What’s the first thing that you do when you rise for the day? Is speaking kindly to and about yourself part of your daily routine? If not, consider this your gentle invitation to make some simple, self-affirming changes. Through the power of positive words and thoughts, you can fortify your mental health, navigate challenging times with more resilience, and improve your overall health.
Louise Hay reminds us that many of us have been criticizing ourselves for years, but how has that been working for us? Instead, the self-help expert recommends, “try approving of yourself, and see what happens.” How often do we pour our light into others, generously giving our advice, our time, our energy, and our love? Is it even possible to compare the love and kindness we reserve for others to how we are treating ourselves, and how we show them to treat us in return?
It may be that we focus more on how we are perceived than how we see ourselves because of phenomena like confirmation bias, which makes us more aware of what confirms our preexisting beliefs. So, if we believe (think) we are worthy of love and abundance, it is more likely that we will affirm (say) it. If this seems like a challenging new habit to form, especially if you’re realizing your negative thoughts and self-talk have persisted longer than you care to admit, fake it until you make it! Even if you don’t yet believe the kind thoughts and speech you say to yourself, try anyways. You’ll be creating powerful, healing messages for your brain to start recording, offering a positive feedback loop of your own making. Read on for some evidence-based motivation for hacking your brain’s happiness potential to support better psychological and physical health.
Does this all sound too good to be true? There’s a growing body of research that demonstrates just how transformative, health-enhancing, and absolutely essential it is to fill our minds and our mouths with positive thoughts and speech. The alternative is simply self-destructive, but it’s never too late to make a change. To protect yourself from the harmful effects of these negative thought patterns, we’ve gathered some compelling facts to help inspire your reverse engineering of a lasting self-love.
Here are 6 reasons to add affirmations to your self-care practice, according to research
1. Reduce inflammation.
Recent studies reveal that simply acknowledging positivity lowers systemic inflammation, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
2. Rewire your mind.
Practicing self-affirmation has been shown via MRIs to activate the brain’s reward centers, fire up neural pathways, and change areas of the brain that bring joy.
3. De-stress + Wind down.
Powerfully decrease stress and solve problems more easily by repeating phrases that teach your brain new ways of thinking about yourself in a positive light.
4. Energy + Empowerment.
Many studies confirm that people who speak to and about themselves in an optimistic tone feel more energized and empowered.
5. Achieve your goals.
Researchers have found that affirmations increase self-efficacy, resilience and academic performance while reducing test anxiety and negative thinking.
Positive self-talk is proven to challenge and overcome self sabotaging and negative thoughts. Helping us to adhere to health goals, boost our self-compassion and psychological well-being.
To further enhance your commitment to positive self-talk, we’ve also put together a list of rituals and herbs that you may find useful as you learn to pour into your own cup. Rituals have been shown to positively impact thoughts, behavior, and feelings, withstanding the test of time throughout the ages even for non-believers. They can also boost your confidence, lower anxiety, and ease the pain of grief and loss. You may feel the need to grieve the loss of your former self, or any old stories that might have fed false belief systems telling you that viewing yourself negatively was your only option.
Check out our herbalists’ tips below for harnessing the power of affirmations. We hope they offer you the tools to get in the right headspace for making positivity a sustainable practice in your life.
1. Delay screen time.
Our digital devices prevent quality sleep and one key ingredient for creativity: boredom. Screens in the morning have been shown to negatively impact children’s language ability, and sustained time in front of screens has been linked to a decline in physical and psychological health. Before you reach for your phone or tablet in the morning, try implementing one of these rituals to delay connecting to online distractions.
2. Journal affirmations.
Writing by hand is thought to make us smarter. The sensory experience of putting pen to paper reinforces neural pathways, and in the case of affirmative thoughts, can support our positive self-talk and deepen our brain’s memory storage of the kind of messages we want to call upon in challenging situations. Start with simple statements like “I am”, “I can”, or “I believe” as a prompt to write freely about your highest self.
3. Hydrate with intention.
Drinking water in the morning has some profound health benefits, including but not limited to: increasing alertness and brain function, fortifying the immune system, ridding the body of toxins, jump-starting metabolism, boosting internal organ function, preventing infections, and enhancing radiant skin. In lieu of doom scrolling, hydrating consciously while you engage in one or more of these rituals can help you feel prepared to think and speak positively about yourself while nourishing your body.
