How to Create Affirmations and Use Them During Meditation
In late 2015, I finally found an affirmation which worked for me.
I’d been trying different affirmations and they didn’t quite resonate; it felt similar to putting on a pair of shoes which were too tight and squished all my toes together. The affirmations seemed like empty words, with no real meaning or significance and at other times, I felt like I was just outright lying to myself!
However, after I received a frighteningly expensive bill for my car service (a few weeks after I’d quit my job to pursue my business full time!), I was feeling anxious and my thoughts started running a million miles an hour.
I decided to get out of the house, so I put on my sneakers and started to walk. At first, all I could think about was money. Should I sell my car? Could I afford such a huge chunk out of my savings at a financially uncertain time? Would I be able to pay rent next month? Should I go back to my job and put my business aside for a while? Had I made a huge mistake?
Then, I realised that it all boiled down to the fact that I simply didn’t feel safe. I’d taken a risk in leaving my job and pursuing my dreams and my future wasn’t clear. But I did have support around me, I had enough money to pay the bill, I would find a way to earn money and it would be ok.
I started to reassure myself that I was safe and I realised that I wasn’t alone. There were people in my life who loved and supported me and it made me feel even safer.
The words “I am safe, I am loved, I am supported” dropped into my mind and stayed there for the rest of the walk. By the time I arrived home, I felt much clearer and less worried about the money. The affirmations had really reminded me of what was important and I felt more trusting in my journey forwards.
So, let’s take a closer look at affirmations, including what they are, how to formulate your own personal affirmation, how to use an affirmation during meditation and how to incorporate them into your everyday life.
An affirmation is a conscious thought which tends to be positive and powerful, and aims to support you in some way. Using affirmations can be a great way to tap into your strengths, focus on the good in your life, uplift your mood and create a more positive reality.
There does need to be an element of truth when creating and using affirmations. You need to be honest with yourself and know which affirmations you can genuinely believe in.
So, for example, if you’re going for an interview and telling yourself “I am confident, strong and ready for this interview” but you really don’t feel confident at all, you might start to feel overwhelmed by not just the pressure of being interviewed, but the pressure to feel confident when you don’t.
I would encourage you to change your affirmation so it resonates more with you and listen to your intuition about what feels right. You may start with an affirmation like “I believe in my ability to connect with people during an interview” or “I radiate friendliness, sincerity and enthusiasm.”
It’s really important to create affirmations for yourself which genuinely reflect who you are and what your strengths are, then you can build on those affirmations from there.
When you formulate affirmations, it can also be important to remember a few key things.
One- try to focus on what you have or want, not what you don’t have or don’t want. For example, use an affirmation like “I feel compassion and kindness towards myself during difficult times” rather than “I don’t engage in negative self-talk during difficult times.” Really try to identify what you want and create your affirmation based on that.
Two- create affirmations based on the present moment, for example, “I am self-compassionate” rather than “I will be self-compassionate”. Or, if there’s something you really want for your future, see if you can find a way to relate it to the present moment; so rather than “one day, I will be kind to myself” try “every day, I am finding new ways to be kinder towards myself.”
You may also be wondering how you can use affirmations regularly to develop this way of thinking and become more familiar with it. You can try using affirmations during meditation, or incoproate them into your everyday life. Here are two meditation practices for using affirmations:
Take a little bit of time to sit down comfortably and become grounded, check in with your senses, do a scan through your body and then bring to mind your affirmation.
At first, it might feel like you’re just saying the words, but after a little while, start to explore how they actually make you feel. So, for example, if you’re using the affirmation “I am safe, I am loved, I am supported”, try to allow the meaning of it to actually sink in.
You can tap into what it feels like to be safe and knowing that you have some of the things you need in your life. And then you may start to notice what being loved feels like. Perhaps, you can bring to mind some people who remind you of love and things they’ve done or said which made you feel special and cared for. Finally, you can check in with how it feels to be supported, not just by other people, but also knowing that you have lots of techniques and self-care practices you can use to support yourself.
The second way I use affirmations during meditation is with a set of mala beads. I started learning about mala beads about 6 months ago during my meditation certificate and I purchased my own set not long after. Basically, mala beads look kind of like a necklace, with a string of 108 beads in a loop and a tassle or some other kind of special bead to show you where to start and end the meditation. I like to sit down and hold the first mala bead between my right thumb and middle finger. Slowly, I roll each bead through my hand by using my thumb to pull each bead towards me. As I touch each new bead, I repeat my affirmation in my mind. I find it’s a very calming practice and the beads really help me concentrate on my affirmation, rather than losing focus and getting distracted by other thoughts.
Simple tips for incorporating affirmations into everyday life:
Write your favourite affirmation on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere you will see it regularly
Use an encouraging affirmation during exercise to help you keep going
When you look in the mirror, use a self-compassionate affirmation
Save your affirmation as a screensaver on your phone
Think about your affirmation before you go to sleep at night
Instead of going on social media, take some time to acknowledge your own strengths by thinking “I am (insert strength)”
Choose one or two simple affirmations to support you during times of stress or overwhelm
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about affirmations! I’ve also shared some of these tips on episode 125 of The Mindful Kind podcast.