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All of the conveniences of the modern world were introduced to make life better, easier and more efficient. From microwaves to smartphones to international travel, there has never been a better time to be alive, right?
The pace of daily life is incredibly hectic with people having to multitask on minor and major issues. Being connected means that work, friends and enemies can call and text twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
People with jobs work longer hours, often without overtime and benefits, while others are reliant on the gig economy. As the world shifts in all realms – economics, geopolitics, society, and culture – people are shouldering the weight of these burdens.
We as a planet are more connected than ever, and there are consequences to living in a world of technological marvels. If you are struggling to maintain a calm, peaceful feeling in your everyday life, there is a simple way to relax your mind and body.
You can learn a lot more about how feelings of peace and well being can improve your life with: Declutter Your Mind. We wrote it as a resource for anyone who wants to improve the quality of their thoughts and enjoy life more.
Telling yourself that everything will be ok seems like it is just too easy, but that is exactly how affirmations work. There is a lot of science behind affirmations, and you can use them to destress your life and feel better about yourself.
What You Will Learn
- Positive Affirmations for Anxiety Relief and Stress Reduction
- Affirmations are a Positive Tool for Anxiety Relief
- Learning how to Use Affirmations in Your Life
Positive Affirmations for Anxiety Relief and Stress Reduction
Is it any wonder than anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States?
According to Medical News Today, forty million Americans suffer from anxiety and anxiety-related disorders, but only thirty-six percent seek treatment.
What exactly is anxiety?
While it was once considered to be a healthy emotion or reaction to environmental stimuli, it has now been deemed a potential behavioral disorder with negative physical, mental and emotional results.
Anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes.” It has been with humans since the beginning of time when our ancestors ran from large predatory animals and other dangers.
Sometimes referred to as the “fight or flight “response, anxiety can produce increased heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, fear, apprehension, worry, and sensitivity to surroundings.
Although we are no longer running from wooly mammoths and saber-tooth tigers, people still experience anxiety triggers, usually connected to money, work, family, relationships, and health.
As we are bombarded constantly by twenty-four-hour news outlets, people have started to develop other anxieties associated with climate change, terrorism, and authoritarianism. A wise man once noted that we all inherit anxieties from our parents as well, manifested in the ways we respond to trauma or triggers.
Being nervous about a public lecture, an interview, an upcoming flight or a wedding is different than suffering from anxiety. If untreated or undiagnosed, anxiety can lead to a disorder which can negatively impact an individual’s life. Therefore, how to treat anxiety? How to release worries, fears, and tension?
For many people, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga can help ease anxiety.
Affirmations are another means to address both triggers and stress.
What are affirmations?
They are positive phrases and statements that replace negative or challenging thoughts. Extremely simple to do, affirmations allow the practitioner to create his or her own statements in order to address a specific situation or concern.
Perhaps it seems too easy. One merely has to repeat some positive phrases and everything disappears?
Of course, underlying conditions and triggers will still exist, but practicing affirmations allows someone suffering from anxiety to relieve immediate physical and mental symptoms and there is a science to prove it.
Naturally, persistent practice is the first step for affirmations to be a success, like any other habit or hobby. In the psychological realm, there have been studies on the power and efficacy of affirmation.
According to an article by Cohen and Sherman in 2014, affirmations are connected to self-integrity, self-efficacy., and self-identity. Psychological studies inspired neurological research to ascertain if there were any changes in the brain with self-affirmation.
Several studies have produced evidence indicating that certain neural pathways are increased with the affirmation practice. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex becomes more active and helps to analyze and deconstruct potentially threatening information.
Empirical studies have shown that affirmation has positive benefits to overall health.
Affirmations can decrease stress; improve academic performance; lower worry and fear; make people change their lifestyles for the better; make people perceive threatening messages with less resistance; and improve physical behavior.
In addition to these pleasant perks, affirmations increase overall resilience, encourage optimism, and heal the body.
Affirmations are a Positive Tool for Anxiety Relief
Affirmations can be said daily, although some experts suggest that repeating the statements three to five times a day is best, as the practitioner will reap the benefits quicker and the sentiments expressed in the phrase will stay in the mind.
They can be written down on cards that can be carried or post–its that can be placed throughout a chosen environment. Reading, saying, and repeating them will cause the affirmations to be more effective. They are designed to encourage positive, happy feelings, thoughts and attitudes. Since there are no religious or spiritual meanings inherent in the affirmations, anyone can practice them.
