Do Positive Affirmations Work? Thoughts.

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Do Positive Affirmations Work? Thoughts.

See what I did there?

Positive affirmations work – wait, don’t run away just yet! A lot of people make light of positive psychology as a school of thought, some even regarding it as woo. It clearly isn’t a black and white issue, and I’m no psychologist, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Positive affirmations are a small piece of a larger thing and might be a baby to some.

As with any philosophy or lifestyle choice, keep the things that work for you and throw out the rest. If the baby metaphor doesn’t work, just replace that with something you actually care about. (But seriously, babies.)

Thoughts don’t have any real power. Do they?

As a former church-goer and supporter and believer in things that don’t make a lick of sense, I once regarded “thoughts and prayers” as material and beneficial to their subject. Not, well, just thoughts. We all know thoughts don’t actually have any power, yeah?

Well, thoughts lead to emotions. Emotions lead to behaviours. Behaviours lead to habits. (All of these connections go the other way, too.) And habits lead to who you are. Thoughts have the power to affect how you view your world and what you do with it. So yeah, on the important side.

But thoughts sent to or on behalf of someone else? No, telepathy is not a thing. Please be serious. 

Positive affirmations work a little like cognitive behavioural therapy in early beta.


In CBT, psychologists look at the connections between thought, emotion, and behaviour. When you take control of one you can affect the others, create a new experience for yourself, and accomplish your goals.

You can use positive affirmations to create some of the change you want to see in your own mind. This is a small and easy-to-apply element of cognitive behavioural therapy – not to be mistaken for the real deal, but potentially useful nonetheless.

If you just need a kick in the pants –

You can use positive affirmations to create some of the change you want.

Here’s how:

  • Write them down, large and legible.
  • Keep them in the present tense.
  • Stay away from if, not, maybe and should-statements.
  • Put them somewhere you’ll see them frequently.
  • Read them out loud every time you see them.
  • Memorize them.
  • Write them down again.
  • Recite them before you go to bed.
  • Recite them when you wake up.
  • Eat them for breakfast.

You get the idea.

My Daily Positive Affirmations

When I was writing my affirmations I thought about the things I often forget when I’m feeling low or upset. Things it would be beneficial to remind myself of regularly. Things that might lift my mood or make me feel empowered to change a situation.


positive affirmations work
I’m using this to help me drive out the old habit of seeking outside approval and validation. It’s particularly potent to me right now because of my mom having stepped out of my life. I approve of who I am, and that is enough.
I take it one step further and challenge myself with this one. Being ourselves without regard for what other people are thinking of us is a courageous act in this world and one I aspire to implement daily.


Saying this in such a way that communicates to my brain that I’m serious – has an impact. Much like even a half smile sends positive signals to the brain. Repeating this out loud makes it a little more true, and I think it brings me closer to feeling that way more often.

Anxiety leaves me feeling extra vulnerable a lot of the time, so it’s helpful for me to remind myself that I am physically safe. 

Sometimes I need reminding that I have what it takes to handle what life throws at me. I have the tenacity, the resilience, and the motivation to get back up and keep living no matter what happens. I’m the king of my castle.


All we can do is build a life worth living, and I’m determined that one day I’ll consider how far I’ve come, look back at my past efforts, and be immeasurably proud of myself. I’ve already experienced this to some extent, but plan on spending a lot of time really driving it home.

Taking this exercise seriously can yield positive results.

I should note that my positive affirmations work for me because they’re very personal. It won’t work if you don’t really connect with what you’re saying. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting and narrowing down your own list of statements.

As with any personal development tool you might encounter, some things will work well for you if you give it a chance. But not everything. So don’t dismiss an idea based on whether it works for you. I know positive affirmations work for numerous people trying to make positive shifts in their own lives, and it’s certainly helping me.

Try it for yourself! And let me know how it goes in the comments.

A word of caution:

Positive affirmations should not be considered a suitable substitute for seeing your doctor or therapist. If you are struggling with your mental health, please consider meeting with your GP or a mental health professional.

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