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phoenyx's avatar

Do self-affirmations work for you? If so, what is a self-affirmation that you use?

Asked by phoenyx (7361 points ) August 10th, 2009

(By self-affirmation I mean a positive statement that you either write down or repeat to yourself)

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17 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I tell myself “way to go dummy” all the time. It’s not a positive statement but it has a positive affect. It makes me laugh when I’ve done something less than intelligent.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Here’s one which I’ve recently started telling myself (somewhat modified for the purposes of Fluther)..

“Be confident enough to realise that being wrong doesn’t make you any less than who you are. Instead, learn from it to become more than who you are”

Mozart's avatar

“Positive” thinking doesn’t work. Try a smile for once.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

And if you can’t affirm yourself, then feel free to use Fluther! See question here for reference.

Bluefreedom's avatar

“To err is human. To blame it on someone else shows management potential.”

LuckyGuy's avatar

“It’s never going to be easier. Just do it.”

filmfann's avatar

It’s a part of the poem Ulysses:

We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

cookieman's avatar

“You suck. Keep moving. Be productive today.”
every morning when I wake up

wundayatta's avatar

Affirmations don’t do a thing for me. In fact, they tend to make me feel worse. I know that you are supposed to “fake it until you make it” but I can’t get beyond the fact that I am faking it, and, in truth, lying to myself. So they end up making me feel worse. I find the best thing for me is to ignore the idea of judging myself entirely. I do it all the time, but I am learning not to pay much attention to it. It’s just noise, like those silly affirmations at the top of the fluther page.

marinelife's avatar

Affirmations do work! This research summary in the New York Times has some very interesting points:

“Optimism – at least reasonable optimism – can pay dividends as wide-ranging as health, longevity, job success and higher scores on achievement tests.

Pessimism not only has the opposite effect but also seems to be at play in such psychological disorders as extreme shyness and depression.”

I have found in my own life that affirmations are helpful. It requires diligence. I have to avoid relapsing back into negativity in times of great stress, but they do work. Of course, it took me several years to get to that point.

A couple of tips: Affirmations should be framed to avoid the word not. That is to say, instead of “I am not going to smoke.” use something like “I am going to be smoke-free today.” Apparently, the brain does not process not. That is why football coaches never tell a player, “You will not fumble,” but instead say “You will hold onto the ball.”

Also, to successfully counter hardwired negative self-talk, one must say affirmations aloud, especially at first. They sink in better.

@daloon I think you miss the point of “faking it until you make it.” It is not that the affirmations are fake, it is that your overly harsh judgment, self-hatred and criticism are lies. Having practiced them continually and well, however, that voice is very loud. Compared to it, anything positive feels fake, because you are never positive with yourself. The idea is to put at least the same diligence into positive affirmations that you do into scourging yourself.

wundayatta's avatar

@Marina And when it doesn’t work, I feel like it’s my own fault, and I don’t really want to feel better, and then I get worse. Believe me. I’ve tried it. Far better for me to take the mindfulness approach. Then I don’t get all tied up in mind games. It all becomes irrelevant.

Like your comment to me. It was well-meaning, but it brought back a rush of that self-criticism. That physical feeling of tightness in my stomach and anxiety in my stomach. [A few deep breaths] Well, that’s interesting, I guess. Shows I’m still emotionally sensitive to these things. I’ll watch the feeling and see how long it lasts. Or maybe I won’t watch, but just go on to whatever else I was doing.

marinelife's avatar

@daloon I did not intend it that way. When I wrote “you,” I meant it in the general sense of you. Sometimes one just seems awkward, you know? I think the right approach is whatever works for you. I was thinking that at the time and should have written it. Actually, I wouldn’t have commented at all except that I was afraid your post might totally discourage others from at least trying affirmations. I’m sorry my post caused you any negative reactions.

drdoombot's avatar

I do something similar, yet different from positive affirmations: I keep a little notebook on me at all times and whenever I have a negative or pessimistic thought, I write it down (it takes a couple of weeks of practice to get used to this). Once I was doing it consistently, I started to deconstruct my negative thoughts and consider how they weren’t true, or think of the opposite thought and how I would work to make it true.

For example, if your negative thought is, “Damn, I’m never going to drop these last 10 pounds,” you would analyze this thought. It’s not realistic to think that you will never lose the weight. And besides, you’ve already lost a certain amount of weight; if you continue to eat healthy and go to the gym regularly, you will eventually lose that last bit of weight. It’s worked up until now and will continue working.

At first, I used to think this was corny, but I was just down-in-the-dumps enough to try it anyway, and it really helped me dig myself out of a mental hole.

YARNLADY's avatar

Self-affirmation has worked very well for me. I made a pledge to myself a long time ago to be happy every single day for the rest of my life.

I have also been reminded from time to time on the internet, “I cannot please everyone” and “Not every one is going to like me, any more than I am going to like everyone” and the best one of all “On the internet, it’s not personal”.

Mozart's avatar

I just saw this article about how positive thinking only works if you’re already a positive person.

Oh, and I can’t believe someone hasn’t posted this yet;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vD4GkmpsuI

Blondesjon's avatar

“What the fuck do they know?”

wundayatta's avatar

@Mozart Awesome article!

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