Why Affirmations Work And Why They Don't

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I'm sure you are familiar with positive affirmations. They are everywhere... or are they? I see them shared quite often on social media, and even share them myself. Over the past several months, I have learned quite a bit about why positive affirmations do work (from my own experiences), how to use them effectively, and the mistakes people often make. I did a Facebook Live on this if you want to take a look!

What is a positive affirmation anyway? 

An affirmation is a statement or declaration you say to yourself.  Simple, right? The problem is, much of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us. Even when we think we are declaring a positive affirmation, it is actually a negative declaration to our subconscious mind. 

Think about that for a moment. Think about how you talk to yourself. What language do you use? Is what you’re telling yourself positive or negative? What do you subject yourself to in the written language? Here are 3 clues to let you know if what you are reading or speaking is a positive affirmation...

  1. Affirmations are in the present tense. "I will...", "I'm going to..." are in the future and are not going to be effective. Your subconscious mind only responds to the present tense. "I eat healthy and nutritious foods", "I exercise regularly so I can be in the best shape possible",  "I always make the best decision for me".
  2. Affirmations only use positive words. "Don't, "Can't, "Won't"... these are negative words and are not recognized by your subconscious mind. Any affirmation that has these words is not something you want to repeat. Reframe the affirmation to be positive. Change "I don't want to be sick" to "I am healthy and vibrant". Change "I won't get stuck in traffic" to "Traffic is flowing smoothy and effortlessly."
  3. Affirmations are statements of fact and truth. "I might...", I should..." are all something that may or may not happen, and again, our subconscious mind only responds to the present... the here and now. "I am..." (two of the most powerful words in the English language), are used to indicate the present. What you say after these two words (consistently) will shape your future. "I do..." can also be used to represent the present.

Our brains are very literal, meaning our subconscious mind takes everything we say as true and it responds appropriately. It's eager to set us up for success and wants us to be happy. All too often we are giving it negative direction and then we wonder why our lives are all shaken up.


Your subconscious mind is a creature of habit, so repetition is key... especially when repeating positive affirmations. It's important to choose 1-3 affirmations that speak to what you want, not what you don't want. I made the mistake in the past in choosing too many affirmations that covered a few different areas... thus confusing my subconscious mind about what I really wanted. Not that any of them were negative, but there were just too many. Lately I have been working strongly on my money mindset, so I have three affirmations focused solely on that. It's working!

When you repeat these affirmations throughout the day, you are "training" your subconscious mind and making it very clear what you WANT.

Lastly... when speaking your affirmations, or writing them down, make SURE you have emotion connected to them. Feel all the feelings because they won't be effective unless you have serious emotion connected to them. They'll be just statements you are saying over and over... and then wondering why nothing is happening. There are other factors at play as to why affirmations work, and how they can be even more effective, but if you start with these suggestions, be focused on what you DO WANT, and repeat, repeat, repeat, you are well on your way to making significant changes in your life.

Download your FREE 36 Positive Affirmations

Are you interested in learning more about your subconscious mind and how you can effectively reprogram it to completely change your life? Take a look at how hypnosis can do this.

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Lisa WilliamsComment