According to the research, most people who use positive affirmations are missing a key element in order to make them most effective. The result is that they may be doing more harm than good! Are you getting the most out of your positive affirmations?
I was shocked to realize that most of the time, we’re doing more harm than good with our positive affirmations. If you’ve ever told yourself “I’m strong, I’m smart, I’m enough, I am rich,” you may be actually causing more depression, lower self-esteem, and actually decreasing your probability of performing well on a task. Recent research has found that using “I” statements like “I’m strong, I’m smart” when you’re in a place of low self-esteem may actually decrease your ability to pull yourself out of that depression. When you’re in a space of low confidence already, those “I” statements that simply don’t ring true actually lower your ability to make a good impression and make you feel worse about yourself. But don’t worry – there is something that you can do about it!
Research from the University of California and the University of Michigan suggests that there’s a little workaround that you can use to make these affirmations work for you again. It’s pretty simple! Just talk about yourself in the third person. You know, like Lebron James did when he made his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat. Why don’t you start using this for yourself?
Additionally, grabbing a friend to help out in this process is really the key element in this science behind making positive affirmations work better for you. Having somebody talk to you outside of yourself is what actually makes this work! It gives your brain a little distance to see yourself well outside of yourself, and that lowers the emotions, allowing you to talk to yourself in a way that a friend might. It gives a perspective that we’re used to getting from others; one we trust more by being an outsider to our own minds. We actually create a little psychological distance, allowing us to be kinder and a little bit more wise when we’re coaching ourselves.
So what’s stopping you from getting the most out of your affirmations?
Resources and links to the science: