Here's a technique you may not have thought to add to your recovery tool kit: talking to yourself.
Peer groups, support systems and confidantes are great, even critical, but it's good to have a productive chat one on one—with yourself—every so often as well. As you'll sometimes hear in recovery circles, "you have to do it for yourself," so it makes sense to check in with that self on how it's going, and keep that self motivated to keep it going.
Living a fulfilling life, in recovery or not, starts with how you regularly speak to yourself. Introducing empowering thoughts encourages you to be proactive and hopeful throughout your days—which can be tough in recovery, sometimes. But maintaining an appreciative and upbeat demeanor helps put the pep in your step on your path to recovery.
What Are Affirmations?
Positive self-affirmations are generic or personal statements or mantras that serve to inspire, motivate and uplift you. This type of positive self-talk has actually been researched and proven to benefit your physical, mental and emotional well-being for short- and long-term health.
You have no shortage of things to commend yourself for: Recovery takes courage, discipline, willpower, determination and confidence, and if you're doing it, you have these qualities. You should be proud, and you should say it.
But at times, it helps to remind yourself of your many fine qualities, to tell yourself you are strong. That's where affirmations come in, and there are many ways to incorporate them into the daily life of your mind.
Why Should I Do This Stuff?
When practiced consistently, positive self-affirmation can improve your overall quality of life by boosting feelings of optimism. There are significant emotional and physical benefits to regularly filling yourself with motivational and self-compassionate statements.
You may find benefits such as …
1) Increased Vitality and Physical Activity
One of the most exciting benefits of self-affirmation is that regular positive self-talk can increase your overall sense of vitality. Which is a start! This, in turn, can get you moving, doing whatever physical activities you enjoy. Making the effort to move your body naturally reduces stress and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
2) Decreased Risk of Heart Disease and Other Conditions
Positive affirmations can also decrease the risk of heart disease and other debilitating conditions of the mind and body. Increased optimism contributes to reduced stress, and eliminating excess stress is very good indeed for your physical health, mental well-being and overall quality of life.
3) Increased Happiness
By instilling yourself with confidence-building words of encouragement and inspiration, you can enhance your experience of happiness and positive feelings. Increasing positive feelings has a ripple effect across all areas of your life, bringing a sense of brightness and hope to your situation.
4) Increased Ability To Manage Stress
Perhaps the most pivotal benefit of positive self-talk is that it can cool down stress and improve your ability to cope with stressors. Stress is a primary contributor to most physical and mental diseases. Particularly for someone in recovery, stress management is vital to helping you move through life with ease and courage.
Who knew that something as simple as speaking kindly to yourself could have so many lasting benefits in all areas of your life?
How Do I Come Up With Some Affirmations?
So, let's create some affirmations. What to say? Some key points to remember when establishing your mantras:
- Make them empowering.
- Make them believable and achievable.
- Make them simple.
You should create affirmations that are meaningful and empowering to you, of course, so that you'll use them!
Want to go a step further? When we add goals to our affirmations and remind ourselves of our ability to achieve, we are essentially coaching ourselves to do better and reach our version of success. Breaking these goals into smaller, more manageable steps and "wins" can boost morale and increase your chances of everyday satisfaction.
Keeping your affirmations simple makes them easy to remember and repeat. This repetition should shift your mindset toward the more positive in all aspects of life.
Practice, Practice, Practice (Affirmations): How To Use Them
Here are some ways to practice your affirmations and make them part of your daily routine.
1) Say Them Out Loud
Saying your affirmations out loud can make them more believable. Hearing your own voice stating these optimistic and empowering thoughts makes them sound and feel more realistic. Some people do this in front of a mirror for similar reasons. You can also go the extra mile and make it zany by singing your mantras, dancing along or whatever else makes you feel good about them.
2) Write Them Down
OK, you don't want to dance out your mantras today, fine. Some people like to see things written out, and writing your positive affirmations can support that learning style. You can choose to write them down and revisit them every day, or you can write new ones for each day. Some people also write their mantras on their mirrors with markers, or put them on sticky notes around the house, in the car, etc.
3) Listen to Them
Play 'em back! You can record and listen to your own affirmations or get inspired by mantras you find online. If you record yourself, it'll have a similar effect to speaking them out loud. If you're casting around for potential mantras, there are many videos online, some with mood music, you can play to pipe some positive thoughts and statements into your mind.
Adding affirmations to your daily meditative practice is another way to actively remind yourself of your inherent worth. Being in a state of calm mindfulness when practicing your mantras can make it more likely that these thoughts will stick.
Basically, there's no wrong way to say or hear your affirmations. The key to feeling the results of this simple practice is consistency.
How Can Affirmations Help Me in Recovery?
Creating, practicing and believing in your positive affirmations can serve as a great way to support your own needs during recovery. In moments when your support system might not be available or when temptation arises, these empowering reminders can help you keep yourself on track.
Our loved ones can see when we believe in ourselves and show ourselves the same compassion and respect they show us. We make our healing tangible to them, and they share in our pride.
Plus, whatever else you're feeling in any given moment, it is always good to know you kick ass.