How To Work With Affirmations For Every Day Growth

by | Jan 21, 2024 | Affirmations

Affirmations For Every Day

Affirmations are positive statements or phrases you can repeat to yourself to change your thoughts and behaviours. These statements can be about any aspect of one’s life, such as self-worth, confidence, relationships, or career goals.

There are many potential benefits to using affirmations as part of a daily self-care routine. Some of the most common benefits include:

  • Improved self-esteem: Affirmations can help you to develop a more positive self-image and boost your confidence.
  • Increased motivation: Repeating affirmations can help you stay focused and motivated towards your goals.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: Affirmations can help you to manage your emotions and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Increased resilience: By repeating affirmations, you can develop a more positive outlook and become more resilient in facing challenges.
  • Better sleep: Affirmations can help you relax and unwind before bed, improving sleep quality.

To get the most out of affirmations, it is important to choose specific, positive, and achievable statements. It is also helpful to repeat affirmations daily, either out loud or silently, to oneself. With regular practice, affirmations can become a powerful tool for personal growth and self-improvement.

Affirmations are things you affirm as true and describe something positive you want to achieve. They are usually short sentences and are something that you can easily repeat during the day. They are designed to tell your unconscious mind that something is real. Your unconscious mind will see these positive statements, and they will be triggered into action.

This does not mean that all you have to do is say an affirmation and as if by magic, it will be so. See later when I describe how I use affirmations.

Try this – I have a beautiful smile. With any luck, you immediately smiled and forgot that perhaps you didn’t like your teeth, for example. It’s that simple and so infectious.

When you repeat affirmations, your mind finds these motivating and inspiring and tries to obey you. Then, like the excellent computer it is, it will embed these programs into its every day ‘you’ code, and it becomes true.

Affirmations are lovely for designing and building new habits, changing thoughts and beliefs, and healing the body and heart. Two of my big affirmations or mantras, as they are also called when I was healing my spine, were, I have strong, healthy bones, and my bones are healed. I would write these on my fridge with magnetic letters. Alongside telling myself I loved myself enough to eat the right food for my bones, these affirmations helped me heal.

Why Positive Affirmations Often Don’t Work

Think of a time when you really wanted something, and you chanted your positive affirmation, and nothing happened. You probably blasphemed the Universe and your affirmation.

The problem is that sometimes the positive affirmation is incongruent with what you actually (and unconsciously) believe to be true. So all that happens is you struggle with making the affirmation true, and negative thinking kicks in.

When my spine was fractured and my body changed, I tried the positive affirmation ‘hey gorgeous’ in the mirror. It was an affirmation I often used when feeling off, and it always made me smile. Only now it didn’t because I saw a hideous body and all I did was cry. Instead, I looked at my body and said thank you for supporting my healing, and that worked better for me

We know that negative thinking reinforces an internal belief that we can’t change whatever the thing is. This means that we are almost destined to continue to repeat what might be potentially self-destructive behaviours. This leads to a vicious circle of more yukky unhelpful thinking.

Take a moment to imagine (see, sense, feel or know) how your life might be if you turned these around and used affirmations to reinforce the more positive aspects of who you are and who you will be when for example, you love yourself. Does that still feel hard?

The conflict that this can create can be far-reaching. Often, this spiral reinforces what you believe to be true. This may also bring up an emotional response that you weren’t expecting. But there is a way around this, as you will see later.

Not So Helpful Affirmations

Surprisingly people use affirmations every day without realising it. Usually, these are the not-so-useful ones. You may have heard others talk about limiting beliefs? That’s what these are. When you tell yourself that you can’t do or be something often enough, your mind says oke doke, I’ll add that to the program, and it will be true. Before you know it, you can’t do those things, procrastinate, and stuff never gets done or is harder to heal.

Call something to mind right now that you know you always say you can’t do. What if you said I can instead? Feels weird, right? It does take practice. One of my favourite journaling exercises is to turn I can’t into I can. It is very revealing.

Choose Your Thoughts

It’s all about choice. You can choose to change your thinking or not. Easier said than done. What I mean is that you can choose how you approach what comes up when you use affirmations. I.e. choose to address what comes up or not.

