Do Positive Affirmations Really Work?

Updated on December 31, 2016
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Sadie Holloway is exploring how to live more intentionally, everyday. Her favorite self-help authors are Deepak Chopra and Julia Cameron.

Can Positive Affirmations Make a Difference?

Can daily positive affirmations really make a difference in your life? If you're not sure, or you've never used affirmations before, you've got nothing to lose by writing your own affirmations and stating them every day for a month. You might be surprised by what happens!

When you look at your reflection, what do you see?
When you look at your reflection, what do you see? | Source

What Is an Affirmation?

We all go through ups and downs in our lives. By focusing our thoughts on positive, life-affirming messages we can improve our resiliency in the face of life's normal day-to-day stresses and strains. Here are a few sample affirmations that I hope will help you get in touch with your own positive, personal truths.

What is an affirmation? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, to affirm something means to validate or confirm something as true; or to express dedication to something. An affirmation, then, is a statement of truth.

In New Age terminology, affirmations are generally thought of as positive statements that we make about ourselves and our realities in order to improve our outlook and attract good things and good people to us. If we combine the New Age definition of an affirmation with the traditional definition of an affirmation, we find a middle ground where we aren’t sugar-coating or pumping things up to be something that they aren’t, but rather we are focusing on what is true for us to help give us confidence and peace of mind.

Even if you're not sure if affirmations work, setting aside some time to quietly focus on a positive statements is a healthy self-care practice.
Even if you're not sure if affirmations work, setting aside some time to quietly focus on a positive statements is a healthy self-care practice. | Source

What Are Your Personal Truths?

Here is a list of personal truths that I strive to use every day to affirm that I’m heading in the right direction, even when I feel discouraged.

I ask for what I need.

Asking for help from others can be a challenge, especially since we live in a world that celebrates people who are “self-made millionaires” or “independently wealthy.” The truth is that no one, absolutely no one, gets to the top without help and support from other people.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Outliers, the best-selling author deconstructs the myth surrounding self-made millionaires such as Bill Gates. While hard work was a huge part of Gates’ success, he was also supported in-kind by people who gave him unlimited access to the computer labs where he logged thousands and thousands of hours writing computer code. Ask for what you need. You can’t do it all alone

I keep moving towards my dream one day at a time.

If you are a writer, you could substitute the word "day" with the words "article," "story," or "blog post," because the truth is, everything that you write takes you one step closer to your dream. If your story submission gets rejected by one magazine, tweak it and resubmit it to another magazine. Successful magazine writers will tell you that persistence is a vital personality trait for anyone who wants to be a successful freelance writer.

I believe that I make a difference.

If you don’t believe that what you are doing makes a difference to yourself, to other people or to your community, then it will be hard to stay motivated and keep working on your writing project, your small business plan or your marketing strategy. Even on the gloomiest days, when I feel like my income is not where I want it to be, I shift my focus away from material affluence and focus on emotional affluence. If I helped just one person solve a problem, then yes, “Today I made a difference to someone.” If I practiced a random act of kindness, then I made a difference.

If you’re going through a rough patch in life, and positive affirmations just won’t do the trick, reach out to others who have gone through the same thing as you. Whether you are feeling hopeless because of a job loss or because of the death of a loved one, including a beloved pet, there are other people out there who have gone through the same thing. Here are some other things you can do to invite more optimism and hope into your life.

  • If you can’t come up with your own affirmation, find a hopeful quote from a famous writer, activist or inventor.
  • Surround yourself with words of optimism by reading poetry! The words and wisdom of the American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson are one of my favorite sources of hope and inspiration!
  • Make a list of all the things that make you feel grateful to be you. What do you like about yourself? What are you most proud of? Making lists about your positive qualities and attributes is a great way to find just the write words for writing your own positive affirmations.
  • Read books such as novels, autobiographies and memoirs that inspire you to stay positive and hopeful, even when things don’t seem to be working out the way you want them to.
  • Subscribe to blogs, e-zines and email lists that automatically send positive phrases, quotes and words of wisdom right to your Inbox every day.

If you’re having a hard time finding gentle words to say to yourself to uplift your own mood, find nice things to say to other people. Uplift their spirits and give them something positive to focus on. Showing kindness to another human being is like a positive affirmation put into action!

If you can't find the right words to uplift your own spirit, start with finding kind words to uplift others. When you help others, you help yourself too.
If you can't find the right words to uplift your own spirit, start with finding kind words to uplift others. When you help others, you help yourself too. | Source

© 2016 Sadie Holloway


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    2 years ago

    Wonderful suggestions to find your words for your heart or your day. I, too, like the thoughts of Ralph Waldo Emmerson.

    Yes what we tell ourselves can encourage us to take that well needed risk to expand our little and big world.

    Many thanks.

  • shanmarie profile image

    Shannon Henry 

    2 years ago from Texas

    Just what I needed to read this morning. Thanks. :)

  • izettl profile image

    Laura Izett-Irwin 

    2 years ago from The Great Northwest

    One thing though I would also mention is that affirmations can actually have a negative effect. For people who are already feeling badly about themselves studies show positive affirmations made them feel worse afterwards.

    In studies those people who allowed themselves to feel unpleasant emotions actually built up resiliency to negative emotions without judgment or resistance. People who practice feeling the unpleasant emotions and letting them blow over rather than fight their feelings are in better mental health.

  • websparkle profile image


    2 years ago from Georgia

    I definitely need to apply some positive affirmations to my daily life. 2017 has been a challenging year for, but I know I need to make 2018 more positive somehow. Thanks for the article!

  • wpcooper profile image


    2 years ago from Barstow

    hey some nice inspirational stuff here...

  • newbizmau profile image

    Maurice Glaude 

    2 years ago from Mobile, AL

    They absolutely do work! I use them, write them, and try to incorporate them into my speech to be as natural as possible. "I am in control of my mind and I will be healthy, successful and powerful." That one is just for you. I've never uttered those words before. That's how easy it can be to create your own affirmation.

    I believe if this catches on to the majority the world will be a much healthier place to live.

  • Priya Barua profile image

    Priya Barua 

    2 years ago

    I agree with you. Positive Affirmation does help to uplift your spirits. I usually listen to a YouTube record before going to sleep and feel incredibly positive when I wake up the next day.

  • StephanieBCrosby profile image

    Stephanie Bradberry 

    2 years ago from New Jersey

    I totally believe in the power of affirmations. But of course they need to be coupled with belief and action.


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