I first discovered the practice and value of positive affirmations last year. In the face of the pandemic and high stress levels, I’d been wanting to establish some new healthy habits and ways of approaching life. After years of rushing around, feeling overwhelmed, overthinking, trying to control things I don’t have power over, and ignoring physical signs of stress, I wanted to make some serious changes for my long-term health and happiness.
I wanted to foster a sense of courage (in my daily life and on my outdoor adventures), feel more relaxed, eat healthier, make time for things that matter, and be able to embrace the overwhelming amount of uncertainty in the world. I wondered if these changes were actually possible, considering I viewed these traits as being long ingrained in my personality.
I was first introduced to the idea of positive affirmations by one of my coaches, and her advice has been backed up in a number of books I’ve since read. At first, something as simple as affirmations sounded too hokey and easy to actually work. However, there is a wide body of scientific research that demonstrates that replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations can result in desired behavior changes by helping new neural pathways in the brain to form.
So I got myself a journal and started the simple practice of writing a few affirmations down every morning or whenever they come to me. I repeat these affirmations on tough hikes, when faced with challenges in my business, or in my day to day interactions with others. A year into this practice, I have to say that I’m now fully convinced that a regular practice of positive affirmations can be life altering.
With the new year underway and the challenges ahead being unprecedented, I wanted to share about this practice that has been so helpful to me.
Here are some of the positive affirmations that have helped me reduce stress, get healthier, and find happiness, as well as advice for how to write affirmations specific to your goals.
Benefits of Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are typically simple I-am-statements about yourself that reflect the person you want to be or habits you want to form. By developing a daily affirmation routine, you begin to tell yourself a new story. Instead of viewing yourself as being stuck with certain traits, affirmations help you see a path forward. There are numerous physiological and neurological studies that show a wide range of benefits of positive affirmations, which include:
- Affirmations can help you feel more grounded in stressful situations
- Affirmations can motivate you to reach your health and exercise goals
- Affirmations can help you feel more optimistic and focus on the positive things in your life
- Affirmations can help you develop and stick to new routines and habits
Now affirmations aren’t a cure all, and they don’t work unless you put in the effort to implement change in your life. What affirmations do though, is serve as a constant reminder of your goals and who you want to be, while providing motivation for the necessary action.
How to Write Affirmations
If you want to start practicing affirmations, all you need to do is write them down in a journal, on post-it notes that you can stick to your fridge, or on your phone. Ideally you want to write them somewhere where you’ll see them frequently.
Next, you want to write them in the present tense, as if you are already where you want to be.
Example: I make healthy choices (present tense)
vs: I will make healthy choices (future tense)
You want your brain to believe that you are doing these things now in the present moment, rather than kicking the action far down the road into the future, when it may or may not ever happen.
I’ve also been taught to use bridging beliefs if the end goal seems too far fetched.
Example: I am beginning to make healthier choices every single day.
vs: I am a golden standard of health
Once you have a few affirmations written down, you’ll want to look at them often, repeat them to yourself every morning or when faced with a tough decision, and observe your new path start to unfold.
List of Affirmations to Inspire you
Here are some of the affirmations that I’ve used and returned to over the last year. You can draw from these or make up your own!
Positive Affirmations for stress reduction and time management
Feel like you never have enough time to do what you love? Or you are frazzled, always rushing from one thing to the next? Here are some affirmations for getting your priorities straight, reducing stress, and taking back your time.
- I prioritize time in nature because it promotes my physical and mental health and allows me to show up as the best version of myself in other areas of my life.
- I only spend my free time on things that are important to me and add joy and value to my life, and I let the rest go.
- I make space to explore my passions and creative side.
- I only say yes to things that I truly want to do and I allow myself to say no without feeling guilty.
- I only take on responsibilities that I can reasonably handle.
- I embrace uncertainty and only spend energy on things I have control over.
- I am grounded and make good decisions in stressful situations.
- I make decisions with ease. I check in with my heart, gut, and brain when making decisions, and no longer feel the need to overthink things.
- I enjoy the process of working towards my goals and am patient for the outcome. I fully trust the unfolding of my path and am open to insight from the universe.
Positive Affirmations for Health
A healthy body is one of our best defenses against COVID-19 and that all starts with what we eat. These are some of the affirmations that have helped me change my mindset towards food and commit to healthy eating. This hasn’t always been easy for me, and I’ve shared about my journey to health here and my recent move to a plant-based diet.
- I make dietary choices that make me stronger, healthier, and more vibrant every single day.
- I nourish my body with healthy, nutrient packed foods that bolster my immune system.
- I enjoy the process of preparing healthy, delicious meals.
- I thrive on a whole foods plant-based diet, and I love discovering new vegan meal ideas for my family.
- I am in control of my diet and have the power to say no to foods that aren’t good for me.
- I am making progress towards my health goals with every small decision I make.
Affirmations for Exercise and An Active Lifestyle
Whether you want to get into a better exercise routine or build confidence on your adventures, here are some affirmations for taking your active lifestyle to the next level.
- I am so grateful for the amazing places my body takes me.
- I love how energized I feel after a good workout or a tough hike.
- I choose to be brave and keep going, even when things feel tough. The rewards are always worth it (this is a favorite of mine when I’m outside my comfort zone on outdoor adventures!)
- I am strong and physical challenges make me feel alive.
- I get more confident every time I’m on the trail.
- I am proud of myself for prioritizing my physical health.
Affirmations for healthy social media use
Do you feel like your social media use is out of control? I felt that way recently and decided to take a 4-month break from social media. I shared some of the lessons learned in this blog post, and affirmations have been helpful for maintaining a balanced, healthy relationship with social media now that I’m back online.
- I am in control of my phone usage.
- I feel great when I put my phone down and use my time for something else that brings me joy.
- I have the power to stop myself when I get caught up in mindless scrolling.
- I use social media as a tool to connect with like minded people and those I care about.
- I only follow people who make me feel good and unfollow those who don’t.
Affirmations for Happiness and Mindful living
These are affirmations I’ve used to practice mindfulness and to feel happier and confident in everyday life.
- I make decisions based on what excites me rather than out of fear.
- I love how relaxed and grounded I feel after meditating, and I carve out space for this self-care practice every single day.
- I am enough and choose to let go of other peoples’ expectations and opinions about me.
- I am learning to use my fear as fuel, and I view challenges as opportunities to grow and reach new heights.
- I am grateful and choose to focus on the abundance in my life rather than what I am lacking.
- I am a good steward of my money. I only buy things that I truly need and value, and I consider the environmental impact of my purchases.
- I enjoy living simply and I am content.
- I am capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to.
- I focus on the light in the world
Some of my favorite journaling tools
I hope these positive affirmations inspire you to take up a practice of your own. I’d love to hear what affirmations resonate with you or others that you intend to use down in the comments.