The recognition and assertion of the existence and value of one’s individual self. – Dictionary definition.
What Is Self-Affirmation?
Self-affirmation is a psychological theory that helps individuals make changes based on experiences, or information that is presenting a threat to their self-concept.
These different self affirmation techniques and theory were popularized in the late 1980’s. Developed by Claude Steele, and quickly becoming a widely recognized social psychological theory.
By using self-affirmation an individual reflects on values they hold personally relevant to themselves.
Making them less likely to react defensively or become distressed when facing threats to their self-sense.
You can use self-affirmation techniques to help you deal with stress and anxiety affecting your life.
Many people use self-affirmation to help them improve their academic results. Professional performances, health, and their attitude to dealing with threats.
Self-Affirmation Techniques and Theory
There are a number of different affirmation techniques. Some work better than others for different people. It comes down to what you prefer, and what works best for you.
The goal is always the same however. You are looking to affirm the truth in whatever it is you’re working on. Like reminders of the values and beliefs you hold, and how you want to live your life.
The more consistent you are with how you live. The easier it is to maintain the behaviors and habits you need to achieve these goals.
Here Are Several Commonly Used Self Affirmation Techniques
Putting pen to paper can be incredibly powerful. Transferring thoughts onto paper can really affirm what you’re thinking. The goal is to invest emotionally into what you’re writing, it should evoke a reaction from you just reading it.
Here is direction to help get you started:
Write in the Present Tense
Written affirmations hold their power by feeling real. You need to write in the present tense to capture this. You’ll see what I mean when you read out something you’ve written, and it makes sense in the now.
Use Your Own Voice
Write down exactly how you would speak, no matter how silly it may seem at first. You talk to yourself in your head, translate this onto paper. No one knows you better than you do, write from the heart.
Keep It Short and to the Point
You’re not keeping a journal. The idea is to write down something that means something to you. To do this keep it short, and to the point. The easier your affirmations are to remember, the more often you will use them.
Make It Realistic
As with any affirmations, mental imagery, and visualizations, it needs to be realistic. If your affirmations are not achievable, believable, or realistic, you aren’t going to buy into it fully. So set yourself a tough goal that you need to meet, but keep it within sight.
If you want to affirm something be very literal. Tell yourself exactly what it is you want to happen. Being ambiguous will just give you an ‘out’ if something close to the actual event happens.
Writing down affirmations works really well for some people. It helps make their thoughts clearer, almost finishing what they started in their head.
Visualize Your Affirmations
Visualization and affirmations are related, and both can yield similar results. The more real you make your affirmation, the easier it is for your minds to adapt to.
Here are the two typical ways people use visualization to increase the effectiveness of their affirmations:
Visualize an Image That Compliments Your Affirmation
For example, if you are thinking about scarcity of something. Picture scarce scenes and scenarios in your head. Imagine there not being enough of things, or large empty fields. Whatever it is in your life that makes sense and you can relate to.
Visualize the Outcome You Are Aiming for from Your Affirmation
Visualize as vividly as you can the outcome you want. Place yourself in the moment. Use all of your senses to take yourself to the moment. What will it feel like, smell like, and how will you be reacting?
Using Music with Affirmations
This is a popular technique, as it’s an enjoyable and easier way for some people to work on their affirmations. Music is a powerful tool to tap into your emotions and find a deeper sense of intention.
If there is a piece of music that resonates or carries the message of your affirmation, use it to help you find that emotional connection. Use the music to help tie in with the visualization. Use mental imagery to relate to the music.
Music is also great for people whose minds easily wander off. It can help you keep concentration. Allow yourself to focus on the music and the message. It’ll fast become a song you associate with your affirmation every time you hear it.
Use Meditation with Your Affirmations
It’s the unconscious part of our minds that that influences our mental imagery and visualizations. It’s harder to gain a full grasp of our unconscious than it is our conscious side.
This is where meditation comes in. Anyone familiar with meditation will know how powerful a tool it is to tap into your unconscious mind. Meditating allows you to clear your mind of all the clutter you receive throughout the day, and focus on a goal.
Give yourself plenty of alone time to meditate, it’s not something you can rush. Make sure you’re somewhere quiet and will not be interrupted.
Repetition Is the Key
Once you affirmation is clear, start repeating it to yourself as often as you can. It should become like a manta, something you can say as often as you like.
Whenever you feel a little doubt, or see you are falling back into your old ways, tell yourself your affirmation. This is why they should be short, realistic, and literal as discussed earlier.
Making affirmations is a powerful technique when used correctly.
However, it’s not something you can quickly try and add to your day in the hope that it will make your dreams come true.
Use self affirmation techniques and theory as part of an overall positive mental process.
Believe in yourself. Believe in what you are capable of. Make your future exactly what you want it to be – because you deserve everything you’re working hard to achieve.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.