Using Mantras + Affirmations
Flip the script on negative thinking
Now that we have our “stories,” we know where the work needs to be done. Take each story that you’ve built, and turn it around. The opposite of your story is your new affirmation.
For the examples above, here are a few affirmations:
“I’m bad with money” becomes: “I trust myself with money and money flows to me easily.”
“I have no self restraint” becomes: “I am measured and confident in my willpower.”
“I’m such a trainwreck” becomes: “I’m just a little bunny trying to figure it all out.” (Hat tip to Jen Sincero for that one.)
“I can’t stop drinking” becomes “I am powerful and capable of removing alcohol from my life.”
Using mantras and affirmations:
Once you’ve identified the most helpful phrases for your unique situation, put them to use. The key to these tools is repetition; the more you repeat them (even if you don’t believe them yet!), the more they begin to build those neural pathways in your brain. Eventually, these positive neural pathways become so strong that your brain automatically goes down them instead of your old, dusty, negative neural pathways.
Say your affirmation out loud several times a day (especially when your stories flare up)
Write your affirmations on sticky notes and post all around your home and office
Write your affirmations down at the beginning of the day, and then find confirmation of these affirmations at the end of the day. Journal these as well.
Did you say no to the first drink someone offered you? Confirmation of your affirmation. (Even if you later drank.)
Repetition, consistency, and importantly, confirmation, will help your brain slowly begin to retrain itself into a sunnier, positive, self-talk. Try using one affirmation every day this week, and see how you feel at the end.
Cascio, C. N., O’Donnell, M. B., Tinney, F. J., Lieberman, M. D., Taylor, S. E., Stretcher, V. J., Falk, E. B., (2015.) Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(4), 621–629
Fuchs, E., Flugge, G. (2014). Adult Neuroplasticity: More Than 40 Years of Research. Neural Plasticity. 2014, Article ID 541870, 10 pages. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2014/541870/
Moore, C. (2020, October.) Positive Daily Affirmations: Is There Science Behind It? Positive Psychology. https://positivepsychology.com/daily-affirmations/
Sincero, J. (2013.) You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Running Press Adult.
Spiegelman, E. (2015.) Rewired: A Bold New Approach To Addiction and Recovery.