4. Stretch mindfully.
Gentle movements like cat-cow pose and circular motions of the neck, shoulders, wrists, ankles and hips for as little as five or ten minutes can help calm the mind, relieve tension, and improve your posture. With fewer aches and pains, this short flow will not only awaken your body, it will connect and attune your heart and mind to the essential task of positive self-talk, whether written, meditated on, or spoken aloud to yourself.
5. Mirror time.
Talk to yourself, say aloud with confidence and certainty your strengths, best qualities, and abilities. Focus on “I am”, “I can”, or “I believe” as a starting point for speaking kindly and positively about the person you see in the mirror. Should negative thoughts creep up, meet them with neutrality to the best of your capacity, then let them go. Return to positive speech, and repeat the process as many times as you need to to feel complete.
The famous artist Frida Kahlo once said, “I paint self-portraits because I am the person I know best.” Studies have explored the therapeutic potential of self-portraiture, and creatives have long relied on this art form to express their truths. Use any medium (photo, doodle, collage, etc.) to show yourself a positive vision of who you are. With this focus in mind, consider a sustained commitment to this particular ritual (daily, weekly, monthly, or as often as you like) to track your progress over time. You may surprise yourself with the evolution of how your positive self-image improves as you come back to the art you’ve made.
7. Take a grounding walk.
Moving meditations, barefoot walking and forest bathing are a few ways to kickstart a positive self-talk session. By quieting the outside noise of social media, work and home responsibilities, and the distractions of the modern world, we can best sow a fertile mental ground for planting the seeds of self-love and care that we need to thrive.
- Happiness Powder ~ Packed with “happy herbs” like ashwagandha, rhodiola, mucuna, albizia and St. John’s Wort to elevate mood, energize, and promote peace, this supportive herbal coffee substitute is earthy and aromatic. A caffeine-free alternative for a magical morning.
- Happiness Tonic ~ Stabilizer of hormone function, serotonin and dopamine, this adaptogenic formula can soothe the nervous system and support adrenal function. Together, the herbs in this tonic create a synergetic powerhouse to help relieve stress, anxiety, and mood slumps. The ideal state of mind to receive the full benefits of your affirmations.
- Euphoria Spirit + Love Elixir ~ Mood, joy and bliss in a bottle. Awaken loving awareness in your body, stimulate and nourish your reproductive organs, and flood the energy body with light. Joy-boosting botanicals like Euphoria can help bring ritual to your life while increasing your connection to your deepest self and others by opening the heart to receive positivity.
- Golden Sun Milk ~ Rise and receive! Healing and anti-inflammatory in nature, this turmeric-forward powder is a wonderfully supportive ally that’s packed with nootropics and dopamine-enhancing herbs, warming chai spices, and adaptogenic mushrooms. There’s no hard and fast rule that affirmations need to be said in the morning, though this formula’s warm embrace can be enjoyed day or night. Another mood elevator to help you focus on the most important person you’ll meet and shower with love today — you!
Now that you’re ready to take on any negative thoughts and feelings you might have about yourself, read on for some examples of daily affirmations we think you’ll love and may even live by.
Positively loaded statements or phrases present a powerful challenge to negative thought patterns. Over time, they can reverse this way of thinking and retrain your mind to see yourself in a more optimistic and compassionate way. Self-affirmation theory teaches that “humans are motivated to protect themselves from threats by painting self-integrity”. We may struggle to accept that sometimes the threat has taken up a home in our own mind. With consistent yet minimal effort, self-affirmations can lead to a more positive self-image. By bringing about meaningful changes for your well-being, they have the potential to reverberate through your mind, body, and spirit.
These affirmations are just a starting point for your daily practice (some experts say you can repeat affirmations up to three to five times daily for an added boost of positivity and improved health outcomes). We invite you to choose a few that resonate with you, or find your own that bring about feelings of happiness, strength, confidence, personal power and success, however you define those things for yourself. Remember, this is all about you and your relationship with yourself, which is perhaps one of the most important bonds you will form over your lifetime. We believe in you!