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Using affirmations to change your thinking patterns

Posted Sep 14 2008 3:50pm

Thoughts have a direct impact on our emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. The repetition of positive thoughts (affirmations) will lead to a positive attitude, positive actions, and eventually success.

Affirmations are powerful positive statements you can use to retrain your brain and shift away from your negative self-talk. Affirmations should be concise sentences stated in a positive way and in the present tense. When creating an affirmation remember to state what it is that you want, not what you don’t want.

For example, rather than saying "I no longer eat sweets" you would want to say, "I now choose healthy foods to nourish my body." The problem with the first example is that you are still focusing your mind on the sweets. The second statement helps you stay focused on eating healthy foods.

I know that some people reject affirmations because they don't really believe the statement and so they don't think it will help. Remember that the point of affirmations is to change your negative patterns of thinking. It is like creating new grooves on a record (I suppose I am dating myself by referring to the old vinyl LP's). It is re-wiring your brain.

Of course there is part of you (maybe all of you) that doesn't believe the statement... your thoughts have been saying something else for a long time and have likely created a strong neural net – a deep groove. You need to keep saying the new statement over and over until you make a new groove - until you make that new neural pathway. And yes, sometimes old habits die hard. That negative way of thinking and believing did not occur overnight and the new positive pattern won't be created overnight.

Create your affirmations and then repeat them often. The goal is to replace the negative self-talk with new positive self-talk. It is like recruiting and strengthening a new muscle. Just as it would take time to build up strength in this new muscle and it takes time to re-pattern your thoughts.

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