The Power of Self-Affirmation

THE POWER OF SELF-AFFIRMATION

People often ask whether affirmations really work. Some question whether it’s just woo-woo and not scientific. There have been numerous studies dating back to at least the 1920s demonstrating the efficacy thinking more positively in general and specifically self-affirmation.

Consistently, research has shown, to one extent or another, that our thoughts have a significant impact on the way we feel, our experience of life, and our personal outcomes.

One famous version of this phenomenon is the placebo effect. It’s the first hurdle any new drug in development must overcome. While the industry likes to keep this under wraps, about 22 percent of patients with a demonstrated condition are healed of that condition simply on the belief that the medicine they’re taking is going to heal them.

In recent decades, this percentage has been rising. Any nee drug most show efficacy beyond the placebo hurdle to be considered efficacious.

“Think positive” has become something of a mantra in our society to the point that some are annoyed by its vagueness and seeming ineffectiveness in the face of struggle.

I understand the frustration. It’s like extolling someone to eat healthier without giving them healthier recipes.

Affirmations are an effective methodology for delivering targeted positive thinking into your brain through the power of repetition and belief.

While rote learning can be boring, there’s a reason little kids practice their math tables over and over. Repetition has been known for thousands of years to be an effective means of memorably placing information in the human brain.

When you combine belief (the placebo effect) with the power of rote repetition, it becomes easy to see why self-affirmation works.

I am, I can, I make, I choose and other such phrases common in affirmations are among the most powerful words in our language. Put them to use in the pursuit of your goals, your dreams, your health, pretty much anything you want to improve in your life.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

Affirmations: Repetition and Belief Part II – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday August 5, 2008

In the previous post, I discussed the importance of repetition with affirmations in changing thoughts at the subconscious level. Over time, this repetition helps change the subconscious environment and that lays the groundwork for the belief that is necessary for affirmations to succeed. Today I am discussing belief.

Let me qualify what I mean by belief. Belief is not the fervor with which you say affirmations or listen to them. It’s not about “believing in the affirmations”.

When I talk about belief and affirmations I am talking about the belief in the accomplishment, goal, or dream you are pursuing. I am talking about a commitment and a plan of action to coincide with the use of the affirmations. The belief, the willingness to believe, or at least the desire to “go for it” must already be present in you.

This is going to shake some people up. Affirmations are not tools of persuasion. Let me say that again. Affirmations are not tools of persuasion.

The common thinking about affirmations is that if you hammer a phrase into your mind long enough and hard enough, that process will magically make you believe it. There is a grain of truth in this idea as it relates to the repetition side of the house, but if belief is lacking, the affirmations cannot succeed.

There are many people – including many coaches and mental health professionals with M.A. and PhD after their names – who mistakenly think affirmations are tools of persuasion. Often these professionals evaluate affirmations harshly because they fail to produce the desired results. These criticisms usually center on the issue of cognitive dissonance – the natural resistance in our minds to statements that we don’t believe to be true.

The argument follows this line of reasoning.

Patient A had self-esteem issues. We tried affirmations as a way of correcting the self-esteem. However, the affirmations failed because patient A was not able to make the leap from the current state to the desired state represented by the affirmations. Therefore, affirmations don’t work because they place unrealistic demands on the patient’s ability to believe in the outcome.

Precisely. Affirmations are not tools of persuasion. They do not create belief. They magnify and expand belief or desire to align thinking with actions in a person determined to achieve a goal. That belief/determination/desire foundation must be created, when necessary, by counseling, coaching, or other means. Saying or listening to affirmations without this belief component – without commitment to achieving something – is nothing more than wishful thinking.

You are always going to encounter cognitive dissonance when using affirmations – especially in extreme cases where the desired change is great – if the patient or client is not properly prepared. If the person has not committed to the change, agreed that the change is something he or she is willing to attempt, affirmations will not help. When someone is not committed to achieving a goal, affirmations are literally empty words.

I’ve seen parents use affirmations with their kids in sports and other activities. They give affirmations to the kid to improve performance. Affirmations can absolutely help improve performance, if the child wants to improve.

Affirmations can help the child become a better baseball player, but they cannot help the child want to be a baseball player in the first place. The desire to be a baseball player and to improve must be present before affirmations can change the situation.

For affirmations to be successful, there must be a determination on the part of the person using the affirmations to push toward the goal. Then, and only then, can the change in thoughts created by affirmations help create the mental environment that allows the action plan to have the best chance for success.

So what is the net net of this article? Belief, commitment, desire, or all of them must be present for affirmations to succeed. Affirmations do not get you to the goal in a vacuum. They create the positive thought environment that prepares you for success, causes you to expect it, and helps you stay focused and motivated when obstacles arise.

