I was gearing up for an important presentation when I realized I had practiced as much as I could. What I needed wasn’t a fourth or fifth run-through of my slides, but a good, old-fashioned pep talk.
The only problem was that there were five minutes left before I was due to meet with the stakeholders. The pep talk would have to come from me.
So I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and looked in the mirror. It felt silly to talk to my reflection at first. But the more I revved myself up, the more self-assured I became.
“I’ve done the research on this topic, and I’m prepared to share it,” I said. “I’m an effective communicator. People want to hear from me. My ideas matter.”
I’ll admit, the presentation wasn’t without awkward stutters or sweaty palms. But I remained confident through the entirety of the thirty-minute PowerPoint. Looking back, I know I have my positive affirmations to thank.
Positive affirmations, sometimes called mantras, are empowering statements that can provide motivation, encouragement, and reassurance.
There’s scientific evidence that they work. That’s why positive affirmations for work are useful for increasing your productivity.
One research in 2016 found that self-affirmation can both dampen pain and help people to maintain balance during threats—even a high-stakes PowerPoint presentation.
Need a morale boost? Here are 9 of my favorite positive affirmations for work.
1. I Am Courageous to Face My Fears
First in this list of positive affirmations for work is telling yourself that you are courageous to face your fears.
Reaching your goals isn’t exactly a cakewalk. I re-learn that every time I give a high-stakes presentation or have a hard but productive conversation with a client or colleague. But courageously facing these intimidating scenarios propels you toward the career and life you envision and strengthens you in the process.
Don’t quite feel courageous yet? No problem. Take yourself by the hand and give yourself the pep talk you wish someone else would give you. You’ve done hard things before, and you can do hard things now.
2. I Have Drive and Motivation to Pursue My Goals
Perhaps you’re not into the project you’re working on at the moment. Maybe you’ve lost your zest for work altogether. No matter what’s zapping your energy, you can regain the motivation you’ve lost and channel it toward your strategic vision.
To do that, you’ll need to remind yourself that the drive you need to get things done doesn’t come from the outside. It comes from inside of you. Tell yourself that you can muster up the motivation needed to do your job well. (And, if needed, go take a walk and get some fresh air!)
3. I Can Transform Obstacles Into Opportunities to Better Myself
Whether you’re facing rejection, dealing with a new stressor, or on a tight deadline, obstacles at work can quickly drain your morale. But these difficult experiences don’t have to dictate your mood or your motivation, especially if you shift your perspective and remind yourself about the positive things obstacles have to offer.
Anytime you’re feeling discouraged at work, affirm to yourself that your current struggles are opportunities to learn, grow, and improve yourself. Once you wrap your mind around the importance of obstacles in personal development, you might find yourself growing less discouraged in the face of stress.
4. I Am an Example of Integrity, Even When No One Is Looking
Without a doubt, integrity is the trait I value most in others and myself. Great ideas, the perfect skill set, and all the right connections only get you so far. What really propels people ahead is character—when they do the right thing even when no one is looking.
That said, it’s not always easy to do the right thing. To remind yourself that integrity has a huge payoff—even if it doesn’t seem that way at the moment and even if other people around you aren’t conducting themselves with the same honesty and values you are.
Give yourself a pep talk about the importance of character regularly.
5. I Am More Effective When I Take Breaks for Self-Care
Stress is a common and expected experience in any job. But there’s a fine line between stress and burnout.
When stress becomes all-consuming and gives way to cynicism and hatred towards your job, you simply won’t be the productive, effective person you want to be.
To stave off stress and prevent burnout, remind yourself that taking time off for self-care (or simply integrating breaks into your day) isn’t lazy or selfish, but an important way to make sure you can keep doing your job with excellence. Positive affirmations for work go a long way to avoiding burnouts.
6. I Am Fueled by Passion for What I Do, Not the Desire to Prove Something
All of us are hard-wired to seek approval. And all of us have superiors, colleagues, and other people we want to impress. But when we’re motivated by “measuring up” or pleasing others, our work won’t be genuine—and, as a result, it won’t be as effective.
When I feel the itch to prove myself to others, I take time to remind myself that I started my company because I’m passionate about helping people with the product I created. Usually, that affirmation takes me back to my inner compass, which empowers me to make wiser decisions and, in the long-term, makes me far happier.
7. I Possess the Humility Needed to Ask Questions and Keep Learning
The best advice my college mentor ever gave me was this:
Never be too proud to ask questions.
Since then, I’ve prioritized asking questions about whatever makes me curious, even if it makes me look silly. Doing so has been a major help in my career, especially when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired.
Whether you’re curious about how something works or don’t understand someone’s instructions, remember that the answer to your question could bridge the gap between you and your career goals.
So, make a regular practice of affirming that humility isn’t a weakness, but a sign that you’re motivated to learn and grow into the person you want to become.
8. No One Is Better at My Job Than I Am
Thanks to LinkedIn and other social media outlets, it’s never been easier to keep tabs on what your college roommate or old colleague is up to, which means it’s also easier than ever to feel like you don’t measure up. Imposter syndrome is one example of how this insecurity manifests.
If you’ve ever struggled with imposter syndrome—feeling like you don’t deserve your role or, worse, someone else would be better at it—focus on affirming that you belong exactly where you are.
Remind yourself that you’re in your specific role for a reason and that your experiences, skills, and the relationships you’ve built make you the best person for the job, no matter what anyone else around you is up to.
9. My Work Has Purpose and Transforms People’s Lives
It’s easy to lose sight of why your work is important. But positive affirmations for work can help you get back on track.
This disconnect can lead to loss of motivation and, ultimately, dissatisfaction at work. Take back your passion by reminding yourself of all the positive ways your work will impact people.
Maybe you’re on a team creating a product to make people’s lives more efficient. Maybe you brighten people’s day by serving coffee or food. In either case, you’re tangibly helping someone, and it’s important to remind yourself of that.
Doing so regularly can help refresh your “purpose” mindset, which in turn helps you to become more passionate, innovative, and committed at work—all of which will help propel you forward toward your goals.
Everyone faces problems in life and at work, and most people may lose morale at some point. But the important thing is how you face your problems. These positive affirmations for work are great starting points to helping yourself regain motivation and morale when facing setbacks.
More Positive Affirmations for Work
We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.
The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Living in the Moment
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.
Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:
By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.
Improve Your Relationships
Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?
Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.
How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.
By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.
You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.
Why Do We Worry?
Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.
When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.
Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.
Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.
3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment
Step 1: Overcome Worrying
In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:
Calm Your Mind
When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.
The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.
In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.
Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems
Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.
People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.
If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.
Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment
In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.
Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.
You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.
If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.
Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past
None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.
So how do most people cope with painful emotions?
By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.
In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.
Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.
A Wandering Mind
From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.
Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.
Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.
Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.
Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.
Step 3: Practice Mindfulness
So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?
Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.
The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.
When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality.
You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.
This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.
To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.
If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.
You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.
Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.
Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.
You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.
This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article:
While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.
You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.
Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)
Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?
Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?
Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.
You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.
In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.
You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.
Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.
The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.
Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.
So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:
- Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
- Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
- Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.
You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating
Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.
Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.
You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.
Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.
Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.
The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.