself one final affirmation, and then tell yourself that you are about to open your eyes and feel completely awake, alert, and rested.
- Open your eyes and be ready to step out and conquer the world!
How to start a winning day – a story by Laura Silva
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