“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
Today we’ll talk about affirmations. We can use affirmations to rewrite faulty scripting, like all the negative things you tell yourself subconsciously. These faulty scripts tell us we are not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, etc. Whenever you resist something beneficial to you, it is the faulty scripting within you that is at work.
How do we rewrite our internal scripts? We rewrite them through repetition. We replace them with better, stronger, self-supportive scripts. We repeat affirmations out loud or speak them internally each day. They build, support, and strengthen us. We can create affirmations to patch the gaps in our internal software.
What do affirmations look like? I am healthy is one example. You could recite this one by itself or you could change it to look like this: “I am healthy because I eat nutritious foods and exercise every day.” We should write affirmations to express a state we want to be in right now. It should start with the phrase “I am.”
We are the way we are because of our internal scripts. We write these scripts throughout our lives and circumvent our ability to change, improve, or adapt new behaviors. Why? The brain does not like change. The brain likes things just as they are. Changing ourselves eats up a lot of energy. Thinking, changing, and altering all require huge amounts of energy.
We resist change because of this wiring. Each time you do something new or your thinking changes, the brain wires a circuit to automate that new task or idea. This wiring takes time and energy. Change requires the brain to create a new neural connection and destroy another. Let’s say you are trying to quit smoking or drinking to excess. The brain enjoys smoking and drinking because of the rewarding chemicals your brain produces each time you light up or have a sip of our favorite adult beverage. These habits are “hard-wired” into our brains because they are both repetitive and rewarding. To drop these habits, we have to replace the neural pathways the brain has created or let the brain decouple them when it determines we no longer need that neural pathway to survive.
Negative talk and resistance to change are also neural loops or pathways that are hard-wired into our brains. They are strong because the brain wants to protect us. Change to your brain is scary. In some people, change is fearful because change invokes the fight-or-flight mechanism in the oldest part of our brains. When this mechanism kicks in we sweat, we tense up, and our pupils dilate. We may shake with uncontrollable fear. If you have ever witnessed someone who gives a public speech, who has never spoke publicly before, you’ll see this mechanism kick in.
To change your life, you must build new neural pathways that support positive changes. One way to do this is to assume you are what you want to be. To act “as if”. If you want to be healthy, you must act as if you are healthy. Affirmations start this process. Affirmations get us to visualize what we want to be. Positive self-talk replaces the negative messages we tell ourselves unconsciously.
Here are a few examples you can try:
I am healthy.
I am calm.
I am happy.
I am smart.
One exercise you can do every day is to write your affirmations 15 times a day. Writing your affirmations down while reciting them is a powerful tool. It is powerful because it repeats and it engages your mind and your body (hand write them, don’t type them). Do this exercise every day at the same time. This daily affirmation exercise will bring about positive changes in your life. It will “rewire” you to be better. Stick with it. Don’t give up. Take the 5 or 10 minutes this requires. It is worth it.
You have the freedom to change these affirmations any time you wish. I would stick with your first set for a month. You can couple these affirmations with action. Let’s say you want to feel better. You want to start an exercise program. So, you write “I am healthy” in the morning 15 times, reciting these words as you write them in your journal. You also walk for 20 minutes each day, meditate for 10 minutes a day, and eat one healthy meal filled with nutritious fruits, vegetables, and a lean protein. You track all these habits by creating a repeating list of these items you check off each day. Try this for 30 days. Write 1) walk for 20 minutes; 2) meditate for 10 minutes; 3) eat one salad each day; and 4) write my daily affirmation “I am healthy” 15 times a day. As you accomplish each one of these things, check them off. Before you go to bed at night, write these 4 things on a list for the next day.
If you have failed to make a change in your life before, give this exercise a try. It works. I have been doing this for years and it has brought great changes to my life. Once you figure out how to rewire your brain, you can literally do whatever you want. You can make changes and they will stick. You can recreate yourself and recreate your life.
Until next time…