Why are Affirmations So Powerful?

A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine, and Cynthia de Lorenzi, co-authors, Your 2021 What’s Next Journal: There’s nothing quite so powerful as affirmations — those one-sentence thoughts that open your heart, keeps you smiling, and often gets you through the day.

But why are they so effective? As most women know, there is magic in science and science in magic. So we turn to Positive Psychologist and MBA Catherine Moore for insight. “Science-based MRI evidence suggests certain neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks,” she explains in her article, Positive Affirmations: Is There Science Behind It?

Here’s how Affirmations work:

  • The goal: Positive statements motivate, encourage positive changes, and boost self-esteem.
  • The process: When you find yourself getting caught in negative self-talk, positive affirmations can be used to replace subconscious patterns with adaptive narratives.
  • The science: This is called Self-Affirmation Theory, which posits that “people have a fundamental motivation to maintain self-integrity, perception of themselves as good, virtuous, and able to predict and control important outcomes. In virtually all cultures and historical periods, there are socially shared conceptions of what it means to be a person of self-integrity, which means that one perceives oneself as living up to a culturally specified conception of goodness, virtue, and agency.” Self-affirmation theory examines how people maintain self-integrity when this perception of the self is threatened.
  • Three key ideas are underpinning it:
    • Self-identity: This is not about being exceptional, perfect, or excellent. We need to be competent and adequate in different areas that we personally value to be moral, flexible, and good.
    • Self-integrity: By acting in ways that authentically merit acknowledgment and praise. We don’t say something like, “I’m a responsible mother,” to receive that praise. We say it because we want to deserve that praise for acting consistently with that particular value.
    • Self-affirmation: We keep a global narrative about ourselves in which we are flexible, moral, and capable of adapting to different circumstances, which makes up our self-identity. This is not the same as having a rigid and strictly defined self-concept (a wife, daughter, writer, etc.) In this flexible state, we can see ourselves as adopting a range of different roles and identities — and we can define success in different ways, too!

What are your affirmations for 2021? In Your 2021 What’s Next Journal, authors Hope Katz Gibbs and Cynthia de Lorenzi, and designer Cindy Seip, have reached out to dozens of women worldwide to learn about their positive self-talk. They’ll be sharing that magic in an upcoming video on Inkandescent.tv.

Until then, here’s a little guidance: Whether you are new to the practice or are a pro at reciting affirmations to yourself daily (yes, we walk around talking to ourselves, too), Cynthia has crafted 108 prompts to inspire your Affirmations (scroll down for those). Here are a few of our daily affirmations:

  • Hope’s favorite: I can do this!
    • I am loved. I am creative. I am kind. I am brave.
    • I breathe in three times deeply and exhale all fear, worry, and doubt.
    • I am calm and collected. Nobody can disturb my peace.
  • Cynthia sharesEach day, I am filled with creative and inspiring ideas for painting images that delight and inspire others!
    • Abundance, happiness, and inspiration in all aspects of life flow easily into my life!
    • I deeply and easily breathe in positive energy, which fuels my life and body and creates the perfect environment for robust health!
    • I am safe and make excellent choices for my life and my body!
  • Cindy says: That’s nice!
    • She explains: “I say this whenever something worries, bugs or concerns me. I say aloud, ‘That’s nice.’ And for some reason, those two words carry power and make me feel better immediately. It’s magical.”

Here’s to inner peace, full-throttle joy, and an amazing new year full of love.Your 2021 What’s Next Journal team