All individuals possess emotions and experience them to varying degrees based on different situations. Among the most fundamental emotions are happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise, fear and anger. Whenever one feels happy, they tend to notice their surroundings and deduce that the situation pleases them. Conversely, when someone feels sad, they tend to seek solitude and lack excitement regarding their surroundings.
📝 All articles on Wysa are reviewed by mental healthcare professionals before publication, who check that the content is thorough and accurate, and references the latest evidence-based research. Learn more.
Most of the time, people do not experience these emotions in their purest form. Instead, individuals experience emotions in variations that are subjective to them. For instance, feeling ecstatic could signify feeling happy and excited and indicates to the individual to continue their current course of action while sadness implies a loss, necessitating grief. Fear is another emotion that everyone experiences differently, and can manifest as being scared, insecure, threatened, frightened, or anxious in the presence of danger.
Generally, individuals would subconsciously evaluate how they feel based on prior experiences and their perceptions of their surroundings. For instance, before conducting a presentation in front of a lot of people, one may feel anxious or stressed due to the fear of ridicule, and on the other hand, another person might feel excitement or enthusiasm for sharing their ideas during the presentation.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a commonly identified emotion among individuals. According to WHO, approximately 301 million people globally had generalized anxiety disorder in 2019. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear or unease about the future or uncertain events and is usually experienced in stressful situations. While anxiety is a common response to stress and can even sometimes facilitate productivity, excessive or prolonged anxiety can make it difficult to function in daily life.
Anxiety can manifest through physical symptoms such as trembling, and increased heart rate and also in the way we talk to ourselves. For instance, before a presentation, one may have negative thoughts such as, “You are not good at this, you are going to embarrass yourself” These thoughts can significantly impact our subsequent actions and behaviours in a negative way.
Trying to discourage negative self talk and learning to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones, is one way to deal with anxiety.
What are affirmations?
Affirmations are positive statements that can be used to promote positive thinking. It is a powerful psychological tool that is highly recommended by therapists and psychologists. Studies have shown that positive affirmations can be helpful to overcome anxiety and improve overall well-being.
The effects of self-affirmation can strongly impact one’s behaviours and attitudes. The right affirmations can be powerful in the face of daily challenges that one can face. If you have a therapist, you can work with them to create positive affirmations for anxiety relief or for whatever situation you are dealing with. Let’s explore that a little more.
How do I start practising affirmations?
Getting started with affirmations is easy and can be practiced anytime and anywhere. Having said that, it is important to note that while creating affirmations can be fairly simple, practising them consistently is what can actually have beneficial long term impacts. Let’s look at the steps.
- To begin with, find a time in the day for practising affirmations. It is generally advised to set aside time in the morning or before going to bed at night.
- Once you find affirmations that resonate with you, repeat them to yourself as many times as you need to. Say it out loud or repeat it in your mind, whichever works for you.
- It also helps to write down the affirmation and place it somewhere it is visible to you. This can be at your desk, on your phone, or even a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.
- Another step you can take is noting down some of your favorite positive affirmations that can be applicable to your everyday life. For example, “I am brave.”, or “I love every part of myself.” are statements that can really help in building your self-esteem.
- Lastly, there are tons of online self help tools, like Wysa, that have affirmation exercises. These include audio tools or even just jotting them down in the journal. You can download the app and try it for free.
Can I create my own affirmations?
The simple answer is yes. In fact, personalized positive affirmations can be even more helpful as it is tailor made for your specific needs and concerns. Creating your own positive affirmations is all about being with yourself in the present moment and paying attention to what you are feeling. Is there fear? Is there sadness? Can you think of a positive statement to respond to it?
Start by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Then, identify the negative thoughts that are floating around in your head that is causing difficulty in your life. For example, you may be thinking, “I will never find anyone.” The first thing you need to remind yourself of here is that thoughts are only a thought, and not facts. You can challenge these thoughts by thinking of positive statements that resonate with you and provides a more helpful perspective. For example, the positive affirmation here can be, “I trust that the right person will come into my life when and if the time is right.” Repeat these affirmations out loud or silently to yourself a few times to help reinforce them in your mind.
