Positive Affirmation: Self Talk your way Through Anxiety
“Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward”
Every person has a voice in their head telling them what to do/feel in any given situation. This is the same voice you’re using to read this post Positive self-talk(ST) and affirmations can be the next step towards overcoming feelings of anxiety. Adding positive affirmations to your daily routine can help you deal with negative thoughts and anxiety. Positive self-talk(ST) influences your actions and helps you set and achieve higher goals in your career and personal relationships. A positive ST routine is part of developing a growth mindset.
What are Positive Affirmations?
A positive affirmation is a phrase that you say to yourself that describes your ideal outcome, or the person you want to be. Turning positive ST into a daily habit will result in your subconscious mind to believe what you say. If you are fortunate enough to have supportive people around you, then you have probably been on the receiving end of many positive affirmations.
How does Positive Self-Talk Help my Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, but becomes an issue when it affects, work, relationships, finances, and decision making. Positive affirmations can help with your anxiety, but also the decisions that you make because of your anxiety.
There was a meta-analysis of 47 medically reviewed studies that proved positive affirmations(ST) to be effective in treating anxiety. The study proved positive ST(e.g. keep calm), was far more effective than negative ST(e.g.There’s no use). An interesting thing is that people who practiced positive ST seen reduced anxiety increased attention span.
Other benefits of positive self-talk include
- Increased Self-Confidence
- Improved Immune System
- Improved Cardiovascular Health
- Reduced Anxiety
- Goal Achievement
- Emotional Regulation
Positive Versus Negative Affirmations
|Scenario||Positive Affirmation||Negative Affirmation|
|Failing a Driving Test||I’ll do better next time||I’ll probably fail|
|Before a presentation||I’m gonna do very well||Who cares|
|Dealing with a setback at work||I am going to learn from this||Everybody will know I’m a screw-up|
|Feeling Anxious||This will be over soon||I’m doomed|
|Getting a Makeover||I’m gonna feel so good after||I’m not worth it|
Here are some positive affirmations you can practice saying to yourself every day:
- Today, I will learn and grow from the challenges I face
- Many people realize my worth
- I will release myself from panic
- My breaths are deep and refreshing
- Every day will get me closer to my goals
- I am lovable
- I am responsible and can stand up for myself
- Every setback is a challenge to make me stronger
- My Life is just starting
- I deserve to be happy
- I deserve to be respected
This video below has many helpful examples of spoken word affirmations for anxiety.
Causes of Negative Self-Talk
Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author of The How of Happiness, says that pessimistic ST can be related to genetics, but most of the time negative self-talk is learned. Research from the Journal of Family Psychology shows that children growing up with parents that have anxious self-talk are more likely to have negative self-talk patterns in the future. Having poor self-talk patterns is a symptom of having an anxiety disorder.
The high anxiety and stress levels caused by panic attacks may cause you to feel intense fears that are irrational. Panic attacks are able to alter your perception, making you feel as if the worst-case scenario is about to happen. For instance, people with a social anxiety disorder may feel nervous meeting new people at a party. People finding themselves in that situation may believe that nobody finds them interesting, or thinks highly of them.
Negative self-talk can stem from childhood. Unfortunately, many people grew up with verbally abusive authority figures. An abusive childhood is one of the leading factors for anxiety risk.
You can take an Adverse Childhood Experiences(ACE) quiz to measure the types of abuse that you may have endured during childhood. An Ace score of 4 or more is when things start getting serious.
This could stem from being raised by a parent that screams, insults, shamed, negatively compares and threatens their children. A good place to read is the Reddit forum ¨raised by narcissists¨ for more examples, and a community you may relate to.
Once your anxiety is affecting your ability to lead a happy functional life, it’s time to speak to a medical professional or therapist. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America affecting over 40 million Americans. Thus, 20% of Americans struggle with some kind of anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders listed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Selective Mutism