I first became familiar with the notion of affirmations through Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay. Both spiritual teachers stress the importance of the role our thoughts play in both our emotional and physical wellbeing. I wrote a bit on the connection between our emotions and physical pain in this article drawing on Dyer and Hay’s teachings, but I want to focus in on the idea and use of positive affirmations in our daily lives to be happier and healthier.
The first time I really had an “aha” moment about affirmations was while watching Louise Hay’s movie, You Can Heal Your Life. A very dear friend of mine loaned me her copy and told me that it had helped her a lot during a tough time in her life and had led to some serious healing. At the time, I felt like I was in a good place in my life, but I still struggled with the occasional bouts of anxiety and stress so I decided I should heed her advice and give the dvd a go. The movie incorporates Hay’s own personal story, in which she healed some deep, serious emotional and physical pains through the power of affirmations and includes stories from various other well-known spiritual teachers, like Wayne Dyer, as well as your average, every day “normal” people like myself. I think the power of this movie lies in the fact that it includes stories from people of all walks of life using affirmations to change their thoughts and better their wellbeing. If you haven’t seen the movie- I highly recommend it! What I will subsequently write only scratches the surface of affirmations and there is a lot of information that deserves to be seen and read out there.
Affirmations, at their very basic level, are just short, positive statements to be said to yourself, usually repeatedly over periods of time. The idea is that if one repeatedly hears a short, positive statement then eventually that short, positive statement will become one’s thought; it will become one’s reality. Affirmations can be written down or said verbally out loud to oneself. They can either be in I-form, talking about yourself, or in you-form, talking to yourself. Whatever variation you choose, know that it is a powerful tool in transforming your life. Here are some examples of very simple affirmations:
I am happy and healthy.
I have all of my needs met.
You can handle anything that life has in store.
You are beautiful. (As seen in the photo above)
The photo above is an example of a written, you-form of an affirmation, and what inspired me to write this post. I am currently staying in a home that I found through airbnb in Hawaii. The very lovely woman that owns this home has affirmations all around the house- written on windows, mirrors, etc. There are about 10 affirmations around the house and I read all of them at some point in the day everyday. These affirmations have already had an effect on me in the 3 days that I have been here. Reading short, positive statements repeatedly has allowed these statements to seep deeper into my thoughts, into my consciousness, and they’ve made me a little happier each day I have been here. Just to share, my favorite one (which is a bit longer of a statement) is, “Don’t downgrade your dream to match your reality, upgrade your faith to match your destiny.”
Being surrounded by these affirmations right now has reminded me of their power and re-ignited my desire to incorporate them in my life. For a period of about 3 months 2 years ago I used affirmations to yield some pretty dramatic and positive change. I started that period of time with quite a lot of anxiety and I brought in the really simple affirmation of, “you can handle anything.” First I had it written on a post-it note on my mirror, but then I changed it to a verbal, daily morning affirmation. I would look at myself in the mirror and repeat “you can handle anything” a few times in a row. I am not exaggerating when I say that I noticed a difference in my thought processes around the anxiety I was feeling within a week. Within a month I truly felt like I could handle anything. Wayne Dyer has famously said, “change your thoughts, change your life,” and I was really able to do that through the use of affirmations.
We all have an internal dialogue in our head at all times. And, most of the time our internal dialogue has some habits, thinking similar thoughts in similar situations day in and day out. This internal dialogue in and of itself isn’t bad for our health, but the quality of that dialogue can be. If our internal dialogue is consistently negative and filled with things like fear, worry, hatred, judgement, etc. then the outward life we are living will reflect that. Affirmations are a way to create an internal dialogue that you are happy to house and that feeds your wellbeing.
Have you ever used affirmations in your health and wellness journey? Do you agree that your internal thoughts can have an impact on your external world? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.