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Affirmations


Calla
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As ever not sure where to post this!

But I had a brief conversation with someone today about affirmations. She was very passionate about the subject. It was about curing physical illnesses. But I guess that there must be some theories about it helping mental health as well. As this is sometimes from a physical basis too.

Anyway I don’t really know much about it. Is it as simple as just saying “I am worthwhile” everyday. Or is it more complicated?

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I tend to think it's more complicated, but it is definitely a good place to start. The key for me was believing in the affirmations. Opening your heart up to faith is a process. The first step for me was to recognize in myself what I had to offer to others. As I allowed myself to feel my own nurturing and caring qualities, it became easier to offer that very same kindness to myself. Little steps at a time and knowing it's okay to believe in yourself. So you open yourself up to seeing your own gifts. The most challenging part of this for me was to allow myself to have it. I'm a caring person. I know it and that's okay. I like that about myself. Knowing that makes me feel good. Feeling good about myself is okay. (Some of my inner thought processes at the time)

The power of the positive in my own experience came from my giving it the power. I do think that having a general caring and positive attitude toward life puts you in a position to be more effective. Being effective and having small successes builds upon itself and increases your chances of experiencing more of the same.

Edited by IrmaJean
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I believe in affirmations a lot, I use them all the time to bring me back to center. It is so easy to get distracted, lose sight of the big picture. I find that affirmations open me up again, where my tendency is to close things in on myself because of depression. They help me refocus. I find affirmations to be expansive - maybe it's positivity as you say IJ. I am in general a confident person, I know what I do well and where my challenges are. I am a person of faith and I find that has helped me a lot in my positioning myself towards life and its purpose. Yet when I am in close relationships I am completely insecure, I want to run away, and positivity in that way just seems to elude me... it's all very nebulous :rolleyes: I really do think that affirmations, positive inner language is so very helpful in keeping the energy flowing freely, both in the brain and in the body - it relieves tension, stress, makes us more joyful, more optimistic towards life. It may be as fake at worrying, serving no other purpose than to set the tone... but at least it isn't so heavy.

I wonder if some people have a predisposition towards negativity as opposed to optimism, like it being genetically driven?...

Edited by Symora
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I know this is going to make me sound really stupid but what exactly do you do? I keep repeating phrases in my head. And read something about post it notes with positive statements, so that when you see them you remember to say it to yourself.

I don't really know what to affirm to myself. I keep chanting "I am worthy, I am beautiful" But then I keep thinking I'm not doing it right so maybe "I am stupid, I am useless". It's a lot to change a lifetime of thinking!!

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Maybe the first step then would be to get rid of those negative untruths. Take it gently and slowly. Try stopping the bad thoughts in their tracks and replace them with more accurate truths. Consider what you do that makes you feel useful and smart. Such as how wonderful you are at offering support to others and how insightful and courageous you are. What do you think?

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I see what you mean Calla. I don't do well with those types of affirmations either, like <I am worthy and beautiful> to myself sounds silly to me. I tend to go for affirmations that are more generic, about life, optimism, statements that make me see things from a positive angle, saying such as <I draw love in my life and know that I deserve it>, <I go with the flow and feel the joy in life>, <I am grateful for all the good in my life>. I find that these statements get me thinking in a more optimistic direction, and they challenge my old negative thinking. It does not mean I can do it all the time, or believe it when I say it, it takes constant practice to focus on an affirming thought. But thoughts do create reality, so putting good energy into them is a step in the right direction in my opinion :rolleyes: I think that may in fact be the purpose of prayer, to show gratitude and also to call to us what we want, desire, hope for...

Edited by Symora
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Guest SomethingOrOther

Just throwing something in.

I came across this a while ago. I think the point is that positive affirmations are useless when you don't truly believe them.

But then, I'm a scientist... I wouldn't necessarily believe scientists.. :rolleyes:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8132857.stm

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/20/7/860

PS: oh, and I would ignore that headline. Journalists..

Edited by SomethingOrOther
that 2nd link only works at uni
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That is fascinating actually .... and it sounds pretty true considering Calla's and my experience. I think that's why I like more generic statements, those that just send my thoughts in the right direction and aren't too personal. When they are very personal and ring untrue in my inner ear, I find that more discouraging that helpful. I have found thought that as I get older and know myself better, I can say more positive things now and I know them to be true, so it's OK a lot more :rolleyes:

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I've read those studies before. I do think positive affirmations can work, but not until you free yourself to believing in the possibilities. The main thing, I think, is to treat yourself gently and with kindness and respect. That's affirming in its own way. If you are able to view yourself as valuable and act in that respect, you may begin to feel valuable. It's a place to start.

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I really truly believe this sort of thing can work....thats why I want to try. I saw an interview with a Dr, who firmly believed affirmations can help with physical illness. This is something I believe very strongly. The brain is a much more powerful tool than we appreciate....imo. I have read of soliders using the power of the mind on the battlefield and as a teenager I would get rid of headaches by concentrating on them and never took a painkiller. The Dr talks about the brain change physical things to right problems (in a much more scientific way!!) And I wholeheartedly believe the brain is key to most physical problems. There is an argument that in caveman days the brain had the power of telekinisis. I don't know if I believe it but I think it just proves the brain could be more powerful than we believe.

Anyway, unfortunately I think my brain has been left to wilt in a way. The Dr also talked about exercising the brain as much as any muscle. This is what really struck me. I go to the gym everyday and am religious in exercise. Yet I have let my brain become this despairing mush. My body is a temple and my mind should be too. I've neglected it. Even if it is a placebo effect....I don't care!! If it works...great.

Sorry that was a bit of a ramble. My point being I think I need to exercise my brain in this way and will follow your tips. I particularly like being grateful for all the good because I think I forget that A LOT, so thank you. It's hard work....but aren't most things worth achieving!!

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Calla, I think you're doing awesome and I truly value watching your growth. :)

"Exercising" the brain can be very stimulating in its own way. There was some part of me during therapy that actually enjoyed the brain-straining involved in deep-thinking. Some of what came up was painful, but I found the process kind of invigorating in some way. Perhaps a bit odd, but there you go.

As they say, use it or you lose it.

Keep up the good work, Calla.

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Thank you, I value your input :)

I have done a fair amount on my CBT book today as well.....sometimes it shows here maybe?! And I agree it can be painful sometimes but also fires the brain up a bit. I have spoken before about my brain misfiring and it needs a "jump start"...sometimes it takes a crisis to do that perhaps.

I will keep on trying :)

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I used affirmations for a while in a haphazard sort of way but felt recently that I needed something "stronger", or perhaps just more intense. So a few days ago I decided that I'd work on some form of positive thinking or another every 20 minutes. I just set my alarm to go off every 20 minutes, all day long, then spend a minute or two in positive thinking. I have been focusing a lot on happy memories, zoning in on them till I really feel, as much as possible, the same happy emotion that I had at the time. I'm also working on imagining being able to do things I can't do yet.

I've been inspired by the books "The brain that changes itself" and "Evolve your brain". I recommend them both.

It's early days but I feel optimistic that this technique may help me get out of patterns of negative, self-critical thinking that I've been suffering from for several years and that have played a big role in my depression.

best wishes to everyone

david

Edited by d1963
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