Years of negative programming can mean you have more work to do. But here’s the secret sauce, while you may struggle to start off with, guess what? It won’t take long before you smile as you catch those words daring to come out. Soon you will find yourself looking in the mirror and saying, yes, I know I did it again. Here’s what I meant to say. At least, this is what I do. I find staring at myself in the eyes and confessing rather amusing, which gives me the kick I need.

When I worked in an office and found myself in a situation that meant I was repeating negative stuff, I’d head off to the bathroom, look myself in the eye, and say something positive. I’d also pull faces as long as no one else was around. The face pulling made me laugh, and then I could say an affirmation, anchor it in and go back to face the day.

Starting To Work With Affirmations

Grab this book. Pick an affirmation daily and work with it.

  • Take a few breaths and focus on your heart
  • Ask to be taken to the right affirmation for today
  • Open the book at a random page
  • Read the affirmation
  • How does it make you feel? Good, or perhaps there is some resistance?
  • If you feel resistance, ask why and explore in your journal
  • If something comes up, reframe it. For example, I may feel I was not so great at XYZ. However, I did get some positive feedback
  • If it feels good, write about what feels good
  • If the affirmation works for you, make a point to repeat it often and bring your hands to your heart when you do
  • Then explore other ways you will use this affirmation throughout the day
  • Reflect at the end of the day in your journal

Asking Questions

Let’s say that you have chosen – I love and accept myself, which brings up a strange sensation of not being 100% true. Ask yourself why. Connect with your heart, turn it into a question and explore it in your journal.

What may come up is that an old script has emerged, and you are struggling with accepting who you are or how you look. This was me with the fractured spine.

Perhaps you chose I respect my own boundaries. You hear yourself say, do I really? Write in your journal – how do I respect my own boundaries? After exploring this, you can choose one thing you will do today to respect a boundary and reflect on what happens when you do. This might be as simple as saying no to a coffee invitation because you want some alone time.

This affirmation – my heart is free from past hurts may guide you to explore something you have ignored. What are you ignoring and why? What is that past hurt telling you? Perhaps you may be asking, am I really free of this hurt? If not, why not? Do you need some support to explore it further? If yes, find someone to support you with what comes up.

Each affirmation is your heart and soul, asking you to explore what comes up for you and find ways to change how you see or feel about this aspect of yourself. You could also discuss this with a friend, counsellor or therapist. Asking for help when healing is very important.

What Is Reframing?

Reframing is a personal development technique that involves changing your thoughts about a situation or experience. It involves shifting your perspective and looking at a problem or challenge differently to find a more positive or productive approach.

Reframing can be a useful tool for overcoming negative thoughts and beliefs that may hold you back. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a difficult task, reframing could involve looking at the task as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than as an insurmountable obstacle.

You can do this! Let’s look at it like this. Think about a picture you have on your wall. What would it look like in a different frame on another wall? Reframing is about taking something you hold in your mind and framing (seeing) it in another way.

That might be seeing a problem as an opportunity, a perceived weakness as a strength, or a can’t as a can. In the context of healing, it is reframing the issue so that you see it as healed or in a new, more productive and helpful way. This reframing creates new neural pathways that become how you think and feel normally.

Why Reframe?

  • Because being mindful of what you are really feeling can help you identify possible reasons why
  • You can shift your negative thinking from I am sad to I am feeling sad… because feeling is different from owning the emotion
  • With this deeper understanding of your emotions, you can begin to shift and reframe your thinking or move through emotions naturally to a different state


There are several ways to practice reframing:

  • Identify negative thoughts: Start by noticing any negative thoughts or beliefs holding you back
  • Challenge those thoughts: Ask yourself if those negative thoughts are accurate and consider alternative perspectives
  • Find a more positive frame of reference: Look for a more positive or productive way to approach the situation or challenge
  • Repeat the new frame of reference: Practice repeating the new, more positive perspective to yourself until it becomes second nature

Let’s try these

Create a simple affirmation and repeat it to yourself during the day. For example, you might replace ‘I am ugly’ with I am feeling ugly, but I am normally beautiful. You wouldn’t use the negative ‘I am not ugly’. Other examples might be:

  • I am unlovable – I am feeling unloveable, but I am loveable
  • Nobody loves me – I am feeling that nobody loves me, but really most people love me
  • I don’t deserve – I am feeling like I don’t deserve…, but I deserve all my heart desires

Your energy creates your reality, so smile, choose new thoughts and emotions, and don’t forget to write things you are grateful for in your journal.