Although one can create their own affirmations based on the particular situation, as noted above, the following lists provide suggested statements that will help to calm the mind, and to distract and change the negative thoughts.
Another piece of advice for affirmations is to keep them short, encouraging, and positive, using “I” statements that fit your personality.
Focus on being present, rather than worrying about the future and berating yourself over the past. If any negative or harsh words or thoughts arise, note them and then write affirmations to target them.
Also, try to understand what caused the demeaning self-talk and to identify the triggers. If the affirmations are for anxiety attacks, they can include positive reminders of what helps you push through these episodes. Also, emphasize your strengths, facts and accomplishments.
- I am a successful person.
- I am confident in everything that I do.
- I am doing the best I can.
- I choose to be happy.
- I am in perfect health.
- I am resilient; I will get through this difficult time.
- I believe in myself.
- I accept myself.
- I love myself.
- I don’t judge myself.
- I don’t compare myself to others.
Affirmations for Anxiety
- I choose to feel calm.
- I choose positive and nurturing thoughts.
- I am right where I need to be.
- I do the best that I can.
- I forgive myself.
- I release the past.
- I look forward to a happy bright future.
- I am safe.
- I inhale the good and exhale the bad. (variations on this include… I inhale energy/light/health and I exhale negativity/darkness/illness. Often this affirmation can be used with meditation and certain yoga poses)
- I am brave/I am strong.
- I will be OK.
Specifically Targeted Affirmations
- I am not my anxiety.
- I am currently reducing my anxiety.
- I focus my energy on my values, not my anxiety.
- I have the strength to move beyond my anxiety.
- I am in charge of my breathing.
- I cultivate inner calm.
- I appreciate the beauty around me.
- I will survive. (I have survived my anxiety before. I will survive now)
- I am curious about my triggers.
- I am patient.
- I take things one step at a time/I take things one day at a time.
- I am present in this moment.
- I am not in danger; I am just uncomfortable; this too will pass.
Affirmations for Recover from a Narcissistic Relationship
- I do not deserve abuse.
- I am a good and kind person.
- I am talented and have many things to offer
- I actively contribute to my healing.
- I enjoy making others laugh.
- I am an excellent listener.
- I have many supportive friends who help me.
- I liberate myself from this unhealthy relationship.
- I am a loyal friend and partner.
- I empathize with others.
As seen in these lists, affirmations can be applied to almost any situation, can address almost any trauma and can be used by women, men, children, and teenagers
Although affirmations do work, they are not an immediate cure-all. They take time, patience and commitment from the practitioner. There must be a willingness to say and to read the affirmations of choice every day.
Learning to identify negative thoughts as soon as they formulate is important for mental, emotional and physical well-being too. Notice the thought and correct it as soon as possible. Change the negative tone to something positive.
Learning how to Use Affirmations in Your Life
As discussed previously, noting the trigger or situation will help with honing this skill as well.
What causes stress and anxiety? How to identify and deal with it?
Perhaps you can eventually try to deal with it proactively. Even in a situation that may be stressful and fear-inducing, from networking to presentations to an important business meeting, affirmations can help.
Positive thinking is wonderful and the entire aim of this article and the practice of affirmations. However, it is additionally important to be realistic about your goals, your expectations, your practice, and the affirmations themselves.
Trying to convince yourself of unrealistic affirmations actually causes more anxiety, which leaves you more exhausted and frustrated.
Therefore, it is essential to remain grounded and to focus on reality and truth.
If you want to learn more about how to destress and remove anxiety from your day to day life: our book Declutter Your Mind is worth a look. Happiness and satisfaction come with creating peace, and our book can help you along the way.
The purpose of practicing affirmations is to manage and to control anxiety, to enhance health and to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. It is not about making one million dollars.
By being honest you are doing yourself the greatest favor and truly improving the quality of life, which is priceless.
Nicholas Say was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has been interested in global belief systems from a young age. This area of study led him to research many Eastern philosophical systems, including Vedic and Buddhist ideas and practices. Today he thinks that humanity needs to find ways to be happy with being, as opposed to possessing and doing. His views fall roughly in-line with the late philosopher Alan Watts, who he venerates as great teacher.