Make Affirmations Work for You

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by Ronald Alexander Affirmations have helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives. But they don’t always work for everyone. Why can one person have great success using this tool while another sees no results at all?

An affirmation works because it has the ability to program your mind to believe the stated concept. The unconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between what is real and what is fantasy. When you watch a movie and you laugh or cry, your mind is empathizing with the characters on the screen even though it is only Hollywood magic.

There are both positive and negative types of affirmations. Many of us can remember as a child being told by a teacher, parent or coach that we didn’t have the ability to do something or that we were fat or clumsy. These unwholesome statements can stay with us in the conscious or unconscious mind and are then reinforced throughout our lives.

If an unwholesome belief is deeply rooted in our unconscious mind, it has the ability to override a positive affirmation even if we aren’t aware of it. This is why affirmations don’t seem to work for many people. Afflicted thought patterns are so strong that they knock out the effect of the positive statement. So how can we add more muscle to an affirmation so that it has the power to triumph over negative thinking? Here are some suggestions to make affirmations work for you.

5 Steps to Make Affirmations More Effective and Powerful

Step 1: Make a list of what you think are your negative qualities. Include any criticisms others have made of you that you’ve held onto; perhaps something from your childhood or maybe what your boss told you in your last annual review. Don’t judge the accuracy of the qualities, and remember, we all have flaws. When you write out the recurring belief associated with the criticisms notice if you are holding it anywhere in your body. For example, do you feel tightness or dread in your heart or stomach? In my book, Wise Mind, Open Mind, I discuss in detail how to let go of negative self-judgments. For now, ask yourself if this unwholesome concept is helpful or productive in your life and if not, what belief would be better.

Step 2: Now write out an affirmation on the positive aspect of your self-judgment. You may want to use a thesaurus to find more powerful words to beef up your statement. For example, instead of saying, “I’m worthy,” you could say, “I’m remarkable and cherished.” After you have written your affirmation ask a close friend to read it to see if she has any suggestions to make it stronger.

Step 3: Speak the affirmation out loud for five minutes three times a day: morning, mid-day and evening. Another option that helps to reinforce the new belief and would be easy to do at work is to write out the affirmation several times in a notebook. Notice as you write it if your style of writing changes over time. This could be a clue as to how your mind perceives the new concept.

Step 4: Anchor the affirmation in your body as you repeat it by placing your hand on the area that felt uncomfortable when you wrote out the negative belief in step one. “Breathe” into the affirmation while you say or write it. You move from the concept of the affirmation to a real, positive embodiment of the quality you seek as you reprogram your mind.

Step 5: Get a friend or coach to repeat your affirmation to you. As he says, for example, “You are remarkable and cherished,” identify this statement as a ‘good mothering’ or ‘good fathering’ message. If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable asking, you can use your reflection in the mirror to reinforce the healthy message.

Affirmations can be powerful tools to help you change your mood, state of mind, and manifest the change you desire in your life. But they work best if you can first identify the unwholesome belief that opposes them. Try it and see how your life can improve!

Ronald Alexander, PhD, is a leadership consultant, psychotherapist, international trainer, and the Executive Director of the OpenMind Training Institute, a leading edge organization offering training programs in mind-body therapies, transformational leadership, and mindfulness. He is the author of the widely acclaimed book Wise Mind, Open Mind upon which this article is based. www.RonaldAlexander.com

November/December 2011

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Make Affirmations Work for You
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #2 Happiness
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #3 Inspiration
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #4 Life
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #5 Your Heart’s Song
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #6 Radical Self Care
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #7 Freedom
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #8 Self Love
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #9 Self
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #10 Encouragement
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #11 Gratitude
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The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #12 Peace
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