The Power of Affirmation

The last time I posted, I wrote about the impact setting an intention for the new year could have for you. Words have power, and with this in mind let’s talk about positive affirmations.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a positive affirmation is a simple phrase or statement you create and use to help you stay focused, overcome challenges, or fight against negative thoughts. It usually starts with “I am ___________,” and it’s up to you to decide how to fill in the blank. Positive affirmations should be about your character traits, not your physical ones. While a positive impact can still be felt by just bringing your affirmation to mind, it is more impactful for you to speak it out loud – even if it is only said as a whisper. It can be even more powerful if you are able to look at yourself in the mirror while repeating your affirmations. Take it one step further, visualize yourself being exactly what you are saying out loud, and then embrace that truth for your life.

If you are looking to incorporate the power of positive affirmations into your life, here are some tips to support you:

  1. Keep it simple. You can use an “I am” statement as described above or even just a phrase like “I work hard.” What’s important is that the focus is on you. Be sure to create your affirmation using the word I.
  2. Affirmations are all about you. This is why an affirmation should look like, “I am a good mother,” versus “I have good children.”
  3. Find ways to use your affirmation(s) multiple times throughout the day. Put them on sticky notes and hang them on your mirror, in your work space, and/or by your bed – but don’t just read them! Remember, speaking them out loud makes it more impactful and meaningful. You can also set a reminder on your phone so that you can pause whatever you’re doing for 30 seconds to speak your affirmation out loud.

As we journey through May and Mental Health Awareness month, try developing one or two positive affirmations for yourself and practice using them. My personal favorite is, “I am capable,” which I often say after taking a deep breath. Share your favorite affirmation in the comments. It will further cement it in your psyche and can serve as an inspiration to someone else. I look forward to reading them.

Setting Your Intention

Welcome to 2022! The last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride, and we are entering a new year with the pandemic still casting its shadow across our globe. For many people, the start of the new year is a time to create resolutions such as, “I am going to be a better person.” For others, they create specific goals for the new year such as, “I am going to work out at least three days per week.” This year, I suggest you try adopting an intention to guide you over the next 365 days (minus the few that have already occurred).

Why choose an intention over a resolution or a goal? Resolutions and goals are both focused on personal lack. To create the resolution or goal, you must first reflect and determine what is missing in your life or what needs to be improved. Resolutions and goals are also grounded in your achievements. If something happens that prevents you from accomplishing that achievement, you can end up feeling discouraged, disappointed, or even depressed. You start looking at yourself as having failed which can open the door for you to then focus your attention on other failures. This negative way of viewing yourself is unhealthy and will hinder your ability to flourish.

On the other hand, choosing an intention creates a positive focus point on which to build the foundation for your year. An intention keeps you grounded and present and at the same time it allows for you to practice self-care and self-love in a variety of ways. An intention allows for flexibility and forgiveness. Intentions start with your relationship with yourself which will then impact your relationships with others. Intentions are designed to help you feel empowered because they help create a shift in your thinking – which is something you can control – versus your circumstances – which is something you cannot control. Once you have set your intention, you can still set goals, but the intention helps you to remember that the journey along the way is just as important as the final destination.

For 2022, my intention is “Be.” I have always been a goal-oriented person. Although I have developed my practice of being content in my current circumstances, I also am constantly thinking about the next goal I want to achieve or milestone I want to reach. This personality trait has made the last couple of years difficult for me as many of my goals had to be altered, postponed, or discarded altogether (such as my goal of running 20 races in the year 2020). At the beginning of 2021, I set my intention of “Balance.” With all that had occurred in 2020, it was important for me to reset myself. So all throughout the year, I tried to keep this intention of Balance at the forefront of the decisions that I made. This helped me to be more patient with myself as the world continued to be a very confusing place. Working towards Balance is also why this year my intention is to Be. Whatever the situation, I want to be in it. Be Kind. Be Love. Be Hope. Just Be.

What is your intention for 2022? Please feel free to share it in the comments below. If you are looking for support in creating your intention and other strategies to help you be your best self, visit my website to see what services I offer. Together, we can make 2022 the best year possible. #icanhelp

Holiday Season Self-Care

While the holiday season is often full of fun gatherings and celebrating, this time of year can also be stressful and overwhelming for many reasons. It is important to be able to acknowledge this fact and then explore ways that can help you navigate through this time of year.

There are many reasons why the holidays might not be the most wonderful time of the year for people. Schedules getting uprooted, numerous social events happening, and the pressure of finding the perfect gift are just a few of them. Because of Covid, many families also grapple with the added worry around how to visit safely with our family and loved ones. It is also not uncommon for the holidays to be a triggering event for people due to trauma they experienced around/during or because of the holidays, and for those remembering the loss of a loved one the holidays can feel empty because that person is gone.

So, how do we best manage the next couple of weeks so that the holiday season doesn’t leave us feeling defeated or depressed? We need to put taking care of ourselves at the top of our Christmas list. Here are just a few ideas for how to do that:

  • Guard your schedule. It’s okay to not attend every single social function that you are invited to – especially this year. With so many trying to “make up” for the holiday experiences they missed out on last year, it seems like everyone is gathering even more. While being with others is fun, it can also be stressful. Be sure to give yourself downtime throughout this busy season so that you don’t feel burned out.
  • Not everyone needs a gift. One of the best things about last holiday season was that we remembered the most important part of the holidays was just being able to be together. Let’s not forget that this year. You don’t need to buy a gift for every single friend, co-worker, or even family member. Let’s remember that the gift of being together is the best gift of all.
  • Don’t feel pressured to attend events that cause you stress versus joy. Not every gathering is healthy, and if you know that there are people attending who might trigger negative reactions within yourself or that the environment might be unhealthy for you, it’s okay to skip it. Family dinner at Christmas or the holiday office party are not the best times to try to unravel hurts or air grievances, but attending these events while trying to keep your emotions suppressed will only cause you more emotional trauma. Choosing to not participate in triggering situations isn’t selfish, it’s practicing self-care.

As the 2021 holiday season is ramping up to its full height, I hope that you give to yourself the same love and support that you are extending to others. Happy Holidays!