Positive Affirmations : how and why they DO work
Grieving is hard work. Often our bodies take longer than our brains, to process difficult information like a loss. That is why we have embodied grief responses like feeling tired, heavy, depleted, foggy or even sick. This physical state is very real and requires deep rest, self care and time. Sometimes it can take weeks before we feel we can muster enough energy for even a short walk outside or a venture to the local store. Regardless of what grief phase you may find yourself in today, grieving is hard work!
Healing from grief is a great journey. There are moments of feeling inundated with pain and overwhelm, moments of clarity, insight and even hope, and every emotion in-between. Start where you are in this exact moment and know that your healing process can start with something as easy as an affirmation.
Could it really be true that something as simple as repeating a sentence or phrase could help in the grieving process?! I am here to tell you that YES, you can take small, easy steps to help you navigate and shift the trajectory of your grief journey. A positive affirmation is simply a positive thought broken down into a statement that you can repeat several times throughout every day, in moments of doubt, or any time at all. The best affirmations are ones written in your own words, by hand, and placed somewhere where you will see them a lot (like your bedroom wall or bathroom mirror). Affirmations from a book or even found online will work as well.
Science is now backing what a multitude of healers, psychologists, and new age spiritual mentors have been saying for years; affirmations create real, lasting change in the brain, which then informs the body, and spirit. Science has discovered that after a period of time, the way we think (and the thought patterns we have developed) literally carve NEW neuropathways into our brain matter. This is groundbreaking. This means that what we think literally becomes our reality. Therefore, thinking the same positive thought many times per day can (and does) work to alter our reality.
Put simply, our thoughts become beliefs. Our beliefs influence our reality. Our thoughts create our reality. The key is to start noticing your thoughts. Keep a journal, write them down. Do they repeat like a loop in your head? Are they positive or negative? What is a current thought you can transform from a negative into a positive? How can you turn that newly positive thought into an affirmation for yourself? An example would be to shift the negative thought "I can't get through this" into “I am finding strength in myself as I grieve.”
Here’s a few others to start working with for creating your own affirmation:
“I am resilient.”
“I am learning how to embrace my loss.”
"I am open to learning new ways of being."
Rewrite and reword them (and say them aloud), until your body gives you a resounding “Yes! That feels true for me!” Then write it down with pen and paper, put it where you will see it, and set up reminders to repeat it several times a day.
I’d love to hear about your affirmation experiences and thoughts about this post.
Sending you so much love and support in your healing journey.
Additional Resources on Affirmations:
16 Affirmations for Coping with Grief:
How Thoughts Change Your Brain
Neuroscience of Behavior Change