Since we have started a new year, and that usually involves resolutions on changes and how we will improve ourselves, I thought this would be a good time to share this article written by Extension Educator Michele Crawford.
Often when I talk to adults about self-care the conversation leads to changes people want to make in their life. These changes may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. This seems natural as taking the time to recognize where we do and don’t take care of ourselves builds self-awareness and from awareness blossoms evolution (a.k.a. change).
Many have probably read a quote or two about change being one of the only things we can count on in life. We also know that change can be difficult. People often ask where do I start, how do I get motivated?
When I know I need to make a change and I don’t know where to start, I begin by writing an affirmation that what I’m seeking is already true. Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you visualize and believe in what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life.
Typically, affirmations are written on a regular basis or repeated over and over again either aloud or in the mind. This may be done as a part of prayer, meditation, or while taking a walk or doing chores. Research finds affirmations work very well for some and not so well for others.
Try looking at positive affirmations this way – many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body’s physical health. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind, emotions, and outlook on life. These positive repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that over time we begin to think and act in a new way.
If you would like to give the power of affirmations a try, remember the five Ps:
- Affirm in the present: By keeping your affirmations in the present tense you will ensure your subconscious mind goes to work on them right away. You might start with “I am…”
- Keep them positive: By focusing your words on what you do want, you direct your subconscious mind to work on the positive results you desire. Keep words like no, don’t, and can’t out of your affirmations.
- Keep them personal: Remember, the only beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors you can change is your own!
- Be precise: The more accurately you can describe your desire the better. Envision the best! Describe all the details.
- Be persistent: Positive thoughts create positive actions, and positive actions create positive new habits. This does not happen overnight! Repeat your affirmations every chance you get until you reach your goal.
Not into writing your own, or looking for a little inspiration? For examples of positive affirmations, check out the author and long-time proponent of the use of affirmations, Louise Hay’s website at https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations.
Cheri Burcham is responsible for family life programming in the counties of Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, Shelby and other parts of east central Illinois as needed. Cheri’s emphasis is on healthy lifestyles throughout the life span which include family relationships, communication, caregiving, stress management and human development including early childhood and healthy aging. Her passion is to help people to be their best selves and to promote a healthier, independent older population.