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Using Affirmations In Anxious Times

Posted on: May 6, 2022

Individual Counseling Insights brought to you by California Psychotherapeutic Resources, Inc.

One look at the news and it’s easy to understand why anxiety is hanging in the air like a dark cloud. Fortunately, there is a way to help ease the anxiety: using positive affirmations on a daily basis.

Believe in yourself sign

Writing for Healthline, Crystal Raypole writes, “Repeating a supportive, encouraging phrase gives it power, since hearing something often makes it more likely you’ll believe it. In turn, your belief makes it more likely you’ll act in ways that make your affirmation become reality. Affirmations can help strengthen self-worth by boosting both your positive opinion of yourself and your confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. They can also help counter the feelings of panic, stress, and self-doubt that often accompany anxiety.”

As valuable as affirmations are, though, it’s important to manage your expectations about their effectiveness. They can help you with everything from addressing negative thoughts to improving your mood. But anxiety is a complex issue, and simply stating your daily affirmations will probably not “cure” it. What affirmations can do is combat the negative effects of anxiety — if anxiety is preventing you from accomplishing some simple but necessary daily tasks or goals, affirmations can help you regain control. “When it comes to anxiety in particular,” writes Raypole, “keeping affirmations grounded in reality can make a big difference in their impact. If you try to tell yourself you can do things that aren’t realistic, you might struggle to believe yourself and return to a mindset where you feel incapable and unsuccessful.”

In short, affirmations can help you handle anxiety better. So, what’s the key to creating affirmations that can help you personally? Raypole has several tips.

“Begin with ‘I’ or ‘My.’ “

“Keep them in the present tense.” Remember that an affirmation is not a goal, which is future oriented. Stating I begin each day identifying three things for which I am grateful is far different than I’m going to start emphasizing gratitude in my daily life.

“Don’t be afraid to accept anxious thoughts.” Accepting reality is part of developing effective affirmations. Consider the nuances of anxiety, for example. If you deal with anxiety, then there is a subtle difference between denying that you’re anxious and managing it. Raypole says, “Instead of: ‘I won’t let my anxious thoughts affect my work any longer.’ Try: ‘I can manage my worries around failure and achieve my goals in spite of them.’ “

“Tie them to core values and successes.” Relating affirmations to your values has side benefits. If one of your affirmations is, I am compassionate to everyone I meet, then remember: you need to be compassionate with yourself as well.

For a deeper discussion on effective ways to use affirmations, see Raypole’s article here.

Posted in: Family Counseling

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