Affirm Positivity To Fight Against Negative Thoughts And Live A Happy And Healthy Life

12 min read JUN 03, 2024

If you were to examine human nature under a microscope, there would likely be a mixture of findings.

Sure, such a close examination could likely quell curiosities, and I’m positive there’d be a great number of amazing findings, but such an observation could also be a bit discouraging.

I say this, because I believe one of the saddest scientifically confirmed traits of humanity, one I’m personally all too familiar with, is our propensity, as humans, to engage in negative self-talk.

Experts believe this phenomenon is linked directly to our nature, so it can be a hard habit to shake. But, have you ever considered just how much we are limiting, damaging, and diminishing our potential, even our very existence, when we see our beautiful, wonderful selves through a lens of negativity.

Speaking negatively to or about yourself not only increases stress and anxiety, it hinders your health, relationships, job performance, and overall well being and satisfaction in life as a whole.

So then, if it’s hardwired into your nature to engage in negative self-talk, and if such speech has so many negative outcomes, then how can you overcome it?

Easy! To overcome a propensity towards negativity, all you have to do is rewire your brain!

Wait…that seems like a pretty intense solution, doesn’t it? I mean, are we talking surgery here?

No, rewiring your brain, in this case, requires no surgery or medical intervention, but it does necessitate a bit of intention coupled with a positive, healthy practice, one which best serves you when incorporated regularly.

So then, what is this powerful, subconscious-shaping practice we’re speaking of?

Positivity, friends…positivity.

Incorporating positive affirmations into your daily routine not only replaces the negative self-talk we’re all prone to engage in, it also serves your mind and body in many other powerful ways.

And today, we’re going to explore all of those ways…looking at the affirming powers of positivity!

Positive Affirmations Defined

Affirmations are positive words or phrases you can speak to yourself.

These phrases can be spoken aloud or internally, and when incorporated regularly, as a practice or routine, such phrases have been proven to change negative thoughts and behaviors.

Most often, positive affirmations are used with the intention to:

- shift your mindset or thinking patterns from negative to positive
- decrease depression and anxiety
- improve pain levels
- motivate you to perform a certain task or action
- help you push forward or keep going in the face of difficulty
- reduce stress levels
- increase confidence
- improve or enhance one’s overall health and wellbeing

Essentially, reciting or speaking positive affirmations serves to replace negative self-talk.
For instance, if you have an unhealthy habit of speaking negatively to yourself regarding your appearance or abilities, uttering or thinking phrases like “I can’t do this,” “I’m dumb,” “I’m not pretty enough,” or “I’m ugly,” these can hinder your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.

Speaking negatively to yourself affirms or strongly states these words or phrases as if they are true, and friends, please believe me when I say…they’re not!

We’re not called to compare our physical appearance with others. And, when we do so, we ignore the truth - that we’re all uniquely, wonderfully, beautiful.

We all make mistakes at times, but commenting or thinking negatively about those mistakes serves to allow single errors to define us, and this not only veils the truth, but it also keeps us from learning from our mistakes and growing as individuals.

Negative self-talk, simply put, is stifling. It serves no positive purpose and keeps you from becoming your best self, even hindering your health.
So, when you regularly speak to yourself in a negative manner, you’re actually setting yourself up for failure.

This is because such repeated phrasing can become self-fulfilling prophecies, where we’re convincing our brains over time to believe we’re not smart enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not capable enough, and on and on.

Positive affirmations, on the other hand, work to retrain your brain by challenging those negative thoughts that can creep into your head and wreak havoc.

Repeating positive phrasing can actually “rewire your subconscious mind and attract positive experiences into your life.”

In other words, as with negative phrasing, when you repeat positive commentary and believe it, these equally act as self-fulfilling prophecies - though the outcome is far more beneficial.

Sometimes, such as when we specifically recognize, in the moment, negative self-talk, we can immediately correct these thoughts with positive affirmations.

But, positive affirmations are most effective when incorporated daily as part of a routine.
Of course, if you’re not used to speaking positivity into your own life, it can feel a tad uncomfortable, standing in front of a mirror speaking phrases such as - I am enough, I am capable, I am strong, I can learn from my mistakes.