What negatives do you need to reframe? Make a list of things you say and replace them with affirmations that feel good to you. Reflect on what happens when you do this. How would you prefer to feel? Who would you be if you weren’t at the ‘mercy’ of your emotions?

The You Now Perspective

Your journal enables you to ask questions, be curious and explore your past from the you now perspective. The emotions that you once experienced will now feel different. This will help you to understand yourself and others better. In this way, you can use your journal to scramble the script and tell a new story. When you do this, you can give them a better meaning and learn more about managing them in the present. This provides wonderful opportunities for growth and the future you.

Taking Responsibility

When you see your stories in black and white, please be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Your journal is not a place for judgements. Take the stand that this has happened for me (to learn and grow) and not to me (being a victim). By being responsible for your emotions and embracing what you learn over time, you will see your transformation.

Choose an emotion you want to work with and consider the story from the you, now perspective. Give the emotion a better meaning. What have you learned? What growth opportunities does this give you? What affirmation could work alongside this?

This is why affirmations are so powerful. They communicate with a deeper part of you and call you to take action to heal in some way.


Recognise And Manage Your Triggers

What happened with the affirmation to make you experience negative feelings and emotions? What triggered the emotion? Is this something that happens often? Why is this?

An emotional trigger is a stimulus that elicits a strong emotional response in you. Emotional triggers can be positive or negative and can vary greatly from person to person. Some common emotional triggers include memories, experiences, sights, sounds, smells, and people.

For example, someone who has experienced a traumatic event may be emotionally triggered by sights, sounds, or smells that remind them of the event. Similarly, someone who has a close relationship with a loved one may be emotionally triggered by the sight or sound of that person.

Emotional triggers can have a powerful impact on your emotional state. They can sometimes lead to intense feelings of sadness, anger, fear, or other strong emotions. Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of your emotional triggers and to have strategies in place for coping with them in a healthy way. This can help you to manage your emotions and prevent negative emotional responses from overwhelming you.

There are several things that you can do to deal with emotional triggers:

  • Identify your emotional triggers: Take some time to think about what situations or stimuli tend to trigger strong emotional responses in you. This can help you become more aware of your emotional triggers and anticipate when you might be more vulnerable to them. Record them in your journal
  • Practice self-care: Engaging in self-care activities, such as journaling, exercise, meditation, or hobbies, can help you cope with difficult emotions and maintain a sense of balance and well-being
  • Seek support: Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member, or seeking support from a therapist or counsellor, can help manage your emotions and work through difficult situations
  • Use coping strategies: Many different coping strategies can help deal with emotional triggers. These might include taking deep breaths, using visualisation techniques, engaging in physical activity and exploring in your journal.

By being proactive and using various strategies, you can learn to manage your emotional triggers and cope with difficult emotions in a healthy way.

Put Things Into Perspective

There are several things you can do to put things into perspective:

  • Practice mindfulness: Being mindful of your thoughts and emotions can help you better understand your experiences and put them into perspective
  • Seek outside perspective: Talking to a trusted friend or family member, or seeking the guidance of a therapist or counsellor, can help you gain a different perspective on your experiences and challenges
  • Keep a journal: Writing about your thoughts and feelings can help you process your experiences and better understand them
  • Reflect on your values and goals: Consider what is most important to you and how your experiences and challenges fit into that bigger picture
  • Practice gratitude: Focusing on what you are grateful for can help you put your challenges into perspective and maintain a positive outlook
  • By being proactive and using various strategies, you can learn to put things into perspective and gain a better understanding of their experiences and challenges
  • When situations arise, ask yourself, does this really matter? Will it matter to me in a week, month, or year from now? Does this interfere with the goals I’m working towards? If yes, address the situation with an open mind and find a positive solution. If you answer no, move on, and forget about it.

