Making Affirmations Work For You

“I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.”

This is affirmation number 23 on a list of “35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life”. You’ve probably repeated something like this to yourself every day since you first heard of positive affirmations and their ability to change not only your outlook, but your actual existence.

Affirmations can be effective – as can shifting your language and becoming aware of your thoughts. But sometimes you just don’t feel indestructible, no matter how many times you repeat the phrase. Why isn’t this affirmation working?, you think.

If this sounds like your experience, research shows that you’re not alone. Researchers at the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick published an article in the Journal of Psychological Science explaining why positive affirmations may not be working the way you hoped they would.

Dr. Joanne Woods’ research suggests that while positive affirmations may have a positive effect on people with high self esteem, people with low self esteem may not see results. This is likely because of some underlying, subconscious issue that is limiting the power of the affirmation by making it seem like a facade, like empty words that are incompatible with reality.

If this is the case, should people struggling with negative self-doubts simply give up on affirmations? Not according to Dr. Wood. She and her co-researchers suggest that affirmations can still be effective when paired with other forms of psychological intervention, such as mindfulness, meditation and different types of therapy. This additional help can help you unblock whatever is keeping affirmations from having their desired effect. Psychodrama, especially, is known to make powerful shifts in consciousness and self-compassion that can lead to improved self-esteem. 

If you find yourself struggling to truly believe in your affirmations, seek out other complimentary means of self-help, like a therapeutic retreat, therapy and meditation – and you will find yourself feeling at last your attitude living up to your affirmation!