Affirmations: Do they really work?

Unlock the science behind affirmations and find out how to use them to stay positive and healthy


Affirmations, for those who don’t know, are short positive sentences that you repeat to yourself throughout the day with the goal to manifest change and self-love. We know it may seem cringe-inducing saying things like ‘I choose to be happy’ out loud to your reflection in a mirror, but these sorts of affirmations really do help to boost those good vibes. Magic? No. We took a deep dive into the science behind affirmations, the guidelines and the health benefits. Below, find out all about the power of short, motivating sentences that will help you to go the extra mile in realising your goals. 


Affirmations: What are they?

The word affirm means to state that “something is true and positive”. So, an affirmation is firmly declaring a positive thought and assertively stating it as a truth.It is a short sentence that motivates, inspires and encourages you to take action and to realise your goals. To get the most out of your affirmation, you repeat it often in order to imprint it on your subconscious mind and alter negative thoughts. Repeating positive thoughts and phrases gives them power, as hearing it often will help you believe it – thus shaping your reality and sort of rewiring your brain.


Affirmations: How do they work?

Practicing positive affirmations can be extremely simple, and all you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself.  According to The National Science Foundation, around 80% of the 50,000 subconscious thoughts we all experience in a day are negative ones.  In order to turn this around, and to make sure you don’t drown in negative thoughts, affirmations are your new best friends.


According to researchers, affirmations can help you to perform better at work. Spending just a few minutes thinking about your best qualities before a high-pressure meeting – a performance review, for example – can calm your nerves, increase your confidence in your ability to achieve the desired, successful outcome. Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. In one study, a short affirmation exercise boosted the problem-solving abilities of "chronically stressed" subjects to the same level as those with low stress. It works because when you repeatedly say something to yourself, it becomes your truth. And that’s exactly what you’re striving for.


The benefits of affirmations

Repeating a positive affirmation daily will:


  • Increase happiness
    Affirmations allow you to acknowledge the things that prevent your happiness, which in turn, allows you to surround yourself with the things that you want in your life.
  • Keep the small things in perspective
    We often take for granted the small things. Using positive affirmations allow you to remember how important the small things are. For example, if you're healthy you may not even think about it, but by using "I am healthy" as an affirmation, you are able to focus on and appreciate it.
  • Boost self-esteem 
    Positive affirmations can boost your (positive) opinion of yourself and build confidence in your own self and your ability to reach certain goals.  
  • Reduce negative thoughts
    Since many of our thoughts (yep, around 80%) are subconscious, positive affirmations allow us to become more aware of our thought patterns and feelings. This reduces the risk of allowing negative thought patterns to take form.
  • Improve your mood
    Positive affirmations keep in you a positive mood. A recent study shows that optimism reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.


Affirmations: How to use them

Although anyone can start practicing affirmations straight away, here are some things you should keep in mind:


  • Devote specific times during the day for repeating them. A good time for you can be early in the morning, or right before you go to bed. It’s a personal quest, so try some different moments to see when works best for you.
  • Very important: use the present tense, because you want results now, not in the future!
  • It’s okay to let anxious thoughts in, just turn them on their head and make it a positive thought on how you can be you and do your thing in spite of them! 
  • By making these positive declarations part of your daily routine, you are helping your mind to prioritise positivity over negativity. 


There are no hard and fast rules about the frequency. But according to psychotherapist Ronald Alexander of the Open Mind Training Institute, affirmations can be repeated up to three to five times daily to reinforce the positive belief. Are you a writer? Good for you! Writing your affirmations down in a journal and practicing them in the mirror is a good method for making them more powerful and effective. 


Affirmations to try

If you want to give affirmations a try after reading this article, we made a list of the most popular ones to get you started.


Nobody but me decides how I feel
I believe in myself, and trust my own wisdom
I am in charge of my thoughts, and I don’t judge myself
I am a successful person
I am confident and capable at what I do
I choose to be happy
I’m gifted with and surrounded by amazing friends and family
I am resilient, strong, and brave, and I can’t be destroyed
When I lie down to sleep, everything is as it should be, and I rest content
I accept and love myself, thoroughly and completely


We hope that you experience more control over the negative thoughts you have, and you’ll evoke feelings of true happiness.

Laura Wabeke

Laura Wabeke

Translator, editor and copywriter Laura Wabeke is fascinated with words and the many innovative ways you can use them to express yourself. After nine years as a freelancer – hopping from the travel industry to media agencies, advertising and book editing – this in- house copywriter is now fluent in yoga, meditation, mindfulness and embracing the brand’s philosophy of finding beauty and happiness in the smallest of things.