How do affirmations work?

Some breathing exercises make use of affirmations. Affirmations are positive reminders or statements that help you overcome self-sabotaging thoughts and promote self-esteem.

They work because our brains sometimes confuse reality with imagination. If you have ever tried smiling when you are down and actually started feeling better, you know this. Our brains tend to believe us. Tell yourself that you are safe, powerful, capable, successful, loveable, and your brain believes it. Tell yourself the opposite, and it believes that, too. As the famous Henry Ford quote goes: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Affirmations help to free you from fear, worry and anxiety. They help rewire your brain for positive thinking, which may ultimately help change your life. Some of the most popular affirmations are: “I am whole”, “I am enough”, “I am love”, “I let go of all that no longer serves me”, “I trust that I am on the right path”.

Affirmations need to be worded positively. “I won’t give up” is not an affirmation, “I persevere” is. Also, they need to be in the present tense, and it is much better if they express hard facts. So, instead of “I will be calm”, try saying “I am calm”.

For an affirmation to work, it needs to come from the mind and from the heart. You need to believe the truth of an affirmation in your heart, without any doubt.    

You can use affirmations in every area of your life, from relationships to career, from health to personal development. It is best to practice affirmations regularly along with daily breathing exercises.

Of course, affirmations may not work for everyone, and they may not work all the time. And in extreme cases of self-sabotaging thoughts and crippling negativity, it is best to seek medical treatment.