Affirmations, or positive declarations, seem like a great idea, right? Just use your willpower to create truths such as: “I deserve happiness and love” and … shazam … happiness and love fill your life and you live happily ever after.
Unfortunately affirmations often don’t work. But why? It’s because affirmations are heard by your conscious mind but not your subconscious.
So if you say “bald is beautiful” your conscious mind hears it, but if you don’t believe this deep down, you might think: I look hideous without hair. This causes a battle in your mind and the affirmation won’t work. It doesn’t help to brute-force repeat the affirmation. This worsens your inner struggle.
Why bother with affirmations then? Because a U-Penn Neuroscience and Communication Lab study discovered that when positive affirmations work they release feel-good hormones and rewire our brains to form positive thought clusters.
This sounds good, right? Yeah, but how can we stop wasting time on affirmations that don’t work, and make our positive thoughts and dreams come true? Use these five secrets to sync you conscious and subconscious mind to make affirmations work like magic.
1. Choose affirmation words you can believe.
For instance, if you say: “I accept myself and I deserve great things”, but deep inside you believe I’m a big, fat liar because:
- I bit my sister when I was five
- My friends and I toilet-papered our mean teacher’s house
- I hide whenever the lawn needs mowing
Consider forgiving yourself for not being perfect, and volunteering to mow the lawn next week. Next, try a modified affirmation: “I accept myself a little more every day and I deserve great things.”
Your mind will seek evidence that you accept yourself more today than in the past. When the words you choose ring true, you will feel it.
2. Put your subconscious to work by stating affirmations as questions.
Your mind likes to find solutions. If you say: “Am I beautiful inside?” your mind will look for evidence that this is true.
A Psychological Science study revealed that the grammatical structure of self-talk is capable of motivating and altering behavior. Curiosity and inner resources will help you discover your inner thoughts and feelings when you ask the right questions.
But asking questions can bubble up negatives and these can make you feel worse. Ask further questions to find solutions and heal negatives. For instance, if you think: I’m ugly inside.
You might ask: Why? or Is this thought productive?
Then ask: How can I forgive myself for … or How can I let this thought go? Your mind will think up ideas. Finding solutions for negative thoughts, or choosing acceptance, frees your subconscious to affirm your original question.
3. Write out your affirmation
You might write: “I’m a fun, beautiful, strong princess / prince, and I deserve the royal treatment.
“Could I meet an amazing prince/princess today?”
Or add your own. Do you believe your words are possible deep down?
Work through any negative thoughts, beliefs or commitments to heal yourself so that you wholeheartedly believe your words. Also, writing your affirmation down several times helps reinforce your belief.
4. Repeat your affirmation out loud
To get the best results, spend five minutes saying your affirmation three times per day. Spread out the timing of these sessions. For instance, you could choose before mealtimes, or select morning, noon and night.
5. Take action to transform your affirmation into reality
If you choose the affirmation: “Could I meet an amazing prince/princess today?” You can’t just write this down, repeat it daily, and laze on the couch waiting for the doorbell to ring. You need to take action.
After Winnifred T.’s divorce she wanted to meet new people. Her friend challenged her to join a HappySpree Meetup. Winifred cringed at the thought of going to a meetup alone, but she did it anyway.
She met her prince at an 80’s dance night. They’ve happily dated for two years.
Also, after my divorce, I had to change my angry thoughts before I could attract true love.
Ahem … this took a while. Eventually when I asked myself: could I meet an amazing prince today?
I could consciously and subconsciously answer “yes”, and soon after I met an amazing prince.
So, for your affirmation, choose believable words, ask yourself questions, and address any negativity. Then write your affirmation down, repeat it, and take action to make your heart’s wish come true.