In the literal sense, the brain has no eyes or ears. Instead, it only reacts to the stimuli that it is given and a person’s mental chatter continually affirms his or her personal beliefs. But how can we maintain or affect these sets of beliefs? One way is super-simple daily statements called positive affirmations— short, positive assertions that target specific, subconscious, self-reflective beliefs. Think of positive affirmations as a kind of DIY positivity brainwashing, but without the scary cult-like associations.

Do The Hokey Pokey and Turn It All Around – The Takeaway

Affirmations can be the key to redirecting the body’s energy—both in positive and negative waysInterpretation of self-talk and post-lecture affective states of higher education students: a self-determination theory perspective. Oliver, EJ., Markland, D., Hardy, J. Bangor University, Gwynedd, UK. British Journal of Educational Psychology 2010 Jun;80(Pt 2):307-23..

So how can a few simple phrases make all the difference? By promoting positive self-image and outlook, of course. But don’t hold on to specific affirmations for too long— out-of-date statements can result in negative effectsSelf-talk and affective problems in college students: valence of thinking and cognitive content specificity. Calvete, E., Estévez, A., Landín, C., et al. Department of Psychology, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain. Spanish Journal of Psychology 2005 May;8(1):56-67.. Because everyone’s “inner truths” change over time, it’s important to alter affirmations as personal goals and issues change. And don’t worry if saying new positive affirmations feels like a blatant lie. In the beginning, it’s normal to question new statements and beliefs— in fact, that means the positive affirmations are challenging the subconscious. Keep on keepin on, because it will take some time to change those negative beliefs.

Need some help getting started? Here are a few techniques:

  1. Put it in print: write out a list of 5 to 7 affirmations and put them somewhere that is visible every day.
  2. Try to put it in present-tense only! Phrase affirmations as though they already exist (for example: “I am happy” instead of “I will be happy.”)
  3. Always stay positive. Say “I am intelligent” rather than “I am not stupid,” for another example.
  4. Use short and simple phrases… and don’t sweat the details (too much).
  5. Keep it believable. Don’t say “I’m happy with my job” if it’s not true. Say, “I am working my way up to a better position.”
  6. Finally, look in the mirror while repeating affirmations. Get in your face.


Success comes in cans, failure comes in can’ts, so ditch the negative, and make way for the positive by using positive affirmations every day.

What are some of your favorite methods for positive affirmations?