You would have come across the term affirmations or self-affirmations in the self-help books that are available in the market. that is if you did go through it by chance. Bizzare though it may seem the authors of those books claim that positive affirmations that you repeat to yourself can be very effective in shaping your future for the better. Let us try and understand the neuroscience that supports this theory that is mentioned by almost all the authors of self-help books.
Positive affirmations- what is it?
Positive affirmations are nothing but phrases or statements that you say to yourself to get rid of unhelpful thoughts and challenge negative thoughts. It is a practice that you would have to adhere to sincerely with full belief and reinforce consistently to ensure positive changes in life. The affirmations are considered to combat the negative thoughts that are buried deep in the subconscious and replace them with positive patterns that make change and transformation easier.
Is it a science?
When you learn about positive affirmations, you may wonder as to whether it is something akin to magic and whether it is likely to happen at all. But, there are indeed well-established psychological theories that support the effectiveness of positive affirmations like the self-affirmation theory put forth by Steele in 1988.
The truth about positive affirmations
The important truth about positive affirmations include
The makeup of the human mind
The 1000’S of years ago when human beings lived with less protection in a highly threatening environment in forests and jungle amidst animals, the human brain was focussed to look for threats first. For example, if they happen to witness the grass being blown by the wind, the first thought that came to the mind for the men of those days was to wonder if it was caused by a moving rat or a tiger. Thousand years later even when you live in a secure atmosphere the wiring seems to be the same- to look for threats or negatives and focus on them. Positive affirmations are meant to do away with these negative thoughts and infuse positive thoughts and make it a habit in you. then you would be focussing on the positives more instead of the negatives.
Rewiring the thinking
Just as how our body as the power to repair itself when it is given the essential nutrients and supplied with body-building units called proteins, our brain has the plasticity to learn new skills or change the old habits at any age. But, for this, you have got to develop neuropathways that are different from what exists already. It would indeed take some time but is not impossible. Positive affirmations are the nutrient supply to the brain to develop new neuro-pathways. You may get deviated to the old pathway now and then, but, you have to make the supply of positive affirmations consistent to make the new path a natural way of life.
Positive affirmations- how should they be?
Doubt is negative energy that would prevent you from achieving your goals and dreams. it holds good for affirmations you say to yourself as well. if you are going to repeat the affirmations with doubt in mind as to whether it can ever happen, the chances of the goals happening are very less. By adding in the process of in front of an affirmation that you take, would make the affirmation feel true. This would make you confident and repetition of the same will bring positive changes in life.
Having learned the truth about positive affirmations, you can now use it effectively to get rid of negative thoughts and infuse fresh and effective positive thoughts that can change your life for good.