If you’ve ever written positive affirmations off as something that ‘sounds nice’ but doesn’t have any real-world impact, think again! You may be surprised to learn that positive affirmations can have a significant impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health. People living with disability and those receiving in-home supports may find positive affirmations to be a useful self-care tactic, especially in a society where stigma and inequality still exists. Interested? Read on to find out how positive self-talk can help create a strong and positive sense of self.
What are positive affirmations?
Glad you asked! Put simply, positive affirmations are good thoughts about the self. Here are some examples…
- I am confident
- I am clever
- I am likable
- I am resourceful
- I am loved
When people talk about the power of positive affirmations, the logic is simple. By repeating positive affirmations, we can override negative ones. Negative thoughts are often automatic, but with enough time and practice, the positive thought becomes our default thought. Instead of ‘I am socially awkward’, you start to believe ‘I am socially confident’.
MindTools describes the importance of positive affirmations.
“The problem with negative thoughts is that they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. We talk ourselves into believing that we’re not good enough… if we deliberately do the opposite and use positive thoughts about ourselves, the effect can be just as powerful, but far more helpful.”
Who affirms positive affirmations?
As with anything that doesn’t follow the mainstream medical model, the scientific basis of positive affirmations is the topic of debate. The Berkeley Well-Being Institute writes, ‘Hailed as magic in some circles and thought to be pseudoscience in other circles, the reality falls somewhere in between. We do know that affirmations involve and rely on many scientifically studied psychological processes – processes that are supported by research.’
Despite the debate, advocates of positive affirmations staunchly believe in their power. It seems that, if you practice them enough, they’re a powerful tool that can help to maintain a hopeful, optimistic, and future-focused outlook. Sounds good to us!
If nothing else, affirmations can help challenge a negative or unhelpful self-perception. For those who have undergone Cognitive Behaviour Therapy before, this may sound familiar. It borrows from the idea that we can shape our worldview by changing our automatic negative thoughts.
The best part? You can practice positive affirmations yourself, you don’t need help from a therapist. But of course, one of our Lifestyle Attendants (disability support workers) can help you make time to practice…
How positive affirmations link to self-esteem
Self-esteem fluctuates regularly. It can be impacted by our health, social connectedness, things that other people say about us or to us, and an endless number of other factors. The introduction of a daily positive affirmation habit can be a powerful mediator of self-esteem. It can help you shift your mindset around daily challenges and complexities, and support your self-worth.
Positive affirmations are supported by evidence from a 2016 study. It notes, ‘when threatened, self-affirmations can restore self-competence by allowing individuals to reflect on sources of self-worth, such as core values. One account of why self-affirmations are successful is attributed to their ability to broaden a person’s overall perspective and reduce the effect of negative emotions.’
The study found evidence that self-affirmations were helpful in reminding individuals of the psychosocial resources they had access to that extended beyond a specific threat (both real and perceived). This saw reductions in reactivity to the threat. It also protected the individual’s psychological wellbeing.
The link between self-esteem and confidence
Building confidence is a common priority for many, and is commonly a goal linked to in-home supports. But how is confidence developed?
The short answer? Confidence isn’t simply about ‘feeling good’. It’s about finding the fuel necessary to take active steps in life.
For people who receive in-home support, positive affirmations can have a direct correlation to a sense of agency and autonomy. Whether it’s the confidence to express personal needs or preferences, the ability to engage in fulfilling social activities, or simply the confidence to voice their perspective, positive affirmations can provide gentle and ongoing encouragement in building confidence.
If you’re looking to make use of positive affirmations to boost your self-esteem and confidence, we recommend beginning by identifying the particular areas that you want to work on. Some examples could be…
- The confidence to share your opinions
- Security in your physical appearance
- Trust in yourself to make good decisions
By understanding exactly what you’d like to develop, you can tailor your affirmations to address these areas specifically. Remember: the more personal the affirmation, the more closely they’ll resonate with your individual experience, goals, objectives, and challenges.
How to incorporate positive affirmations into daily in-home supports
Now for the practical part!
Incorporating positive affirmations into a daily routine is simple. By being both intentional and flexible, you can find a rhythm that’s achievable and meaningful.
Are you a morning person? Start the morning with a clear, uplifting, and thoughtful personal affirmation related to your goals for the day.
Opting for a nighttime positive affirmation routine might work better for the night owls among us. Create some time to reflect on the day’s achievements and challenges before bed. This is a great chance to practice affirmations, creating a positive mental and emotional space before settling down for the night.
Affirmations can also be placed throughout the home to create small reminders throughout the day. A sticky note on the bathroom mirror or a magnet on the fridge can serve as great reminders and prompt you to have the positive thought.
You can use this as an opportunity to get creative. Ask your Lifestyle Attendant to help you make custom affirmation cards! Write down the thoughts you want to have onto some paper or card. Then, decorate them however you like. Keep them in your home and review them when you want to practice. If crafts aren’t your thing, you can also purchase pre-made positive affirmation cards from many stores.
The right approach will depend on what works for you. Try practicing first thing in the morning and right before bed to find which creates greater benefits. Maybe you find that morning affirmations have long-lasting effects on the rest of your day, or maybe nighttime affirmations will help you sleep better. Either way, it’ll be fun and eye-opening to try different strategies.
Embracing the use of positive affirmations can have a powerful impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of people living with disability and those receiving in-home supports. Bringing these powerful statements into our daily lives can help build a sense of control, autonomy, and perspective, and boost our self-esteem and confidence.
Our holistic in-home supports can complement your routine and increase your independence. Plus, our Lifestyle Attendants can help you with self-improvement, including supporting you to make time for positive affirmations. Contact us to learn more.