The Power of Positive Affirmations

The beginning of the year can be an opportunity for affirmations and hope. A new year lies ahead, full of possibilities. It’s around this time that we start thinking about what we want to do differently next year. We often think of the goals we’ll finally achieve. This is the year you’ll start meditating every day, do more yoga, run that 5K, or learn how to cook vegetables! When we steer our intention toward positive change, we are empowered to grow.

Factors That Can Impact Our Lives When we Desire Change

  • A study by psychologist Richard Wiseman found that nearly 90 percent of people fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. That’s because willpower is a limited resource, according to scientists. We use it every day for important tasks like impulse control and decision-making. Futhermore, we don’t always have enough left over to accomplish a long list of additional goals.
  • Setting goals requires that we exert willpower to change ourselves from the outside in. But there’s another way! We can gradually shift the way we see ourselves, so that the obstacles begin to dissolve. One way to do that is through positive affirmations.

A Different Approach to Teen Transformation

“Affirmations are a powerful tool that we encourage our teens to practice on a daily basis, sometimes even throughout the day,” says Dr. Michel Mennesson, Psychiatrist at Newport Academy.

“We help teens identify positive statements about themselves,” Dr. Michel explains. “If a teen has eating difficulties and is struggling with her body image and self-love, I might encourage her to do affirmations centered around her body. ‘I am grateful for my arms because they let me hold my Labradors. And, I am grateful for my belly because I’m able to laugh wholeheartedly.’ This is a great opportunity for them to stand in their power and honor their authentic self. Regardless of where they are at, it helps. Affirmations validate strengths and gifts, and encourage them to come to the surface. We see amazing outcomes with these simple practices.

Affirmations to See and Feel

Teens write affirmative statements on their mirrors, on their walls, anywhere that catches their attention that can be a gentle reminder of how incredible they really are. When we visualize positivity we redirect our attention towards self-love and away from self-destructiveness.

Affirmations allow us to visualize our highest self. Small, attainable gems of positivity can really impact one’s sense of self.  This is especially powerful for teens, who are still growing and developing.

Affirmations have the power to strengthen bonds in a group. When teens realize that their peers struggle with similar negative beliefs, they feel less alone. Teens support each other in the process of changing those beliefs. Therefore, the affirmations become that much more meaningful. In addition, when we team up with others to fulfill our goals, it’s that much easier.

Watch Gina, Alumni Services Coordinator, Share her Positivity and Gratitude for Daily Life:

So how can affirmations assist us in reaching our goals, whether in the new year or anytime? Affirmations help us to think of life and our obstacles proactively. If we affirm our strengths on a consistent basis, we are way more likely to have a positive outlook.

Affirmations remind us of the deeper reasons for our goals. In addition, this grounds them more firmly in reality. If your positive affirmation is “I am healthy and strong,” then eating vegetables and training for a 5K become activities that support who you are and who you want to be.

According to Kelly McGonigal, author of the book The Willpower Instinct, “The best kind of resolution is one that has a ‘big why’—to create health, to reconnect with a personal passion, to strengthen an important relationship, to change your financial situation, to develop yourself in some way, or to contribute to others in some way.”

This year, skip the resolutions and instead focus on recognizing and affirming who you are and what you already have. You’ll be surprised by how easy it becomes to create change in your life when you start from a place of strength and positivity.

Learn more about Our Approach to teen mental health struggles and sustainable healing.

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