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If you’ve ever thought that using ‘positive affirmations’ is flimsy whimsy and the sort of thing only people in the Whoo Whoo Brigade believe in, you’re wrong.

Studies[1] have shown that positive affirmations really can work.  Moreover, their regular use helps to lower stress and rumination – the repetitive cycle of negative thoughts that tie you up and deepen depression.

Here’s the thing, though:  they must be well composed.  You need to put some decent thought into coming up with powerful affirmations of your own.  Here’s how:


These are the nasty, barbed comments that you tell yourself every time you perform in a way that you’re not proud of.  “I’m useless on sales calls”, “I’m too old to be dating again”, “I’m a completely fat flop” – you know the kind.

Before you start devising your positive statements, you need to challenge the old, negative ones.  Invert the “I am …” to “Am I …?”  and create a question out of the statement.  For example, “Am I useless on sales calls?”, “Am I too old to be dating again?” and “Am I a completely fat flop?”.  When you do so, you’re inviting your brain to come up with an answer – and it’s usually “no”.

It could be that you talk easily with people but just don’t know how to close a deal properly.  That makes you essentially a good salesperson in training.  Nobody’s too old to be dating again.  And there are bits of you that can’t be completely fat and floppy:  your ankles are great and your eyes are gorgeous.

Once you start to challenge those negative self-statements, you can see how illogical and untrue they really are.  You’re on your way.



When you start to write your affirmations, put everything in the ‘now’, using active verbs that end in “-ing”.  Your subconscious doesn’t differentiate between fantasy and reality or future, past and present.  By your using the present tense, you’re programming yourself to ‘see’ yourself as already progressed, different to the way you once were.



Those whose affirmations have not worked for them often testify to a sense of stress and friction within as they’ve spouted out a statement that they knew was patently untrue.

It’s no good trying to kid your conscious mind that you’re a happily married father of four when you’re single and still living with your parents.  Rather, write at least one affirmation that acknowledges the truth and then resolve it, like this:

“I don’t like being on my own but I’m meeting new people every week and am ideal material to be a father of four.”

That will get you a lot further.  Soon, you’ll be making up affirmations about winning the lottery for the school fees.



The more you add to your picture, the more direction you give your subconscious to seek out and find the opportunities that will make the vision your reality.

“I don’t like being on my own but I’m meeting potential partners every week with values just like mine” is an honest version of the affirmation.



Aim to make it about the same length as a headline.  That’s why the above affirmation didn’t mention all of your kids; they’re enough of a handful to need an affirmation of their own.

“My ideal partner and I are loving our family times on holiday with our two boys and two girls.”  You get the picture.



As you visualise the scene, tune into how you feel inside.  Does it make you feel a rush of adrenaline?  Romantic?  Thankful?  Write it in:

“My ideal partner and I love laughing with our two boys and two girls on our fun, sunny holidays.”


When you have a few affirmations off by heart, the best thing to do is to write them out so that you can see them daily and speak them out loud regularly.  Yes, this practice might sound far-fetched, but are you going to argue with science?

Try it.  You only have a low mood to lose and a healthier mindset to gain … if not four kids and a lot of holidays.

[1] External link to


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