View this post on Instagram
Do positive affirmations for anxiety actually work?
Research shows that positive affirmations can be very effective for anxiety relief and can also help in mitigating stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
- A 2017 study found that even though self-affirmations did not have any immediate effect, a follow-up found that self-affirmed individuals reported significantly less discomfort, anxiety, and distress with regard to a variety of social behaviours.
- Evidence shows that self-affirmation impacts the sympathetic nervous system and helps mitigate stress.
- Another 2021 study at the City University of New York found that self-affirmation was successful in reducing anxiety with math and improving the math efficacy of college students.
- A randomised control trial found that interventions involving the affirmation of personal values can buffer psychological stress responses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A study conducted on heart patients in Indonesia showed that for those suffering from coronary heart disease, positive affirmations reduced anxiety and also helped in preventing damage to heart muscle cells.
Positive affirmations to challenge any anxious thoughts before starting your day
Affirmations can provide reassurance and help you start the day with a positive mindset. Sometimes, the day ahead might seem overwhelming or even monotonous and can cause anxious thoughts to creep up. Affirmations can help ground you and remind you of what you have in control. Here are some short positive affirmations you can practice to start your day:
“I am grateful to wake up and start my day.”
“Today is going to be a good day.”
“I am prepared and ready to take on the day.”
“I am ready to take on any challenges that come my way. I got this.”
“I love myself for who I am.”
“I let go of my worries.”
“I am brave and strong.”
“I release the past and embrace the present.”
“I am doing what I can, and that is good enough.”
Positive affirmations for anxiety relief at work
Everyday work can bring about a lot of stressors and feelings of anxiety. It could be triggered due to so many different things such as lack of motivation, procrastination, being unable to focus and a myriad of other things. Work-related anxiety can often make us feel inadequate and can trigger imposter syndrome as well. However, positive affirmations can provide relief from such feelings and help get through the day. Here are some positive affirmations for anxiety relief you can use while at work.
“I have the skills and capability to handle my work today.”
“I trust my ability to meet my targets.”
“I am proud of the work I have accomplished.”
“I forgive myself for any mistakes I may have made.”
“I have completed similar tasks in the past, and I can do it again.”
“I am doing my very best, and that is enough.”
“I am focused, determined, and confident in my work.”
“I will face any obstacles and continue to work towards success.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work and grow everyday.”
Positive affirmations for anxiety before going to bed
Although bedtime is usually a time people look forward to, sleeping can be difficult on occasion due to various factors, including the fear of not being able to sleep or racing negative thoughts about you being unable to shut off. You can try incorporating positive affirmations into your bedtime routine to help you feel calm and relaxed. Here are some affirmations that can encourage positive thoughts that can help you sleep in peace.
“I am allowing myself to sleep peacefully.”
“I will wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.”
“I release all my worries and anxieties before going to sleep.”
“I trust my body to rest when it needs to.”
“I surrender to the power of rest and rejuvenation.”
“I am grateful for the day I had, and I trust that tomorrow will be just as good.”
“I am proud of how I conducted myself today, and I deserve a good night’s sleep.”
“I trust that I have done all that I needed to do today, and now it’s time to rest.”
“I will wake up feeling energized and ready to take on a new day.”
Positive affirmations for anxiety relief during the holidays
The holidays can often trigger stress and anxiety for many of us. Being around a large number of people can be overwhelming. For those who suffer from social anxiety, it can be particularly triggering. It can help to note down or think about anxiety affirmations that can help counter your anxious thoughts during this time. Here are some positive affirmations for anxiety relief during the holidays:
“I am safe and secure around my loved ones.”
“Although it may feel difficult at times, I know that this feeling will not last forever and I will overcome it.”
“I am surrounded by love and positivity.”
“I love myself and that is enough.”
“I have the power to choose when and if I want to speak up.”
“I do not need validation from others.”
“I will allow myself to feel what I am feeling.”
“I will choose to stay silent if I want to.”
“I will be here as long as it is comfortable and I will leave when I want to”
“I am grateful for being where I am”
Photo by Mikhail Nilov