"Choose what you will, then let your imagination bring it to you."
Emile Coue (1857-1926)

Mind is complicated. We may hold conflicting ideas and beliefs, our desires may not be compatible with our values, and feelings may arise that we don’t well understand. If we drift through life letting our mixed up thoughts take us wherever they take us, we may be like a person rowing a boat for the first time. A lot of energy may be expended without much clear direction or progress. Affirmations are a tool for setting mental direction and generating momentum in the mind.

Affirmations are positive statements that validate a fact or belief. They affirm, “This is so.” They influence our awareness and behavior. They may describe a condition that we would like to exist, or perhaps a condition that exists in our heart, but that we have yet to accept with our whole being. They help set our minds to creating that condition—to recognizing the fulfillment of our heart’s desire. They help us to align our energies to those ends. Affirmation work helps our conscious mind to instruct your unconscious mind and get it working for our best interests. Affirmations let us consciously set the agenda for our lives.

Affirmations can be used like mantras. A frequently repeated phrase directs our mind on a course of our choosing, and it takes up mental bandwidth. We can only hold a limited amount of content in your conscious mind at a time. A mantra or an affirmation takes up space and crowds out less desirable thoughts, such as worry and negative self-talk. Since those negative thoughts are unhelpful, we serve ourselves better by choosing thoughts that calm us and move us toward our goals.

While affirmations may arouse skepticism at first, they are proven to be effective. The technique is taught by medical and mental health professionals, and patients report that they work. Some people may think they are silly. Al Franken made fun of them with his Stewart Smalley character, who would always say “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!” It all seemed so trite and dopey, but you should have seen Stewart before he learned to affirm himself. Don’t let your fears of seeming silly stop you from using a tool that can be extremely helpful.

Guidelines for using affirmations:
Frequently, affirmations start with an “I” statement. I am confident. I am fit and enjoy exercising. Make them personal, so they are more powerful for you.

State your affirmation in the present tense, as if the condition you desire already exists. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know that it doesn’t exist, so it starts to respond as if the condition you desire were already the case.

Affirmations should be positive. Avoid the use of negative words like “no,” “not,” and “never.” It is said that the subconscious mind doesn’t read negatives well, so if you affirm, “I won’t eat too much,” your brain may hear “I eat too much.” That would be bad.

Repetition is essential for affirmations to be effective. Say the affirmation to yourself repeatedly, either silently or aloud. Write it repeatedly. Try writing it with the hand you usually don’t use for writing. Say your affirmation into a recording device and play it back often. Play it as you are falling asleep.  The more often you repeat the affirmation, the more likely it is that your mind will accept the idea as truth and begin to behave accordingly. Be persistent.

Put some emotion into it. The more you align your feelings and the thought, the more powerful the exercise will be.

Visualize the result. Use words and imagery together with feeling to bring more of your brain into the creative process.

Your affirmation may affirm something that does not exist at this moment, but the goal should be conceivable. If what you affirm is too far out of your frame of reference, your mind may resist it. On the other hand, don't be afraid to stretch.

Once you have focused your thought, take action.

Sample affirmations:
I love myself unconditionally.
I share my love with those around me.
I am easily able to relax.
I live in perfect health.
I accept my personal power.
I use my power for good.
I am more powerful than my impulsive desires.
I think before I act, and I choose wisely.
I am my perfect weight.
I enjoy exercise and the health it brings.
I meditate every day.
My life works.
Good things come to me.
My heart overflows with love.
My mind is calm.
I act out of my wisdom
I am a person of character.
My behavior reflects my good character.
I enjoy every day of this valuable life.
I live in abundance.
Prosperity is my birthright.
The energy of the universe flows through me to create perfect health, balanced action and beneficial results.
I am drawn to healthful habits, and harmful habits no longer attract me.
I choose health.
I choose wisdom.
I choose love.

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© 2002 Tom Barrett