By: Ana Mepham
I often say to my clients, “be gentle on yourself” or “be mindful of how you speak to yourself.” Each time I say this I find they nod in agreement or laugh a little as we are all guilty of being self critical. Affirmations are something I introduce, I think we all know what they are but we don’t tend to practice them enough. Also how do they work?
Neuroplasticity, or your brains ability to change and adapt to different circumstances throughout your life, offers a clue to help understand not only what makes affirmations work, but how to make them more effective. I have written a blog about grounding and also a little on the Amygdala, that very interesting part of the brain that's primary role is processing of memory, decision making and emotional responses. In that I explain how we can get ourselves into a tizzy by thinking something which may or may not happen yet allowing ourselves to respond as if it were happening. Its amazing how switching up our dialog in our minds can benefit out bodies and in turn help us to become more optimistic and positive.
Your brain sometimes gets a little mixed up on the difference between reality and imagination, which in many of ways can be somewhat helpful. Creating a mental image of yourself doing something - like learning your work and finally becoming self employed in something you have contemplated for years on doing. Or conquering your fear of heights and sky diving out a plane, activates many of the same brain areas that actually experiencing these situation would.
Regular repetition of affirming statements about yourself can encourage your brain to take the positive affirmations as fact. When you truly believe you can do something your actions often follow. For example replacing a negative or anxious thought, like;
“I shouldn’t leave my job, I am unable to work for myself. I cant commit and I don’t have the skills and I am scared of going out on my own.”
With a positive affirmation;
“I am well able to work for myself! I can do all of this as I have years of experience, I will learn and gain more experience everyday.”
Using affirmations may help you feel more relaxed before taking on something that makes you nervous or anxious. Knowing you are fully prepared can help avoid self sabotaging thoughts or behaviors potentially interfering with your success. Remember action is key. Repeating a affirmation can help boost your motivation and confidence, but you still have to take some action yourself. Try thinking of affirmations as a step forward toward change, not the change itself.
Change up the dialog you have towards yourself in your head and tell yourself you are capable, you are able and you will succeed, no matter what. Instead of putting yourself down and and speaking negatively towards yourself. Practice this in your day to day life, be kinder to yourself.
Solace Holistic Centre
10 Sand Quay Mill
Tel: 087 9510554 // 023 8859701
Located in the Old Grainstore on Clarke Street.
In between the Clona Factory and Fiddlers.