How To Use Affirmations Effectively

depressed woman having headache and stress

6 Tips When You’re Feeling stuck

In the last post we looked at why Affirmations may not have worked for you.  In this post, I’m following up by sharing some of my favorite methods for changing negative self-talk and mental chatter.  While learning how to use Affirmations, keep in mind the purpose of this tool. 

At first you might learn how to shift your thoughts relating to a singular goal.  But affirmations are meant to teach you how to speak to yourself all the time, which carries over into how you speak to others.  And every thought you have influences the way you experience the world.  Set yourself up for success and walk into every goal you have with the belief you can and will succeed – even if it takes a bit of time to get there.  Because your behavior is a direct reflection of your thoughts.

1. Use positive statements instead of negatives

Sometimes the mind processes negation statements as though they are positive.  If someone tells you not to think of a pink elephant, you’re probably going to picture the pink elephant first, and then try to distract yourself with another image.  Make it easier on yourself and use positive statements instead of negation statements.  Some examples of negations are words like: Not, Can’t, Don’t, Won’t, Never, Can’t, No.  Remember, every thought counts and as positive thoughts become more familiar they also become more comfortable.  Behaviors follow your thoughts, so start with good ones.

2. Align with your personality reality

Choose statements that are in harmony with your current belief system and emotional state.  You want to stretch but you don’t need to force yourself to leap across The Grand Canyon.  Be honest with yourself about where you are at, and where you believe you can go.  REFRAME: Instead of saying, “I love myself” try saying something like, “I’m doing the best I can and that’s enough for today.”  Instead of saying, “I’m losing more and more weight every single day” try saying something like, “I love how I look and feel when I eat vegetables, so I’m eating more of them every day.”  These are just examples.  Whatever statement you create, make it authentic and genuine to where you are now and what are you moving towards. 

3. Focus on what you gain

We are hardwired to try and avoid loss.  When it comes to physical reality needs of survival, we are programmed to want more, not less.  We want more food stores for winter, more community, more opportunity, more money, more time, etc. Just think about losing a loved one or a pet and you understand what I mean.  So focus on what you are getting from your goals instead of what you are giving up.  And make sure what you are gaining, is something you truly want deep within yourself.  Because the more you want it, the more power it gains as a driving force for your success.  REFRAME:  Instead of saying, “I’m giving up cigarettes” you might say something like, “I love feeling healthy and breathing freely and easily.”  Instead of saying, “I’m losing weight” you might say something like, “I’m eating more vegetables and lean protein and I love how my body feels this way.”

4. Clear your mind

If reframing your affirmations still leaves you feeling down or divided, then give them a rest for a while.  Use what works and be willing to shelf what doesn’t.  You can test it again at a later time.  So if you can’t change your thoughts, simply silence them.  

Have you ever watched someone clean up their working space before beginning a project?  That’s because they know a clear space makes for a more productive and focused mind.  So clean your environment, and then clear your mind.  Learn how to cultivate the quiet inside yourself.  If you can simply interrupt the habit or thought you want to change, you have a much better chance of succeeding.  That pause creates a moment where you have a choice.  

Meditation is an excellent way to quiet your mind.  And for those with really stubborn persistent thoughts, I highly recommend Sound Meditation, which uses seed syllables and chanting to help clear the mind and energy pathways.  It gives your mind and body a neutral focus of activity, making it easier to achieve a state of inner silence.  Alternatively, any activity that you are so good at you can do it without thinking can be helpful.  Be creative and find what works for you.

5. Remove subconscious blocks

When clearing the mind doesn’t do the trick, you might want to consider clearing the clutter and blocks on a subconscious level.  Thoughts and behaviors create neuron pathways and connections in the brain.  These associated connections can be compared to plant roots, and your brain or mind is like the garden.  And every garden has at least a few weeds that must be removed, before they take over all the other plants.  Some weeds have roots that are shallow and easily pulled out by hand, yet others run deep and require special tools to remove.  If you fail to remove the roots, the weeds will grow back and fast. Special tools that can be used to remove the weeds of the mind include Hypnotherapy, EMDR, EFT, and chakra clearing. 

6. Know the many voices

The voices refer to the internal conflicts you experience.  Part of you (one voice) wants to do A, and the other part (voice) wants to do B.  One voice wants to eat that entire cheeseburger with all the fixings plus dessert, and the other voice wants to get fit and trim.  It’s like a tug-of-war game.  Sometimes side A wins, and sometimes side B wins, but most of the time you’re caught in the middle, like the rope, and not really going anywhere at all.  Sometimes all it takes to get one side to give-up is to understand where the voices are coming from.  I’m not talking about your personal history or analyzing yourself ad nauseam.  I’m talking about knowing the difference between the voices of your body, spirit, and mind.  

The body sends signals frequently through-out the day.  For example, a pregnant woman who is normally vegan yet finds she is craving meat while pregnant with her child.  More than likely this is a signal she ought to listen to because there is a nutrient in the meat that her baby requires for healthy growth.  On the other hand, the body can signal or compel you to feed an addiction of food, substance, or even love.  Should you listen to every urge you feel in your body? 

Of course not.  You are not a slave to your body.  Your body is here to support you in the physical and it’s your temple, as we like to say.  The temple does not run the show.  The temple is a holding space for sacred practices.  So who is in charge then?  Who is leading the show?  

This is where you turn to your Spirit, your Higher Self, or your connection to God.  Whatever you like to call that higher power.  It’s the job of the temple to create a sacred space in which you can connect with God-Source.  The temple doesn’t tell God or Spirit what to do.  So when you feel a signal from the body, you can turn to your Spirit or God and ask what will create the best outcome for your personal Journey or Vision.  This source will always encourage you to go for the light, growth, and passion.  The Light Voice is uplifting and will encourage you to stretch and go for the best possible long-term outcome.  This voice has a beautiful, life-affirming vision.  

Just like the body tries to run the show at times, the mind will try as well.  I like to call this The Hamster Wheel of Doom.  

The Hamster Wheel of Doom happens when you’re mentally running in circles over and over without actually getting anywhere.  Thoughts from The Hamster Wheel of Doom are usually filled with worst-case scenarios and judgements of right vs wrong, good vs evil, and unmet expectations.  (Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, refers to this as The Judge, and he explains it much more in depth than I do here.)

Doomsday thoughts are confining, unbending, and even obsessive.  When the mind is working you, instead of for you, you won’t get anywhere except where you have been before.  This is what happens when the mind takes over the role of the Light Voice.  

The mind in balance, however, is a tool to help you gather information, like a library, but it does not determine your reality.  Your Spirit or connection to God, is what sets your course or destination.  So tap into your Spirit, vision, and desire for growth and life.  And use it to take charge of your thoughts.  Be the captain of your ship and command yourself in a way that’s aligned with your Spirit’s vision and destination.  It can be whatever you dream it to be.  

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Published by Krystal Matocha

Krystal helps singles build the confidence to overcome dating anxiety and loneliness. With certifications in heartmath and hypnotherapy, she offers 1:1 coaching programs that are relaxed, conversational, and deeply transformative in 1-3 sessions, without years of therapy, meditation, or nightly self-help homework.