Experiencing a certain degree of stress in life is inevitable. However, stress levels that remain high most of the time can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
Finding ways to manage stress is imperative for good health and happiness, and repeating positive affirmations is a helpful way to increase feelings of inner peace. In fact, recent research has concluded that positive affirmations can buffer against the effects of stress and increase a person’s problem-solving ability and task performance (J. David Creswell, 2013).
What Are Positive Affirmations?
Positive affirmations are empowering statements that you repeat to yourself with confidence. These statements help you visualize and solidify in your mind the way you want to react and feel in certain situations or in general. They are spoken in the present tense and reflect the things you want to see in your life.
Positive affirmations, repeated to yourself with authority, can help increase your confidence and belief that you can handle life well and get everything you want out of it. They can bring about a decreased stress level, calmer attitude, and better health.
How Do Positive Affirmations Work?
If you’re thinking, “It seems far-fetched that talking to myself can change my life,” let’s think about it this way: when we feel and behave positively, life seems to go more smoothly. When we are feeling negative about ourselves, grumpy, and contrary, things seem to go poorly. We may engage in self-destructive behaviors that cause things to go badly. Chronic stress and negativity can even lead to health problems.
In other words, our thoughts influence our actions, which affect our circumstances.
Positive affirmations are said in the present tense. This is a bit difficult for some people because the affirmation may be something they don’t necessarily feel right at that moment. The key is to train your mind to believe the statement through repetition and, thus, begin to feel the feelings associated with the statement. When that happens, you will be more likely to take the actions that are necessary to achieve that positive change. Here are two examples:
- You want to lose some weight. You use the affirmation, “I am healthy and beautiful.” Feeling attractive and fit makes you feel good and helps you engage in more healthy routines rather than indulging in health-sabotaging ones out of the need for comfort. The health changes you’re after, such as weight loss, will occur more easily than they would if you tell yourself something more along the lines of “I will feel beautiful after I lose 10 pounds.”
- You want to find a new job, and you have an interview. You use the affirmation, “I am qualified for this position, and the interviewer sees my value.” Going into the interview, belief in this affirmation allows you to act naturally and confidently. If you were to say to yourself, “I hope I get this job! I don’t want to mess up this interview,” stress could lead you to behave differently in the meeting, probably more nervously and with less confidence; less able to show off your skills.
As you can see, using positive affirmations to change your thought patterns and expectations can attract positive results into your life.
How Can You Make Positive Affirmations Work the Best for You?
There are some things you can do to enhance the power of positive affirmations in decreasing your stress levels and increasing your coping abilities.
- Choose a positive affirmation that represents that thoughts, feelings, or physical life that you wish to have. You could also write one (or many) yourself.
- Repeat the positive affirmation to yourself several times in a row a few times a day. Repetition can help make the statement more concrete in your mind.
- Breathe deeply ten times in a row prior to beginning your recitation of the affirmation. Focus your mind on the words that you’re repeating rather than on what’s going on around you.
- Repeat the affirmation to yourself at times when your mind is naturally more relaxed such as just upon waking or as you’re falling asleep. It can be extra powerful to play positive affirmation recordings softly as you fall asleep.
Positive Affirmations to Release Stress
Along with daily positive affirmations to generally increase the positivity in your life, here are some great affirmations that can specifically help you release stress quickly when you feel overwhelmed. Simply take a few moments to yourself to breathe deeply and repeat one of these affirmations a few times. Visualize yourself releasing the stress from your mind and the tension from your body with every exhale. Here are a few affirmations from which you can choose:
- I am happy, calm, and free from worry.
- I am a positive person who attracts positive things into my life.
- I am equipped to handle this situation effectively.
- My body and mind feel calm and peaceful.
- Good things continually happen to me.
- I exude a sense of well-being and make others in my presence feel comfortable and good about themselves.
- Feeling relaxed is my normal state.
- I feel calm and relaxed because it’s good for my health.
- I am in control of my life and choose to feel peaceful.
- I am confident about my life and my abilities.
- I forgive myself for the mistakes I have made in the past, and I have learned from them.
- There are some things I can’t change, and I’m OK with that.
- I choose to release feelings of stress and embrace joyful thoughts.
- This situation will pass, so I choose to deal with it calmly.
- I see challenges as life lessons for me to learn more and be a better person.
- I am a good person who deserves happiness, health, and peace.
The more you repeat these affirmations to yourself, the more quickly and effectively they will help you release stress when needed.
Do you have a favorite affirmation? We’d love to hear yours in the comments.
- J. David Creswell, J. M. (2013, May 1). Self-Affirmation Improves Problem-Solving under Stress. Retrieved from PLOS One.
- Ronald Alexander, P. (2011, Aug. 5). 5 Steps to Make Affirmations Work for You. Retrieved from Psychology Today.