Whether you’re coping with depression, anxiety, or just general poor mental health due to difficulties in your life at the moment, one of the most destructive aspects of poor mental health can be your mind’s constant negative self-talk. You’ve probably experienced it at one point or another: that little voice in your head saying negative things about your work life, your relationships, or even just your body. Affirmations for better mental health are one way to challenge and change your mental self-talk, changing your internal world from one of constant negativity to a healthier, more positive outlook.
What is an affirmation?
The definition of an affirmation is a confirmation or assertion that something is true. In the context of mental health, affirmations are internal. When your mind comes to the same thought or statement repeatedly, you are more likely to think that thought or statement again. This repetition creates a cycle of self-talk, essentially your brain convincing itself of a statement’s truth. As you might imagine, this makes affirmations a powerful force when it comes to your mental health, self-care, and self-improvement.
Negative vs. Positive Affirmations
Research suggests that the average person’s self-talk or thoughts are overwhelmingly negative, with anywhere from 70% to 80% of an average person’s thoughts being negative. Those with conditions such as depression or anxiety can fall into even more powerfully negative thought patterns. These thoughts, if repeated over and over again, can essentially become negative affirmations. These negative affirmations can easily become toxic and difficult to remove from your patterns of thought without significant effort.
Positive affirmations, on the other hand, are consistent self-talk with positive meanings, the polar opposite of negative affirmations. You probably use some positive affirmations already – every time you think “I can do this” or “keep going” to yourself, you’re engaging in positive self-talk and affirmations.
Positive Affirmations and Mental Health
As you might have guessed, negative affirmations and self-talk can have a terrible effect on your mental health if not checked. By identifying your negative thinking patterns and countering them with conscious positive affirmations, you can challenge your negative self-talk and, over time, develop healthier patterns of thinking.
Positive affirmations are a part of many kinds of therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Talk Therapy. A trained therapist can help create positive affirmations that directly counter negative thought patterns, but you don’t have to be in therapy to try this powerful technique. Replacing negative thought patterns with more positive ones can only be a positive, no matter what stage of your personal journey you’re at.
How to Start Using Positive Affirmations for Better Mental Health
Positive affirmations are at their most powerful when they are directly targeted at your personal negative thinking patterns. The first step to implementing positive affirmations, therefore, is to identify your negative thinking patterns. Then you can catch yourself, turn those negative thoughts into positive ones, and start changing your entire outlook on life. Repeating your positive affirmations at the beginning and end of each day or writing them down are great ways to have these positive thinking patterns become automatic rather than reactive.
When creating positive affirmations, it’s important to create statements that are free of words like “don’t” and “shouldn’t.” Those words have negative connotations to your brain, and they can easily turn right back into negative self-talk.
10 Positive Affirmations for Better Mental Health
- Today will be a good day.
- I am strong enough for whatever life throws at me.
- I am safe and loved.
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- I’m excited for life.
- I am kind to myself and those around me.
- I choose to be positive.
- I can overcome my anxieties.
- My best is enough.
- I can do this.
What are your favorite positive affirmations?