Positive affirmations, like “I am worthy”, can help you cope with unhelpful thoughts. But they can be more effective when paired with other techniques.

Positive affirmations are a self-help method to build self-confidence and attract good things to your life.

They are simple statements that shift your mindset from negativity and self-criticism to positivity and focusing on your strengths. These statements can encourage and motivate you to develop skills, learn new things, and live a healthier life.

They can also help you overcome self-doubt, fear, and self-sabotage and help you see the positive side of life.

But do affirmations work? They can, but they won’t make things magically occur. It involves shifting your mindset and working to achieve goals.

Positive affirmations are statements you repeat to challenge negative thinking or unhelpful, intrusive thoughts. These phrases build you up and and help you reconnect with other positive qualities while offering encouragement and motivation.

Affirmations can help you focus on and improve personal values. They help overcome negative self-talk to help you focus on making the most of your life.

Affirmations to try

Speaking kindly and positively to yourself can make a difference in your life. Some examples of affirmations include the following:

  • I am strong enough to get through this hardship.
  • I have the skills and abilities to handle this difficult situation.
  • I am accepting my uncomfortable feelings.
  • I believe in myself and can achieve my goals.
  • I am confident and ready to start the day.
  • I am learning more every day, viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth.
  • I trust myself and follow my instincts.
  • I am becoming a better version of myself each day.
  • I choose positivity, even when negative thoughts try to creep in.
  • I deserve love and respect.
  • I am valuable and contribute to the world around me.
  • I am powerful and capable of success.
  • I have everything I need right now.
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According to 2016 research, positive affirmations activate your brain’s reward system and influence how you experience emotional pain.

When the reward system gets triggered, it alleviates some of the stress you might have felt otherwise. They can also help with self-improvement and overcoming hardship.

Affirmations are also effective for replacing negative or anxious thoughts with positivity, which can help you relax and calm your body. Then, you can avoid self-sabotaging behaviors that disrupt your chance of success and happiness.

Your brain can’t always tell the difference between reality and imagination. Regularly repeating affirming statements leads to convincing your brain that the visions are fact, leading to you believing you can do it.

A 2018 study indicates that affirming yourself can help you cope with uncertainty and improve your self-worth.

These positive thoughts can lead to action and success, showing they can work. Positive affirmations are more effective when they’re future-oriented rather than thinking about the past.

Positive affirmations won’t work if you don’t act and put in your best effort. These phrases boost motivation and self-esteem, but you must be the one to follow through. They also might not help if you’re experiencing mental health concerns or unhealed trauma.

Repeating affirmations is helpful, but there are ways to make them more effective. When you choose phrases, consider what will help you most in your life right now. Then, you can set a plan and follow it through, continuing to use affirmations for motivation.

Consider reciting the affirmations of your choice daily to create a habit. Try to focus on self-compassion and positive self-talk.

You may not notice an immediate difference, but try to be patient during this point in your journey. It sometimes takes a little time before the phrases make a difference in your life.

Incorporate mindfulness in your practice

Reciting positive affirmations out loud or writing them in a journal can be helpful. But it’s important to remember that words are powerful, and practicing affirmations may cause uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to arise.

Consider taking deep breaths before practicing your daily affirmations. Then try to observe how those phrases affect you, emotionally and physically, after your practice. It may help to breathe deeply and observe how you feel without judgment.

If you experience uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, it’s OK to end your practice. Try to implement other mindful techniques that may help you cope and develop a sense of safety, such as grounding exercises.

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If positive affirmations don’t work, you can consider the following alternatives:

  • Talking with a therapist: If affirmations don’t help you, a therapist can help you start the healing process and find positivity. A therapist can help you identify the underlying cause of your negative mindset and learn helpful coping strategies.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle: Getting enough exercise and choosing a healthy diet can improve your mood and reduce stress, encouraging positive self-talk.
  • Spending time with positive people: The people you surround yourself with can contribute to your mindset. Choosing positive, supportive people can help you experience more positive thoughts and find motivation.
  • Evaluating areas to change: Having optimistic thoughts and finding motivation can help you improve areas of your life that trigger negativity. Consider starting with one area of your life at a time to embrace the benefits fully.
  • Finding things to laugh or smile about: Humor and smiling can ease stress and help you focus on the good parts of your life. It can help inspire and motivate you toward your goals and encourage you to feel good about yourself.
  • Express gratitude: Practicing gratitude is one of the best things you can do to shift to a positive mindset. It can also help you maintain helpful self-talk and push away negativity.
  • Celebrate the good moments: The good moments pass quickly, and you sometimes don’t get to celebrate the event. If you notice that this happens, you could try to savor every moment and appreciate small pleasures.

Practicing affirmations daily can help you cope with hardship and overcome adversity while helping you maintain a holistic view of yourself, both the areas in need of improvement and your strengths and resilience. Positive affirmations can also help:

  • improve your mindset
  • motivate you to achieve your goals
  • promote positive self-talk as you navigate life’s challenges

But, they’re not magic phrases, so they’ll only work if you put in the effort.

It’s OK if they don’t work for you, but if they do, it could be a helpful step toward self-improvement.