Affirming Yourself to Calm


These are stressful times. Many of us are feeling financially squeezed and calendar challenged. Our “free time” seems to be filled up with tasks, errands and chores, and we are stressed, overworked and overwhelmed.

As we bring our challenged selves everywhere we go, we may have difficulty performing optimally. We are vulnerable to spreading and increasing our own stresses. So, here is a new self-care technique you may find helpful to calm your anxiety and diffuse your stress.

Calm Your Nervous System with Affirmations

Affirmations are the things we say and think. They are, in essence, whatever we tell ourselves. And what we tell ourselves can encourage growth and healing just as easily as it can be destructive or problematic.

A lot of the things we say to ourselves are basically negative affirmations. For example: “I have too much to do. There is no way I can get it all done.” Negative affirmations fuel our anxiety. The more we tell ourselves worrisome things, the more our systems register stimulation and agitation.

But, just as negative affirmations can cause anxiety, positive affirmations can calm your nervous system and promote well-being. Try using a series of positive affirmations to heal your life.

Where to Start

The best affirmations are the ones you choose or create for yourself because they speak back most directly to your particular blend of anxious self-talk. Start creating statements that will speak to you, personally and directly.

First, create a list of all the negative, self-critical and worrisome thoughts you hear in your head. Then, once you have your list, write a positive antidote that expresses what you actually want. Here are some examples:

I have too much to do.

I accomplish everything that matters.

I’ll always be anxious.

I am at peace.

Relationships never work out for me.

I am loving and lovable.

What if I run out of money or lose my home?

I have everything I need.

I’m alone and lonely.

I extend warmth and receive love in return.

Once you’ve created your list of positive thoughts, pick the top three and write each of them on a separate index card. Next, read each of your affirmation cards aloud at least twice daily.

The more often you say your affirmations, the more successful you’ll become at reprogramming your negative self-talk. I usually find that reading or saying each statement three times in a row is more effective than just silently reading them once. As you use this affirmation tool, you’ll find yourself growing into each of the positive beliefs.

When you find that a particular affirmation is no longer necessary, let go of it and create a new one to fill its place. As the time feels right, slowly taper your use of affirmations until you need only occasional boosters. This is a phenomenally effective tool.

Remember: You can do this! You can transform your thought patterns! And, you can spread more healing, peace and joy as a result.

Source: This is an excerpt from Eve Woods’ column in mtj® (Massage Therapy Journal®) Winter 2008. Read the entire article here.

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