Using Affirmations Harnessing Positive Thinking
"I'm never going to be able to do this job; I'm just not smart enough."
"Why does my boss want me to present at the trade show? I'm a terrible public speaker, and I'll just embarrass the company."
"I wish I could stick up for myself at work; in every meeting, I let the others walk over my ideas. I'm never going to get ahead."
Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes on a regular basis. When we have these thoughts, our confidence, mood and outlook become negative too.
The problem with these negative thoughts is that they can be self-fulfilling. Inside our heads, we talk ourselves into believing that we're not good enough. And, because of this, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers. This is why consciously doing the opposite – using positive affirmations – can be helpful. In this article, we'll explore how you can use affirmations to drive positive change, both in your career, and in your life in general.
Why Use Affirmations?
Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you're affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.
While there's limited research into the effectiveness of using affirmations in a general setting, there is evidence that the use of positive affirmations can successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.
For instance, in a study by researchers at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, people who used positive affirmations for two weeks experienced higher self esteem than at the beginning of the study.
Also, in a study published in the Journal of American College Health, researchers found that women treated with cognitive behavioral techniques, which included use of positive affirmations, experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and negative thinking. A study by researchers at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, had similar results, and came to a similar conclusion.
Of course, it's important to realize that although some people have successfully used affirmations to overcome depression and negative thinking, the technique may not work for everyone. Some people may view affirmations as "wishful thinking," or simply looking at the world with an unrealistic perspective. Quite a lot can depend on your mindset.
So try looking at positive affirmations this way – many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body's physical health and condition. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook; these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way.