Karen Salmansohn

Karen Salmansohn

Bouncing Back

Why Affirmations Aren't Always Effective, Here's a Solution

One-size-fits-all affirmations often don't work! Happily there's an alternative.

Posted May 06, 2014

Poster created by Karen Salmansohn / notsalmon.com

I myself have some favorite go-to affirmations which I love. But, I gotta say, sometimes I’ve noticed that affirmations just don’t work. Especially if I’m feeling particularly "curmudgeony"—which is when I need the mental and emotional support the most.

Has this ever happened for you too?

My clients have told me it happens for them a lot. The other day one of my clients told me a specific story—of how they woke up that day feeling especially negative. They found themselves downward spiraling in their thoughts—until they became overly worried about a big client meeting.

So they reached for a positive affirmation: “I am a brilliant communicator with big ideas. I create huge success.”

It was a no-go. Both their conscious and subconscious minds just weren’t buying it.

The problem? Often when you’re in a highly negative state, then fluffy, hyperbolic, one-size-fits-all peppy affirmations will simply feel like false hype—and you’ll have trouble absorbing them into your thought system.

The solution?

I recommended doing what I call “Antidote Thought Therapy—which I also jokingly refer to as "the thought breakfast of champions!"

“Antidote Thought Therapy” is very different than affirmations because it’s about finding and repeating BELIEVABLE FACTS, which logically counteract the negativity in your subconscious and conscious minds.

Basically, unlike affirmations, “Antidote Thought Therapy” is a thought system based in logic and personalization, as well as positivity.

Rather than repeat that one-size-fits-all positive affirmation, you take 5 to 10 minutes of time to write out a highly personalized list of “Antidote Thoughts”—a range of factual reasons for you to logically prove to yourself that you should be feeling happy, loved and successful—and logically disprove negativity as an option.

Poster created by Karen Salmansohn / notsalmon.com

How does it work?

Let me explain with the same example I mentioned earlier.

Let’s say you wake up feeling negative—and find yourself with a loop of self-flagellating thoughts that make you feel like you’re gonna mess up a big client meeting.

You might potentially write things like….

I remember I was nervous before that meeting in October—and I slamdunked that meeting. I can slamdunk again!

This client I’m meeting with today has often told me how much they love my ideas—even told me I’m smart. I’m sure I’ll be smart in this meeting.

I scored high on my SAT’s! I’m smart! I’m sure I’ll be able to present something smart to the client.

I remember my college professor told me that my thesis paper was the best he’d read in over a decade—because it was full of innovative ideas. I’m truly capable of being smart and outside of the box in my thinking.

I spent many hours preparing and truly understand the client’s needs and business. Plus I slept a good eight hours. I’m sure this combo of preparedness and energized clarity will help to make the client putty in my hands.

After you’ve written down your morning Antidote Thoughts, read them through a few times. Soon you should feel a shift in your energy, mood and confidence—a much greater shift than you’d experience with affirmations alone—because you’ve chosen to unknot the root of your negative beliefs instead of just putting some positivity fluffy icing on top of your negative beliefs.


Karen Salmansohn (founder of the popular inspirational site notsalmon.com ) is a best-selling author with over 1 million books sold known for creating a new breed of self help for people who wouldn't be caught dead doing self help because she merges psychology with feisty humor and stylish graphics. Some titles include: How To Be Happy Dammit, The Bounce Back Book, and Prince Harming Syndrome.