Do you use positive affirmations on a daily basis?
I refused to try them until I was in my 30s. Well, I had a brief tryst with them in middle school when I was dealing with a lot of school-related anxiety. My mom would sit by my bed and sing the “It’s Gonna Be a Great Day” song. (An original creation)
As I grew up, I started to see a lot of personal development stuff as woo, and it took until I was 30 or so until I really started to see the benefits. What happened? I hit rock bottom.
I hope that you can see the benefits of positive affirmations long before I did. And I hope it doesn’t take you reaching the lowest point of your life before you give them a try.
In this post, I’m going to talk about the following: What are positive affirmations? What affirmations can you say daily to change your mindset? And what is toxic positivity?
This is part 7 in my series on positive thinking. I’m going to post the series wrap up on August 10, so keep your eyes peeled for that. You can read the previous installment here: 21 awesome journaling ideas for positive thinking (+ how to use the genius cancel-cancel method)
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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
What are positive affirmations?
If you are my age, you might recall old Saturday Night Live episodes with Stuart Smalley, played by Al Franken. He famously said, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me.” It seemed so corny to me as a kid. And besides seeming corny, it seemed a bit egotistical to say things like that about yourself.
If you’re so fantastic, why do you even need to say it?As a young kid, obviously, I was missing the point. The reason why many people practice positive affirmations is not because they love themselves, but so they can love themselves. Share on Twitter
According to MindTools, positive affirmations are:
“…positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. You might consider affirmations to be unrealistic ‘wishful thinking.’ But try looking at positive affirmations this way: many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our physical health, and affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook. These positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think – and act – differently.”
So, basically, they are like a workout for your mind!
When you want to run a 5k and are not a runner, what do you do? You probably do the following:
- Stretch daily
- Watch Youtube videos for inspiration
- Do strength training exercises
- And, build your endurance by practicing running
It is the same way with being more positive!
21 daily affirmations to help your mindset
Here are 21 positive affirmations you can try right now that can help you change your mindset, even in a difficult year. Before I share them with you, let me give you my best tips to make them most effective:
- Do them daily. Doing them once and then quitting will not be effective. Remember, it is like working out! It takes time to build the muscles.
- Write them down as well. Writing is a really powerful tool, and it helps reinforce the concepts in your brain.
- Set a reminder on your phone to remind you to do them. If you have mom brain like me, you will be very grateful for the reminders.
- You can tweak the language on these to make them more specific to you. Make them as meaningful as possible!
Do these positive affirmations every day
- I am worthy of the kind of love I want to have.
- I truly matter to someone.
- I contribute so much to the world just by being myself.
- I live with honesty and integrity every day.
- My feelings matter, no matter what others say.
- I am a good wife/husband/partner/friend/child etc
- I am more talented than I know.
- I love myself each and every day.
- I am safe, and have nothing to worry about.
- My body and mind are healthy and strong.
- I welcome whatever abundance the universe has to offer.
- I see all negative situations as opportunities to learn and grow.
- I embrace positive energy and let it flow through me to others.
- I choose joy over sadness today and always.
- My life is full of happiness and wonderful experiences.
- Hard times always pass and lead to something better.
- Today will bring peace and joy.
- Even when things seem hard, I can persevere.
- I will always keep fighting, no matter what life throws my way.
- Life is a gift and I plan to make the most of it.
- I am grateful for XYZ.
Print them out by clicking the link, and keep them on your night stand!
Beware of toxic positivity!
On your journey to a more positive mindset, beware of toxic positivity. Positive affirmations and other positivity practices are fantastically helpful tools, but they come with a price. Sometimes they can create an environment that I’ll affectionate call the JUST SMILE IT OFF ZONE.
Depressed? Just smile it off!
Anxious? Just smile it off!
Struggling with your self image? Just smile it off!
Toxic positivity is called that because it is positivity that invalidates people’s struggles, and does more harm than good. Below I will give some practical examples of common struggles + a toxically positive reaction + a genuinely supportive (but still positive) reaction you can offer instead.
Scenario #1: A friend’s break-up
Friend: “Jeff broke up with me last night, and my heart’s broken.”
Toxically Positive Response: “His loss. There’s plenty of other fish in the sea.” (What this says is that your friend should not feel that way because there are plenty of other options out there. It makes them feel as though their feelings are invalid.)
Supportive response: “I’m sorry. That sounds really hard. Can I do anything?”
Positive affirmations you can share (if they ask for help with mindset): “I grow stronger every day, and I can find happiness within.”
Scenario #2: A sibling’s job loss
Sibling: “I just got laid off and I don’t know what we’re gonna do about our mortgage.”
Toxically Positive Response: “Hang in there! There are plenty of jobs out there.” (Okay, but that kind of minimizes their feelings, and doesn’t actually help them with their current situation.)
Supportive response: “I bet that feels really overwhelming. Do you need me to help in any way?”
Positive affirmations you can share (if they ask for help with mindset): “I welcome the universe’s abundance, and I will be employed again soon.” (Again, don’t shove this down someone’s throat unless they ask.)
Scenario #3: A new mom’s worries about Covid
New mom: “I’m scared about bringing the baby home, because they could be exposed to Covid through a loved one.”
Toxically Positive Response: “Aww, well at least you have a cute baby to hold!” (Seriously? If you’ve said that, I’m not trying to be judgmental, but that’s very much not helpful.)
Supportive response: “I totally understand why you would be worried about that. Is there anything I can do to make your home feel safer for you?”
Positive affirmations you can share (if they ask for help with mindset): “I can stay safe and healthy, and my baby is too.”
Build your own positivity notebook
A great way to make the most out of positive affirmations and flex your mindset muscles is to create a positivity notebook! Think of it like a scrapbook, but instead of memories, it’s for your emotions. Here’s what you need. Click any of the images to order one or use the link to find something similar.
I recommend one with thick pages, that way you can use pretty colored felt tip pens and they won’t bleed through.
I am a major fan of using colors that speak to you or inspire you! My favorite color is orange because it makes me feel happy, and eating tangerines with my grandpa was one of my favorite childhood memories. Write down positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, or mindset goals you currently have.
Tape or glue stick
You can also print out inspiring images from online and tape them in. I personally am not very artistic, so this is more my speed than doodling something cute!
What to do
Keep it on your desk or night stand, and every time you practice positive affirmations, write one or two of them down. Treat it like your scrapbook for your mental health. Fill it with as much positivity as possible, and look at it whenever you’re having a hard day. If you feel comfortable, you can even share it with a friend who is having a hard time.
Positive affirmations are not woo- they’re science!
Not all mental health professionals or researchers will agree with this method. Many people think it’s the equivalent of putting on a bandaid.
But there are a lot of experts that say that positive affirmations do in fact work! They just don’t work right away, and they might not work in the way that you expect. Personally, I don’t think they cause too much damage. If anything, just the action of attempting to give yourself a little self love is a great thing. It tells your brain that this is a thing you should be doing, and is a hint that your brain should pick up where you left off.
Do you practice positive affirmations? If so, share them with me in the comments! Also, please share the post if you found it helpful. You can use the Pinterest image above, or the social media icons at the top of the page. Thanks so much!