How Affirmations Can Make You Happy – Here’s the Truth
Does anyone remember Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live in the 1990s? He was a hysterical self-help guru who would teach people how to say positive affirmations to themselves in the mirror. If you’ve never seen him, you’ve got to YouTube it now—he’s so funny!
Another example of how affirmations are sometimes made to look ridiculous comes from a Seinfeld episode. In it, Frank Costanza teaches Kramer how to use affirmations to relax. Picture Kramer sitting in a rocking chair on his makeshift old town porch, his brain fried, futilely chanting,
“Serenity now, serenity now, serenity now!”
Affirmations have been poked fun at a lot through the years— and for good reasons, it seems. Most of us would rather get caught doing just about anything other than gazing at ourselves in the mirror saying sweet nothings. But the joke really is on us—because we talk to ourselves all day long. It’s how we operate. We have a running dialogue going in our minds constantly, since that’s how we physically translate our thoughts.
And talk about embarrassing. If people knew how badly we tend to talk to ourselves—now that’s funny. As George Costanza once sang, “That’s com-e-dy!”
When you’re done reading this post, I hope you are able to see that affirmations don’t have to be corny and strange. They can be a practical, down-to-earth tool you use to change your negative self-talk around. When you start using affirmations, along with visualizations, meditation and gratitude – your life will begin changing in amazing ways!
And let me say affirmations work. It’s like they can’t not work. We know how powerful our subconscious minds are. And we know they are one big storage area that holds all the input we’ve ever taken in. This input is our programming – it’s what controls our world. And we know a lot of this input we wouldn’t have necessarily chosen ourselves—a lot of it is negative. Affirmations are a way to replace this negative programming and install what we want into our subconscious minds.
If you’ve always thoughts affirmations would never be for you, I hope you can change your opinion of them – once you read this and my following posts that will explain all about them.
Just know that:
You don’t have to gaze at yourself in the mirror as you say them.
You don’t have to say them out loud.
You don’t have to use corny words and phrases that you wouldn’t naturally say yourself.
You don’t have to admit to anyone that you are using them. (It’s your secret;)
I want to take a few minutes right now to mention the studies that claim that affirmations don’t work. I’ve got to be honest with you—I don’t care whether those studies are conducted extensively by teams of scientists with PhDs—they are being done wrong, in my opinion.
First of all, when I looked at a 2009 research article written for the Association for Psychological Science by Joanne Wood, Elaine Perunovic, and John W. Lee entitled “Positive Self-Statements—Power for Some, Peril for Others,” which concluded affirmations don’t work, something stood out to me like a sore thumb.
The authors stated, “Positive self-statements can be construed as messages that attempt to change attitude—in this case, attitudes about the self.” Bingo! It’s the word ‘attitude’. The research subjects might as well have been trying to change their outfits that day with affirmations. The purpose of saying affirmations isn’t to try to change a person’s attitude. Your attitude is a result of your underlying self-beliefs and your ingrained programming. Working on results is futile. You’ve got to get deep down to the cause.
The second reason I want to debunk the studies that try to debunk affirmations is because reprogramming our subconscious minds is a numbers game. It takes lots of repetition. It took years for these negative beliefs about ourselves and about the world to get ingrained. And they’ve created strong habits. We all know how strong habits are. Intentionally changing them takes months and months (even years) — thousands of affirmations. The study above was short-term.
One more point on the study. The participants chosen were random college students. They were not people who were ready to make real lasting changes in their lives and who were determined to put the time in. They were not taught about their powerful subconscious minds and how to use affirmations properly to reprogram the self-defeating beliefs that were holding them back.
The participants weren’t taught how to use visualization at the same time to see themselves as they would like to be. They also were not taught how to meditate in order to gain awareness about themselves and to get their minds into the right, relaxed states to input affirmations.
And the last point I want to make is that the participants were not told how pliable and changeable a person’s mind really is – unlike what many of us have been told. We can change! We can create better lives for ourselves!
Enough about why some people think affirmations don’t work. In my next post, you’ll learn how easy they are to start incorporating into your days. And in following posts, you’ll learn more tips and tricks to using affirmations.
Thanks for reading!