The Power of Affirmations
The benefits of positively communicating with yourself
Affirmations! Have you heard of the concept?
Affirmations are positive sayings you repeat to yourself daily or multiple times a day. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and UCLA found that the same regions of the brain that are activated by rewarding yourself with your favorite meal or a sweet treat are also activated during self-affirmations. According to research lead Christopher Cascio (as reported by the UPenn Annenberg School for Communication): “Affirmation takes advantage of our reward circuits, which can be quite powerful. Many studies have shown that these circuits can do things like dampen pain and help us maintain balance in the face of threats.”
Affirmations can change your entire outlook of yourself and the world according to affirmations guru Toni Jones.
“A lot of times in our idle time, we say things that aren’t very healthy and kind,” the Wife Your Life founder said. “Affirmations are a way to enroll you into a healthier conversation with yourself.”
Jones created the Wife Your Life brand to help women have a deeper consciousness and commit to treating themselves better through the power of positive words.
“You have to think of it as a relationship,” Jones said. “That’s why my brand is called Wife Your Life; it’s |LS|affirmations|RS| about that loyalty, that covenant with yourself. That no matter what, I’m going to make this relationship work.”
Coming from a psychology and mindfulness background, Jones says that 95% of our life experiences are controlled by our subconscious, which is largely developed between the ages of 0 and 8.
“Adulthood is a lie,” she chuckled. “We’re all walking around as kids. It’s our job to enroll into a relationship with ourselves and say, ‘Man, I got bullied in school. Did that impact how I interact with people?’”
Jones is a strong supporter of therapy. She urges people to not only speak with a professional but also confide in others for additional mental health support.
“Sometimes you need other people to affirm you,” she said. “The other week, I needed a friend. I said, ‘Sis, mirror me back.’”
Jones went to a friend because she began to believe negative things about herself that stemmed from her childhood. When this happens, she recommends that we all work to unpack those negative thoughts and see why we even believe them to be true.
“How doesn’t it feel true for you to affirm positivity? Why does it |LS|the negative thoughts|RS| feel true?”
According to Jones, actively reaffirming one’s self can change the neurological makeup of your mind. Consistently changing and reframing your thoughts helps build your mind into a new way of thinking. For example, Jones said instead of dreading getting out of bed each morning, try waking up and thinking about how grateful you are to wake up.
“When you start to affirm more and more, despite the resistance in your body and mind, you build a new way of thinking,” she said. “What happens neurologically is that those neurons that have been disappointing you for years, they weaken, and you start to believe that new way of thinking more.”
Want to give affirmations a try? Jones has two affirmation albums out currently, Affirmations of a Grown Ass Woman (which we covered last year) and Affirmations and Chill. Both are available on all streaming platforms. And in honor of World Mental Health Day Jones will release a new project entitled I See Me Mantras which can also be streamed on all platforms at 10:10 a.m. on October 10.