It’s inevitable…we’re human and at some point in our life, we’re going to experience times of sadness. Sometimes we know the source of our feelings, other times it’s a feeling you can’t quite explain. Either way, it can feel overwhelming!
Affirmations are positive statements that you can repeat over and over (either out loud or in your head) that help to challenge and overcome negative and self-sabotaging thoughts. The more you repeat them and focus on the truth of the statement, especially when facing a struggle, the more you’re able to bring positivity into the situation and find the light at the end of the tunnel. Below I have 7 affirmations I use whenever I’m feeling down but, remember, an affirmation doesn’t have to be a pre-written statement. You can use this list to find an affirmation (or multiple!) that resonates with you or use them as inspiration to come up with your own!
Are you ready to infuse some positivity into your thoughts?!
I give myself permission to feel, even if it's uncomfortable. I know that accepting my feelings leads to healing
We’ve been taught to suppress bad feelings because “they are bad” and “we shouldn’t think like that”. But if you’re anything like me, I usually have little control of what thoughts pop up in my head and that’s okay. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel without judgment. The sooner you accept what is, the closer you are to finding healing.
Nothing lasts forever. Change is coming
A lot of times my thoughts and emotions can get overwhelming; like I’ll never find my way out of this mood. This is my favorite affirmation to hold onto in those times! You know when you’re having the best time with people you love being around, doing one of your all-time favorite activities? No matter how much you wish you could hold on, that fun time won’t last forever. Similarly, when you’re feeling down that feeling won’t last forever either because nothing can last forever. Remember this, too, shall pass.
I am safe and secure. I have everything I need
This is an affirmation I used a lot when I was going through a breakup. At the time, I felt ungrounded. It was like all the things I used to enjoy were taken away from me and I’d never be able to enjoy myself again. I felt like I needed him to be happy again. This affirmation helped me realize the flaws in my way of thinking. I could still do all the things I enjoyed and I could do them alone. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that no one else can make us whole - that is something that can only be found within ourselves. We have everything we need to bring joy and handle the challenges that come our way.
It's only a thought and thoughts can change
It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that my thoughts were just that - a thought. Thoughts are not facts; they’re simply a reaction to how we’re feeling which means if there’s a change in your thoughts, there will be a change in how you feel. Think about it this way - have you ever watched a thriller movie and noted how fast your heart was beating as you anticipated what was going to happen next? It’s almost as if you think you’re in the movie so your body reacts as if you are. You’ve got the cover over your eyes, your palms are sweaty and you’re barely breathing. Your thoughts scream “Don’t go in there!” - you are genuinely terrified! But once the movie is over, you refocus your thoughts on what you’re going to do next and, with little effort, the anxiety lessens. Your heart rate decreases, you release your clenched fists and suddenly it’s like you weren’t just ready to jump out of your seat! Once you change your thoughts, you change how you feel and vice versa.
I give myself permission to do what's best for me
We are programmed to give 110% of ourselves in everything we do. At work, we’re doing our very best to chase the next promotion and earn that top rank on performance reviews. At home, you are the perfect mom and/or partner. It almost feels selfish to want time to just be! Use this as your reminder that it is okay to do what’s best for you, even if that conflicts with something someone else wants. Prioritizing yourself is one of the most important forms of self-love so whether it’s calling off of work for a mental health day or asking your partner to handle your chores for a night so you can catch a breather, it’s okay to do what’s best for you at the moment.
Worrying and complaining do not lead to change
When was the last time you resolved a situation by worrying about it? How about complaining? When was the last time you a problem was resolved thanks to your complaining? I think you get my point. It’s human nature to worry and to complain but I think we can all agree it’s never been the answer to any problem. The next time you find yourself worrying obsessively about something or complaining about something in your life you want to change, stop, take a breath and ask yourself what you can do right now that would be even a small step toward resolution. Sometimes we have to surrender and realize that there are things we simply can’t control and no amount of worrying and complaining will fix that. Sometimes all we can do is accept and take things one step at a time.
I do not need to be fixed. I accept myself just as I am, without judgment
This is probably my all-time favorite affirmation! I’ve always felt different. As early as I can remember, what I wanted more than anything was to fit in. I wanted to be thin, have long, flowy hair, and talk all night about my crush. But that was never me. I grew up in a predominantly White area and I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was dark-skinned, my mom refused to let me wear my hair down and, to top it off, I’d begun to hit puberty way earlier than everyone I knew. I felt like the ugly duckling. This feeling stuck with me into my adulthood and I always struggled with feeling like I needed to “get myself together”. I needed to lose more weight, tame my hair, straighten my smile, apply makeup better…and the more I added to the list of “to do’s”, the more broken I felt. Finally, I broke! I realized I’d never find the “perfection” I was seeking because there’s no such thing. You don’t need to be fixed because you are not broken. You are perfect just as you are!
Tips on creating your own powerful affirmations
- Focus on the positive - For example, “I'm never going to figure this out!” can be transformed to, “I am smart, I am capable and I can do this!”
- Make it personal - Think about something that’s been bothering you lately. Now think of your favorite person to get advice from? What would they tell you? Use that as your affirmation! As an example, my grandmother used to tell me all the time, “If you don’t learn a life lesson, you’ll continue repeating that lesson until you get it.” Little did I know, my grandma was giving me my first affirmation!
- Write your affirmations in the present tense - Depression can be characterized as incessantly thinking about the past while anxiety can be characterized as incessantly thinking about the future. Instead of focusing on what could happen or what has happened, focus on the facts of right now and make sure your affirmations are in the present
- Say it like you mean it! Your mind is so powerful! If you’re constantly telling yourself negative things - “Affirmations don’t work”, “This is silly” - you will believe those negative things. So be careful what you tell yourself and when repeating your affirmations make sure to say it with conviction!
- Use your affirmations often! This isn’t something you create one day and file away in your notebook. You’ll want to repeat your affirmations often. Brushing your teeth in the morning. Getting ready the kids ready for school. In traffic on the way to work. Cooking dinner. You get the point! This is especially true when you’re feeling down because that’s when the negative thought patterns (or your ego) are working in overdrive!