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.

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!