Negative thoughts can interfere with our self-esteem and quality of life, but there are ways to keep them at bay.

Thousands of thoughts race through our minds daily, and many of them amount to negative self-talk that can make us feel worthless, insecure, angry or fearful. Daily affirmations help to ‘reboot’ our thinking patterns, making us happier and more fulfilled. ‘How we think directly affects our quality of life,’ says Cape-based clinical psychologist Fairuz Gaibie. ‘Even though we don’t always have control over what happens in our lives, we can control our per-ception of events and the way in which they impact us. Positive affirmations have a very important role to play in cultivating a mind that is robust and resilient enough to weather life’s storms.’

An affirmation is something we say with confidence about a perceived truth, for example, ‘I have studied hard and I shall pass my test’. Business coach Peter Moss says, ‘We have about 70 000 thoughts a day, two-thirds of which are negative. Using positive affirmations can unshackle us from untruths and allow us to live a more peaceful and fulfilled life.’

Gaibie says our thoughts are one of the most powerful tools we can use to create the life we want. ‘Be thoughtful in your affirmations,’ she says. ‘In formulating them, start from a place where you feel gratitude.’ For instance, if you have stopped smoking, an affirmation could be along the lines of, ‘I am grateful that
I had the strength to quit smoking and I commit to staying smoke-free.’ Avoid overstatements such as, ‘I am the best’ as these are simply not realistic, adds Gaibie. The purpose of affirmations is to strengthen all the positive aspects of your life, and to counteract negative beliefs about ourselves that hold us back.


Gaibie says the emphasis should be on finding motivation to keep going
when times are tough. ‘Research consistently indicates that success is predicted by our ability to value effort and not outcome,’ she says. For instance, someone who has studied hard but not achieved the grade they’d hoped for will feel more positive about themself than someone who didn’t study at all but got lucky and had an examiner who allowed them to pass.

Dr Ronald Alexander, executive director of the Open Mind Training Institute in California, has advice on how to best use affirmations:

Speak your positive affirmation out loud for about five minutes in the morning, midday and evening. Better yet, look at yourself in the mirror while doing so.

Writing down your affirmation on a page that you stick up on a wall or mirror is another way of reinforcing it daily.

Keep a notebook with you and find somewhere quiet during the day to write out your affirmation – more than once if you have the time.
I BELIEVE IN ME I BELIEVE IN ME Reviewed by Zandile Xabendlini on March 14, 2018 Rating: 5
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