Affirmations: Do they really work?

Our mind is fascinating. It has its own rhythm, unique patterns and tendencies, we're not aware of so many things that spontaneously happen inside it. Waves of thoughts flow through our mind and it’s unfortunate that, according to studies, most of the time our thoughts are negative. But what if we told you there is a simple trick to turn this negative self-talk around? Well, there is and it’s affirmations.


Affirmations: What are they?

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. This repetition can change your habits, behaviour and point of view. As you may know, words and thoughts have power. When you repeat them often by saying them out loud or thinking them, they become the thoughts that shape your reality. Positive thoughts and beliefs have the power to overcome negative self-talk. They sort of rewire your brain.


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. By making these positive declarations part of your daily routine, you are helping your mind to prioritise positivity over negativity.


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.  A research of The National Science Foundation proved that 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, and improve your chances of a 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.


Affirmations enable us to write our own story, helping us to reach our goals that bit easier because our mind will be working with us, not against us. It's like being your very own cheerleader. And your affirmations don’t have to be unattainable, instead they can be things like I am a good mother; I am a strong, independent woman; I am happy.

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.
  • 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.
  • Support better cardiovascular health
    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, there are two ground rules that you should to 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!


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.

Anouk Ballering

Anouk Ballering

Anouk Ballering is a storyteller at heart with 5 years of experience in PR. By creating stories and activations that are relatable and relevant she has revealed the soul of luxurious lifestyle brands including the W Hotel, VICE, de Bijenkorf and Timberland. When she is not doing HIIT or Rocycle, you can find her on a yoga mat. She is passionate about yoga and living mindfully, because she believes that we all need some well-deserved balance in our lives to be the best version of ourselves.