Have you ever used affirmations?
I've read conflicting opinions on this. So, I'm wondering what your impression of self-affirmations is-- if you use them-- and how effective you think they are.
Affirmations are only as effective as what you are willing to work on within yourself.
I got a box of generic affirmations once. They were cards that droned on about a particular focus for the day. You randomly drew a card. Some people throw runes or use other mediums to pick something out to focus on. And for some people these things work at heightening their spirituality and whatever else they are trying to achieve. I’m glad for them.
I have made my own personal affirmation cards. I placed them around my space, where I’d see them every day. By my stove, on my mirror, on the ceiling by my bed. They are personal messages, from me to me. ‘Anxiety lies to you.’ ‘Walk around the property for fresh air.’ ‘Forgive yourself.’ ‘Create something today.’ These help me more than a generic ‘I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents. (at)’
It's a tough balancing act. I avoid using anything negative or self defeating and concentrate on all the positives while trying to stay grounded in reality. Know your limits but don't dwell on them. I have always been a can do person and everything I have set my mind to, I have done. The vocabulary one uses determines a lot of who you are and how you are perceived.
I do know if you keep telling yourself you are ugly, worthless, stupid, it has Terrible effects on you! So I must believe that telling yourself you are competent, attractive, worthy, etc would be very good for you! Elite athletes are coached on how to use such thoughts to help them win, there are books written by them & for them about it.
I tried affirmations when in my 20's, was not too skeptical of such things then, even trusted my brother in-law when he told me homeopathy was real medicine.
While I think affirmations are more effective than homeopathy, that's obviously not a glowing recommendation.
I used them during and after deconversion for a few years. When I became aware of my internal dialog during that time period I was taken aback. A couple of decades being told that you're a sinner, that you're second class in the Christian hierarchy (a female) and the only good thing in you is Jesus did take its toll on my psyche.
As I researched about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis I realized I could create new cells (neurons) and pathways. In doing so, the old cells would lose connections and neural networks would atrophy. I think affirmations can be very effective.
I quit smoking using affirmations, sort of. Even though I didn't realize it. It was really a negative affirmation, but it had surprising results. I've recently started to explore eft, which is pretty remarkable really. It has profound effects that are actually measurable during practice.
Yes. Repeated messages to yourself can work to "program" the brain, increasing confidence, reducing insecurities and self-harming internal dialogue, and improving focus on goals. There's good science out there demonstrating that it is an effective technique, which explains why something like it has developed in so many cultures.
I can never discuss this topic without thinking of Al Franken's SNL routine as Stuart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!"
That said ... I think affirmations "work", for some people, some of the time -- not in some woo-ish way, but because of the simple principle that our subconscious is highly suggestible and takes instructions without a lot of discrimination or nuance. My version of this is that I'll outright lie to my subconscious. I walk for exercise, but basically hate exercise. I'll tell myself that near the end of my walk, I'll stop at Dunkin Donuts for a hazelnut latte and donut as a reward for accomplishing the walk. This actually motivates me to walk. When I get there, I'll say, no, I don't need it, or the guilt or bloat that goes with it; I'll just continue on home -- and I do. And it works. For me anyway.
We do affirmations of others at the close of meetings on one of my projects. Tell the person next to you something good about them. It’s a little cheesy but a positive way to end a meeting.
As for personal affirmations, after divorcing a toxic narcissist, my therapist suggested that I check negative thoughts with more positive/realistic ones. She didn’t call them affirmations but it was along those lines. The idea was to reprogram my mind from the gaslighting I had been exposed to for many years. “When you feel X, remind yourself that Y.”
Yes..I watch Abraham Hicks on YouTube, and they advise ignoring negative things and focusing on things you love. Instead of saying things to yourself like "I need money. Why don't I have any money. I'm a loser," find something to say that doesn't resist what you really want.
It's better to say, "I like my bills being paid. Having money is nice." instead of causing inner resistance by chanting "I am rich" to yourself. The idea is not to bring up resistance, so instead, focus on things you love to do..go for a walk, take a nap, watch a favorite comedy, etc.
As for visualization..of course it works. When I was playing sports growing up I would pretend to slow down spinning ping pong balls, baseballs, etc., and even enlarge the basketball hoop to enormous size in my mind, and then I had plenty of time and room to score. I later read that most professional athletes do this instinctively, even if they aren't aware of it.