When you have your thoughts and your actions moving positively in the same direction you are a force to be reckoned with. Affirmations – through repetition and belief – will empower your thoughts to support your powerful action in the world.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.  He’s the author of the breakthrough novel Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

Affirmations: Repetition and Belief Part I – The Affirmation Spot for Friday August 1, 2008

Everyone familiar with affirmations knows that repetition and belief are the two keys to success with them. The reason is that each addresses a separate part of the thought change process. Today, I am going to tackle repetition and I will discuss belief in my next article.

The reason for repetition with affirmations seems obvious. The more you think or speak or hear a thought, the more it sinks into your consciousness. That makes sense.

The repetition aspect of using affirmations is not targeted at your conscious mind. In fact, your conscious mind can be an obstacle to repeating affirmations often enough. After you use an affirmation a few times, your conscious mind is probably self-talking, “OK already, I get it. You can stop.”

Affirmation repetition is targeted to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is harder to change than your conscious thoughts. It has a longer memory and clings to concepts more tenaciously. Your subconscious mind works by association. For most people, many of these associations developed in childhood when adult reasoning was not possible.

Whereas your conscious mind analyzes a tiger at the zoo – it’s beautiful, big, a cat, interesting; your subconscious mind tends to do immediate association tiger=scary. That’s why your conscious reaction to something is sometimes overridden by unconscious feelings, emotions, and thoughts that “rise from the depths.”

You cannot just affirm, “I am a smart person,” or “I am a great baseball player,” or “I am healthier every day,” ten times and expect it to really impact your subconscious. That is insufficient to counter long-held and often repeated opposing beliefs about these things.

While your conscious mind may be chiding you the 100th or the 1000th time you use an affirmation, it is just starting to sink into your subconscious. Repetition is the best way to allow subconscious absorption of new, simple ideas. That’s all affirmations are: simple, positive thoughts and ideas designed to replace limiting thoughts and ideas holding you back in life.

In education circles, they call it rote learning. Rote is the way you learned that 8 x 7 = 56. The first few times you did that problem you may have had to write tick marks on paper and count them or count on your fingers. Eventually, through repetition, you learned to immediately recognize 8 x 7 as 56 without thinking.

That’s the goal with affirmations. The difference is that you had no subsconscious notions that told you 8 x 7 was not 56. You accepted it as the truth and you incorporated it. With thoughts and ideas, you are battling against these notions. You’re subconscious might have learned at some point that 8 x 7 = 46 or worse that 8 x 7 absolutely under no circumstances equals 56.

These thoughts might be that, “When I try I always fail,” or “There is no way I can be a success. My parents weren’t successes. No one I know is a success.”

When you approach an opportunity for success these subconscious beliefs either hold you back or sabotage you somehow to reconfirm your belief in the old vision of you. That’s why changing those ideas is so important because that process works in reverse – in your favor – when your beliefs are affirming.

You cannot dislodge these ideas by saying or listening to an affirmation a few times. In fact, that’s why most people fail with affirmations. They stop using them thinking they are not working. You have to soak the ground with the new ideas so their seeds can germinate and grow.

“OK,” you’re thinking, “I get the concept, but if these thoughts are subconscious how can I know the affirmations are making a difference?”Great question. There are a couple of ways you’ll notice the change.

  • Perceptible improvement – you may notice some perceptible improvement in your perception or performance around the subject of the affirmation or affirmations.
  • Lightening mood – you may find your general mood lighten or that you feel better or more confident.
  • Negative self-talk overridden – best of all, you will start noticing your negative self-talk being interrupted and countered by the new positive thoughts on a conscious level. When the subconscious serves up, “You can’t do that,” your self-talk corrects, “Yes, I can.”

How long and how much repetition varies from person to person and situation to situation. Belief, which I will discuss in the next article, accounts for a lot the results we see from the repetition in the real world.

There are two ways for affirmations to access and change your subconscious ideas:

  1. Intentionally -the intentional approach involves consciously saying the affirmation, reading it, or listening to it with the goal of letting it soak in. The main disadvantage to this approach is the conscious mind’s negative self talk blocking full impact.
  2. Passively – passively absorbing affirmations is best accomplished by listening to them. By listening to them over and over while your conscious mind is doing something else, you bypass a lot of the negative self-talk that might deflate the effort.

After repetition, you’ll experience that same feeling you do when you have unconsciously learned the lyrics of a song or the words to a commercial. You’ll find your affirmation “appearing” in your mind and doing their work against against your limiting thoughts.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.  He’s the author of the breakthrough novel Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!