The Power of Affirmations
I’ve found mantras and affirmations to be hugely beneficial to my spiritual practice, personal development, and overall happiness. Below I share a bit more about what exactly the difference is between a mantra and an affirmation (they are different, though I often use them interchangeably), general tips for working with affirmations, and a list of my top 10 affirmations. If you’re looking for more, click here for a downloadable PDF with 25 more of my favorite affirmations so that you can print it out and use it daily.
Mantra is a sanskrit word meaning “instrument or tool of the mind” that is commonly used in Buddhism as well as meditation. If you’re been to a yoga class or are familiar with the word/sound Om, that’s a great example of a mantra, representing the sacred sound of the universe.
An affirmation is a positive statement that is often used to replace negative self-talk. Affirmations were first developed in the 70s by neuroscientists as a way to consciously rewire thought patters to generate a more desired outcome. I often use them interchangeably but they do have a different origin.
You can feel free to make up any affirmation that serves you best. You want to keep it in the positive, present state.
While some people might shrug this off as New Age or woo-woo, there is so much science that backs it up! We all have the power to retrain our brains, it just takes repetition and discipline. It also requires us to be vulnerable with ourselves – many people don’t want to even admit that they have self-limiting beliefs.
I like starting my day with at least one positive affirmation. I’ll often write it down in my bullet journal after I meditate, as a way to set the tone for the day. Some people like to repeat their affirmations (in this case, the word mantra is even more applicable) throughout their meditation. Experiment and see what works for you.
If you’re looking to do more work like this, we’re working on a new course and community that I think you’re going to love. Check it out here!
Marisa Peer is one of my favorite mindset mentors. She teaches that for all of us, our greatest problems derive from not feeling like we’re enough. She recommends writing “I am enough” on your mirror or somewhere you can see it daily. I encourage you to check out this powerful talk from her when you can.
Because of the way I grew up, I am used to doing things on my own. This affirmation reminds me that I can and should feel open to receiving support. I don’t need to do it all alone anymore.
Louise Hay is another one of my favorite spiritual teachers. I learned so much about self-love from her. It’s the same concept as Marisa Peer’s “I am enough”, just a different way to say it. I find that depending on the day, one phrase may resonate more than the other. But, I would say that this is my #1 go-to affirmation for overall self-love.
We truly do create our own reality. It doesn’t mean that it’s easy to change our thoughts; on the contrary – it can be difficult, because we’ve been allowing our negative thoughts to take over for years. Our brains are literally built to focus on the negative (that’s how we’ve evolved as a species, to see negative/dangerous situations first so that we can protect ourselves and survive). I remind myself daily that I hold the power to choose my own thoughts.
This affirmation is inspired by the work of Marianne Williamson. She is the author of A Return To Love, which I wrote about here. This book really changed the way I saw the world. I’m not a religious person but I like to think of this book as my personal bible. The book is based on The Course in Miracles which teaches that our natural state is one of love, and everything that does not come from that place instead comes from fear, which is just an illusion – because only love, our true nature, is real. This affirmation helps me to remember this, so as an example if someone frustrates me, I can choose to see them with love, to understand that they are going through something that is not their true nature, either.