To understand how to use health affirmations, you have to have a clear understanding of what they are.
Affirmations are simple and concise positive sentences that are written and said in the present tense. They are meant to dispel any negative thought loops that may creep into your mind. Therefore, they’re creating new thinking patterns that gravitate toward positivity, inspiration, and motivation.
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What Are Health Affirmations?
Health affirmations, in particular, are simply affirmations centered around your health: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. You can imagine how this can be an incredible game-changer when we think about our health regimen.
We are often too hard on ourselves and lose steam when we’re working out or hitting a plateau on our weight loss journey. Implementing affirmations steers us away from digging ourselves deeper into the negative “rabbit hole.”
It alters the direction of our mind into a more positive mental state, which helps us deal with depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses.
The Science Behind Health Affirmations
Affirmations have a long-standing in the psychology field. A renowned U.S. psychologist Claude Steele coined the term Self-Affirmation Theory that empowers our understanding of affirmations today.
Steele’s theory claims that everyone is motivated to uphold some view of themselves, be it as moral, competent, strong, and/or capable human beings. This self-affirmation enables us to essentially maintain our drive to be happy, healthy, and better people.
When external circumstances arise that challenge this view, we fall into what Steele calls “psychological discomfort.” We can think of this today as depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. They all stem from this imbalance of how we self-affirm who we are.
Steele also argued that the self-affirmation theory is not about creating a sense of perfection of who we are. It’s about nurturing the things we’re passionate about and where we find value, and exercising a sense of flexibility and deeper understanding in those areas.
Benefits of Using Health Affirmations
As I previously mentioned, words carry energy and power. Like anything worth pursuing, however, affirmations still require practice.
You will get the most benefit out of them if you practice them consistently. For some, this is an everyday ritual. For others, it’s on an “as needed” basis, when they feel like they need an energetic “pick-me-up.”
The health benefits vary greatly; health affirmations have been known to reduce health-related stress. This is because we’re changing the mental mindset.
If we can introduce powerful and positive statements to the way we think, that will create a ripple throughout the body. In turn, the physical body can only prosper and thrive.
Think of the body as one seamless machine that can only operate efficiently if all of the parts are working together. When the mind is in a positive place, the body follows, and vice versa.
How to Use Health Affirmations for Your Physical and Mental Health
Health affirmations serve best when said out loud, in the present tense, and with positivity.
Some people like to say them before they meditate or while meditating to help anchor their thoughts into their mindfulness. Others like to say them while working out or when they feel challenged in an exercise regiment.
The affirmations help guide them back to their center and to why this regiment matters in the first place. It’s a powerful shift in perspective!
Another empowering and healing way to use health affirmations is by stating them to yourself in front of a mirror. By seeing yourself and meeting your own gaze, your affirmations are intensified.
Imagine that you are sending yourself these words and that the energy of them are cleansing, healing, and supporting you. If you’re starting this practice for the first time, it may feel awkward, forced, and inauthentic. Keep going and saying them, anyway!
Decades of poor mental self-talk is not something that can be reversed overnight. By continuing your practice with health affirmations, you are not just re-building the way you self-affirm who you are, you are also learning how to be deserving of who you are. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
Below is a list of powerful health affirmations that you can choose from, for your physical and mental health:
- I am happy, healthy, safe, and free.
- I trust my own wisdom.
- I listen to my intuition; it always steers me right.
- I believe in myself.
- My body is healthy and thriving.
- I am strong and capable of great things.
- I am loved and supported.
- I am exactly where I need to be.
- I choose to be happy.
- I fully accept and love myself.
- I am resilient, strong, and brave.
- I am doing my best, and my best is enough.
- When I fall, I am motivated to get back up.
- I am brave and not afraid to keep going.
- I am safe and protected.
- This, too, shall pass.
- I am the sky, not the clouds.
- I love you (do this one as you gaze at yourself in the mirror).
- I am beautiful.
- I am on a journey, ever-growing and developing.
There are many sources from where you can gather more affirmations. Mindfulness experts such as Louise Hay have a page on their website dedicated solely to affirmations that are designed for you to pull every day.
There are also phone applications, such as Think Up and Kwippy, that offer a randomized pop-up of affirmations daily.
No matter where you find your affirmations, the magic is in how they make you feel. Over time, these words will become powerful bursts of energy that you’ll feel in every area of your body. If that doesn’t happen right away, don’t allow it to discourage you. After all, it’s still a practice.
Lastly, affirmations truly thrive when you can come up with them yourself. If you can create a short sentence on your own, you’re closer to its healing since it’s coming directly from the source: you!
Health affirmations are short and concise sentences that are said out loud, in the present tense, and a state of positivity. Not only does this practice shift the way we think, but it also ripples through to the physical body, creating everlasting change for our optimal health.
It may sound too good to be true that simple words can have such an effect, but our mind is a vast network of spectacular possibilities. If we can change the way we think with the words we choose to use, our entire idea of health can radically change.
More Positive Affirmations
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.