Stay grounded

Being grounded means having a sense of stability, balance, and connectedness. It means being present in the moment and in touch with your feelings, thoughts, and surroundings. Being grounded can help you cope with stress and navigate challenges in a more balanced and effective way.

There are several ways in which you can become grounded. Some of which we have touched on already:

  • Practice mindfulness: Being mindful of one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings can help you stay present and focused in the moment
  • Engage in activities that ground you: This might include exercise, spending time in nature, or participating in hobbies or activities you enjoy
  • Use deep breathing techniques: Taking slow, deep breaths can help calm the mind and body and help you stay grounded
  • Seek support: Talking to a trusted friend or family member, or seeking support from a therapist or counsellor, can help you stay grounded and cope with difficult emotions or challenges
  • Practice self-care: Taking care of one’s physical and emotional well-being can help you to feel more grounded and in control of your life. This might include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities you find relaxing

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for the good things in life. It is a positive emotion that can be cultivated through the practice of focusing on the things that one is grateful for.

Gratitude can have many benefits, both for you and for your relationships. Some of the potential benefits of gratitude include the following:

  • Increased happiness and well-being: Focusing on what one is grateful for can help you feel more positive and satisfied with your life
  • Improved physical health: Gratitude has been linked to better physical health, including improved sleep, a stronger immune system, and lower blood pressure
  • Enhanced social connections: Gratitude can help you build and strengthen relationships by focusing on the positive aspects of your interactions with others
  • Greater resilience: Gratitude can help you cope with challenges and setbacks by helping you maintain a positive outlook and find ways to move forward

There are many different ways to practice gratitude, including keeping a gratitude journal, creating a memory box or photo album and filling it with things you are grateful for, sharing what you are grateful for with others, and expressing gratitude through acts of kindness. By incorporating gratitude into your daily life, you can experience the many benefits of this positive emotion.

Explore with this Gratitude Journal.


Dump The Self-Criticism

We are our own worst critics. The more negative you feel about yourself, the more you will see or feel yourself being criticised by others, even when it isn’t happening. Remember to stop and reflect. Self-criticism can harm your emotional well-being and interfere with personal growth and development. If you struggle with self-criticism, there are several things you can do to dump this negative habit:

  • Practice self-compassion: Instead of criticising yourself, try speaking to yourself with kindness and understanding. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and being gentle with yourself is important
  • Seek support: Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or seek the guidance of a therapist or counsellor, to help you cope with negative self-talk and develop a more positive mindset
  • Reframe negative thoughts: When you catch yourself criticising yourself, try reframing the thought in a more positive or constructive way. For example, instead of saying, “I’m such an idiot,” try saying, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t define who I am.”
  • Practice gratitude: Focusing on what you are grateful for can help shift your attention away from negative self-criticism and towards a more positive mindset
  • Engage in self-care: Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being can help you feel more in control of your life and less prone to negative self-criticism

Be kinder to yourself

Being kinder to yourself means treating yourself with the same level of kindness and compassion that you would show to a friend. It means understanding that you are human and that mistakes are inevitable while striving to be the best version of yourself. It means recognising that you are worthy of love and respect, regardless of your accomplishments or failures. It means taking the time to nurture yourself, listen to your needs, and practice self-care.

Being kinder to yourself is about having compassion for yourself, even when life gets tough. It is about being gentle with yourself, forgiving past mistakes, and embracing your unique strengths and weaknesses. In short, it is about giving yourself the same love and kindness you would give to someone else. Practice being kind to yourself. For example, instead of telling yourself to just quit a job, turn the tables and give yourself the same encouraging advice, you would give a friend or family member. Do something nice for yourself as if you were your own friend because, in reality, you are your best friend and your own worst enemy. Kick the enemy to the curb.

That’s it affirmations are incredibly powerful. Have fun with your affirmations adventures.

Let your journal be a mirror reflecting your true self, unfiltered and raw, capturing the essence of your journey through life.

Dale Darley