Is Positive Thinking Really That Powerful?

February 10th, 2021

At some point or another, you’ve probably heard about the “power of positive thinking.” Positive thinking is often linked with positive affirmations, which is the idea that a person can help combat negative thoughts with positive statements. While this might sound cheesy, there’s a reason it has become popular. Additionally, there’s some scientific reasoning behind why it may work. Here’s what positive affirmations are and how they may impact you. 

As mentioned above, a positive affirmation is a phrase or set of phrases a person may use to help challenge negative thoughts. Often, it’s as simple as making a practice of repeating a positive phrase to yourself regularly. You can also use affirmations for a specific purpose. For example, some people use them to encourage good habits or boost self-esteem. They can be especially helpful if you tend to fall into patterns of negative thoughts without realizing.

There are a number of studies that back up the impact of positive affirmations. However, they aren’t a magic cure-all. Affirmations are most impactful when a person makes them a practice. In other words, these phrases are something you have to continually repeat to see any sort of effectiveness from them. After time, though, you may start to notice some long term benefits. Some of the effects that researchers on the topic have observed are:

  • Decreased stress
  • May help people receive difficult information more easily
  • Can make people take their health and wellbeing more seriously
  • Can also make people be more receptive to interventions
  • Positively linked to academic achievement

It’s important to remember that sheer optimism alone also won’t fix all of your problems. But affirmations can prevent you from spiraling into patterns of negative thought. In turn, this can help with feelings of anxiety and depression, though it’s important to note that affirmations aren’t a treatment for these conditions.

If you’re thinking about trying out the power of positive affirmations, experts recommend setting affirmations that reflect your personal values. In other words, don’t set an affirmation that doesn’t hold any meaning for you. Some examples of positive affirmations are: 

  • I bring happiness to others just by being myself
  • I thoroughly and completely love and accept myself
  • I am strong, brave, and resilient
  • I am the only person who decides how I feel

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