Affirmations - Mental and Emotional Self-Care

The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018

Mental and Emotional Self-Care

Positive thinking has gotten a lot of flak from the mainstream media and pundits for being a fluffy way to try to effect change. At the same time, however, studies in psychology analyze how hearing negative talk over and over can damage the development of the young psyche. Negative self-talk can do similar damage. Thought patterns can impact your health. Rewiring your brain by repeating something is easy to do…it just happens most often that you do it unintentionally and in a negative fashion. The mind is a powerful thing, and it is very open to suggestion.

Here’s the thing: you are the person who speaks to yourself most often. You hear yourself speak more than anyone else in the world. So be kind to yourself.

Our self-talk is often punishingly hard. It’s aggressive, condescending, bullying, abusive, and downright mean. If someone spoke that way to another person, you’d be shocked, horrified, perhaps moved to intervene. So why don’t we recognize it in ourselves?

Well, for one thing, it’s all internal, and most of the time we don’t notice.

It can be very difficult to retrain your inner voice to be nurturing. Sometimes thinking of yourself as a child can help. “Did that hurt?” you can ask yourself. “It looks like it did. It’s okay. It hurts, but it will be over soon. Hey, look at that pretty butterfly. I wonder where it’s going right now?” Just as you’d affirm a child’s emotion and then help redirect their attention from the subject that’s upsetting them, you can redirect your own focus too. There are lots of exercises about mindfulness in this book; working on being in the moment and letting thoughts flow past you without getting caught up in them is training that helps immensely with handling negative self-talk.

Affirmations are another handy, easy way to address negative self-talk. An affirmation is a positive statement that reinforces a desired goal or circumstance or that counters something negative. If you catch yourself criticizing something you said or did, a decision you made, or something you failed to do, take a moment to clear your mind, take a couple of slow breaths, and repeat an affirmation like one of these simple, one-sentence affirmations:

I am allowed to make mistakes.

I made a decision, one among many. It is past.

I will do better next time.

I am right where I need to be.

I am enough.

I have the power to change myself and my world.

Is saying a simple sentence going to change things just like that? Alas, it’s not that easy. It’s the repetition that’s key. By repeating positive affirmations like these and others, you can start to rewire your brain to be more positive, optimistic, and confident.

If you learn well by writing things out, write out your affirmation(s) in your self-care journal. Don’t use too many at once; work on two or three at a time, maximum, then move on to another set after a month or two.