Our minds have been programmed by a lifetime of patterns and reinforcement, and this programming has a profound effect on our choices and our attitude. Although I had spent years practicing meditation, it was the practice of affirmations that I found most helpful during my period of rebuilding myself, and this is still the practice that I find most helpful today. I remember my amazement at witnessing the advanced nature of the ancient Greeks’ understanding of healing when I was traveling and observing the ruins of the ancient Asklepieion in what had been the city of Pergamon. Patients would lie in the center of the huge domes while the Greek doctors would treat their patients simply by talking to them continuously, telling them that their health was improving and that they were growing in vitality. Inspired by this, and in the midst of my own recovery from my breakdown, I developed my own affirmation routine. Drawing on my previous experience with meditation and affirmations, this practice became, and remains, an essential element in my daily wellness regimen.
The affirmation process that I’ll describe, which I recommend practicing daily, brings about a strong sense of calm, relaxation, and contentment. Practicing this technique reprograms the mind and body, allowing them to release unwanted habits and tendencies while supporting positive change. This also enables you to more effectively overcome stress. We have all been following programming of some sort for many years: what’s “wrong” with us, how we “should” be, how we’ve made too many mistakes, or that we’ve failed. As we carry this negative baggage around with us in our subconscious, it seeps into all that we do, hampering our ability to make changes and move forward. Conversely, positive affirmations help us to discover contentment in the current moment and the joy of being alive right now. This is one of the most potent agents of change.
The mind is very powerful, and it needs to be spoken to. We are all aware of the power of being told, for example, that we look well; it often immediately evokes the feeling of being well. We are influenced by what people say to us. In the same way, it is extremely powerful for us to direct our bodies and minds to what we want for ourselves. We must reaffirm and say what we want for ourselves, making it known consciously and putting it out there. It is our responsibility to identify what we want and need and to ask for this from the universe. We can then both consciously and subconsciously work toward achieving that reality.
I suggest either sitting or lying flat on your back with your eyes closed. If you happen to fall asleep, then begin focusing on your affirmations after waking. Do your best to practice in a quiet environment, free of interruptions. The early morning is an excellent time to practice affirmations. Nighttime, immediately before sleep, is also a potent time for affirmations, as it helps to reconfigure your subconscious mind as you drift off to sleep. In this way, you make your own powerful words the last thing you are aware of from the day, carrying you forward with clarity and positivity into the day that lies ahead.
You may also practice affirmations during a lunch break, at work, or when you are simply taking time out or walking. It’s important to find the time to say these affirmations on a daily basis. You may even do this more than once each day, if time and your desire to do so permit it. It can be helpful to keep a journal of your chosen affirmations with you at all times so you can easily refer to them when you have a spare moment or want a simple reminder. Sometimes, without even reading the journal, its mere presence in your pocket can be all the reinforcement that you need.
I recommend spending some time each day focusing on your affirmations, repeating them silently. There is no need for your mouth to move or for you to make any sound, as long as you can feel the words in your own mind. However, if you would like to speak the affirmations out loud, then do so. Choose whichever affirmations feel most resonant and relevant to you.
Below, I have included some suggested affirmations taken as samples from Step 4 of Stress Pandemic. You can create your own or draw from those below. Most people find that the particular affirmations that you are drawn to may change over time, so feel free to modify your routine as you see fit.
With all the suggested affirmations, say the words in italics in your mind, feeling their meaning and power throughout your being. Feel free to modify any of the suggestions to better suit your needs.
“I, [insert your name], am more powerful in this moment than I have ever been before in my life.”
The power we are affirming is not a material power but your own personal power. It is about your becoming stronger as an individual, little by little, each day.
“I, [insert your name], will compassionately love myself and forgive myself completely.”
We all make mistakes, but we need to be kind to ourselves and not beat ourselves up over regrets. We all have life experiences that we are here to learn from, and it’s only natural that we make mistakes. This is how we learn, hoping that we will not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
“I wish to have the strength, courage, and wisdom to make the right decisions, for myself, for the people I love, for all humankind, and for all life.”
“I am grateful for my life. I’m grateful that I’m alive today at this moment. I wish every cell of my body to rejuvenate and be in a state of perfect health. I wish any stress, anxiety, depression [insert whatever else you would like to be free of, such as a habit or emotional pattern] to leave my upper jaw, my lower jaw, my eyes, my nose, my sinuses, my throat… [continue listing and being aware of all of your body parts].”
After practicing affirmations such as these for a period of weeks during my recovery, I noticed a pronounced difference in both my body and in my outlook on life. As with each of the steps, the affirmations are a powerful agent of change and will offer great benefits if practiced daily.