But, if I could offer a bit of advice, simply stated - ignore those uncomfortable feelings, rather cast them aside completely. Because as you’ll soon see, there’s immense value in this practice!

Proof In The Positive…Affirmations

There’s a wealth of science-backed proof showing the benefits of regularly incorporating positive affirmations.

And, while we’ll certainly detail those in a moment, I happen to be someone who likes to hear proof from someone in the trenches.

So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to briefly share my personal experience with positive affirmations to get us started.

For the last several years, I’ve heard about, read about, and even written about (on occasion) positive affirmations.

And, the more I learned about this practice, the more I knew I needed to incorporate it, recognizing full-force how intensely negative my words and thoughts were towards myself.

So, I put my toes in the water, slightly, and stood in front of my bathroom mirror, attempting to utter a few applicable positive phrases, silently or at a whisper so no one else could hear me.

I did this once or twice, felt incredibly uncomfortable, didn’t believe it at all, and ultimately let my negative internal dialogue keep me from continuing the practice…until about 6 months ago.

I’ve spent my life hearing and saying some of the most incredibly awful things to myself, believing things I’d never think or speak of others.

And, this horrendous cycle has affected my mood, my weight, my health, my relationships, made me anxious, stressed, and depressed at times, hindered sleep, increased fatigue, etc.

Then, one day I looked in the mirror, and the best way I can describe this to you was that I could actually see this negativity all over my face. The reflection staring back at me might as well have audibly asked for a change.

So, I changed.
My daily gratitude list, which typically centered around nature or other people, started to include ways I was thankful for me (as well).
And, I exchanged my aforementioned whispers, absent of any shred of confidence or belief, for audibly spoken words and phrases detailing my best traits, capabilities, and qualities, as well as those things I wanted to see change in my life.

Personally, I benefited from beginning such phrases with my own name, instead of using ‘I,’ and my morning mirror time thus started a little something like this:

- Becky, you are brave.
- Becky, you can and will keep promises to yourself.
- Becky, you have great things to contribute to your family and this world.
- Becky, you are strong.
- Becky, you deserve happiness.
- Becky, you are enough.

At first, I still felt uncomfortable, but this improved daily.
Then, slowly, I noticed the following trends.

At the gym, when I wasn’t seeing improvements as quickly as I hoped for, I simply kept showing up.

In times past, I likely would’ve beaten myself up with my words and eventually given up. But, speaking positivity into my own mind, heart, and life seemed to eradicate my typical negative responses.

And guess what, within a few more weeks of persevering, I was able to increase weight and repetitions. Then, in my cardio efforts, I soon noticed my breathwork had drastically improved, meaning more minutes and more miles.

I can be a lot like Will Ferrell in Elf, as smiling (and laughing) are truly “my favorite.” But, since daily practicing positive affirmations, I’m actually noticing my smile a lot more.

Then, I’ve always had a great amount of internal negative dialogue surrounding the way I look, so I felt like I needed an added element to my brain rewiring efforts here.
Aside from making sure I point out the things I love about my appearance each day, as cheesy as this may sound, I now make it a point to listen to James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful each time I’m in my car as well.

The overall meaning of the song has actually been irrelevant to me in these efforts, as I’m simply reinforcing my rewiring by making sure I regularly hear those words “you’re beautiful.”

And, for the first time in my 44 years of life, I enjoy doing my skincare routine each morning and evening. I enjoy looking at my face in the mirror.

I see laugh lines from so many joyous occasions. I see beautiful blue eyes that speak love and kindness in the midst of all of life’s pains and delights.

I see…happiness.

I’m more confident when I set out to do tasks now.

I see far more things each and every day to be grateful for.

My stress levels have decreased drastically.

I no longer feel as if I’m living in fight or flight mode.

And, my blood pressure levels have leveled out (to a very healthy range).

Even better, I am also noticing, in a greater capacity, the beauty, strength, intelligence, and kindness of others - all from simply pouring positivity into my own life.

But, none of my results or realizations are new or out of the ordinary when it comes to positive affirmations.

