Do Positive Affirmations Work?

Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be.

– Henry David Thoreau

Wow yesterday was a crappy day. The weather was great, I got out for a walk/run. I posted what I considered to be a pretty good blog post, Tyler was here and we had some laughs.

But for some reason I was very anxious and nervous. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the reality of moving to a new apartment in a couple of weeks. Moving sucks. But is does give us a chance to declutter and purge some of our stuff that we may no longer need.

The other part of my anxiety is my “job”. I work for a local Michelin tire factory. Production work. It is what I would describe as a soul crushing job. Which is unfortunate. The pay is above average for the local area. Plus benefits and a pension.

I am training to operate a new post. And it is hard. The machinery is decades old and very complex. And I am finding it hard to grasp it all.

So yesterday was a struggle on a lot of fronts.

But today is a new day. Feeling less anxious. I have a 12 hour shift in a few hours and I might as well look forward to it. It is a learning opportunity.

And what about positive affirmations? Can they work? Can they help me in being more positive throughout the day and with life in general.

Affirmations or self-affirmations work provided you do not consider them magic pills. The sub-conscious cannot make the difference between what is real and what is not, it is the reason why hypnosis works, or self-affirmations for that matter.

It is why a hypnotist will tell someone while they are “under” that they are being burned with a cigarette, and everyone can see he is touching the subject’s skin with his finger, yet the skin reacts as if it had actually been burned. That is how powerful the sub subconscious is.

So the first major ingredient to self-affirmations that work is understanding how the sub conscious operates.

The second major ingredient for self-affirmations to work is belief. If a subject does not actually believe the self-affirmation, the sub conscious will react accordingly: with non belief.

The third major ingredient for self-affirmations to work is specificity. If a self-affirmation is too general, it has no effect. A good example of that is in your question. “I am the best at everything I do” is too vague.

What does it mean to be “the best”? There is no reference to anything here, so it cannot work.

A self-affirmation like: “I am the best knife thrower in the world” is also not specific enough.

On the other hand, if you state: “When I throw a knife, it always reaches the mark I choose exactly the way I intend it” has more chance of working. Provided you make your intent clear before you throw the knife and you allow yourself a decent amount of practice, the self-affirmation will work in your favor. After a while, you will not miss your mark very often.

This has a relation to self confidence building. In this case, self-affirmations can be great helpers. In order for your self confidence building self-affirmations to actually work, they will need to make an ally of the sub conscious, they will need to be very specific, and you will have to believe the self-affirmations are absolutely true.

So if I think I have a soul crushing job, then of course I do have exactly that. What you believe is your truth. Your reality.

List of Affirmations

  • I love myself
  • Every day I am a better person
  • I have value
  • I will accomplish amazing things today

Today is an amazing day.

Please share this and feel free to comment. Thanks.

“Live Simply”


4 thoughts on “Do Affirmations Really Work?

  1. On discouraging days, it helps me to remember this quote I read years ago by one of my church leaders, Elder Neal Maxwell. “You must not mistake passing local cloud cover for general darkness.”

    As you experienced … a nights rest can put a new perspective on things. I get overwhelmed quite often, but I try hard to life in daytight compartments and not focus on the big picture so much. Take one day at a time.

    I love your affirmations!

  2. Nice post and I agree 100%. I use this technique often as it relates to my PM job but the key for me, and as you say, is to be as specific as possible. “When I get in front of the team today I will be clear, concise and confident in my message because I do know what I am talking about and what i have to say will add value”.

    I don;t comment often but I read your posts often and appreciate them – thanks!

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