Researchers have intensely explored the benefits of positive affirmations, and here’s what science has to say about what you say to yourself in the mirror -

  • Affirmations can improve work or job-related performance. Research has shown that even a few short minutes spent thinking about your best qualities before a “high pressure meeting” can help to decrease nervousness, increase confidence, and improve the likelihood of a positive outcome.
  • Studies have shown even short affirmation exercises can decrease stress and improve problem solving capabilities.
  • “Affirmations have been shown to stimulate the areas in our brains that make us more likely to affect positive changes in regards to our health.”
  • With great success, positive affirmations have been used to treat individuals with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.
  • One study found those who repeated affirmations related to a value they saw in themselves performed better in problem solving tasks related to word-association.
  • Researchers have found those people who regularly practice positive affirmations have more activity in the reward center of their brain (compared to those who do not practice affirmations).
  • Daily practicing positive affirmations creates new brain pathways, replacing negative thought processes with a more balanced and positive view of self.
  • Positive affirmations bring clarity and enhance focus, providing greater motivation and direction towards goals and aspirations.

  • Affirmations have a proven calming effect on the mind which is why those incorporating this practice often report experiencing a greater sense of peace, while also reducing stress and anxiety.
  • As your mindset changes with positive affirmations, you can increase your natural attraction to positive experiences.
  • Practicing positivity causes your brain to release chemicals which improve your emotional and physical well being.
  • Incorporating positive affirmations daily reduces the amount of negative thoughts you have about yourself and others, eventually even preventing the formation of such (negative) thoughts.
  • Affirmations allow you to more easily recognize those things in your life that may be a roadblock to your happiness, in turn allowing you to experience greater amounts of this powerful emotion.
  • Some studies have shown fostering positivity can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other negative cardiovascular events.
  • Practicing positivity through daily affirmations helps you to appreciate “the small things,” or the things we often take for granted.

So then, with all of these powerful benefits to be gained from affirming positivity, how can you incorporate this practice in your daily life?

Positive Affirmations In Practice

We learned above that incorporating positive affirmations can essentially rewire your brain, allowing you to replace negative thoughts and phrases with positive ones.

And, this ‘rewiring’ becomes stronger with repetition, for when you repeat this process, it becomes a part of the physical structure of your brain.

Then, as these neural pathways become stronger, the positive thoughts and beliefs you are instilling soon become automatic.

Many experts recommend starting your day with positive affirmations, as this sets the tone of your day. But, you can also incorporate (or recite) these words or phrases anytime a negative thought comes to mind.

And, you can certainly repeat these powerful phrases in the evening as part of your evening or bedtime routine as well.

When doing affirmations, it’s best to find a quiet and comfortable space.

Many recommend standing in front of a mirror to recite these phrases as this provides you with the opportunity to look into your own eyes, speaking positive words and phrases directly and confidently.

We’ll provide a sample list of affirmations in a moment, but when choosing phrases to begin, be sure to create a list that most resonates with you.

Focus on areas you recognize as needing growth. And, utilize phrasing that promotes self-confidence, compassion, positivity, abundance, and success.

Feel free to use the following list of positive thoughts and affirmations as a springboard to get you started, then seek to add more personally applicable phrasing as you continually incorporate this life-changing practice!

- I believe in myself.
- I can do hard things.
- I am enough.
- I choose to be confident.
- I can learn from my mistakes.
- Today is going to be a great day.
- I am strong.
- I am brave.
- I use my voice to speak up for myself and others.
- I am loved, and I love others.
- I control my own happiness.
- I am a leader.
- Anything is possible.
- I am motivated.
- I am successful.
- I will rise above thoughts of anger or fear.
- My life has meaning.
- I am kind.

Though our human nature may incline us toward negativity, this inclination is easily steered in a powerfully positive direction with appropriate thoughts and beliefs about self.

So, fight the temporary illusion of discomfort, and step out of that zone and onto the path of realizing your worth, your potential, and your sheer awesomeness each and every day by affirming positivity.

Oh, and by the way…

You are amazing!

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Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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It’s incredible how something as simple as positive self-talk can lead to a happier, healthier life. Thanks for sharing this insightful perspective!"