The mind is a complex and wonderful thing, capable of managing so many tasks and interactions. But even your mind is not immune to the powers of negative thinking and doubts. Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”. In short, this means that regardless of how capable you might be, if you start believing you are incapable, then you are less likely to succeed.
Affirmation cards are a fantastic tool to help challenge those self-sabotaging thoughts and break the cycle of negativity. Aside from simply shifting your mindset, positive affirmations play a fantastic role in reducing stress, boosting self-confidence, and increasing performance. Whether it’s work-related stress, an impending exam, the mounting pressures of daily life, or you simply need a pick-me-up, affirmation cards provide the perfect anecdote to tackle your doubts and instil confidence in your ability.
What are affirmations?
The word ‘affirmation’ is becoming an increasingly popular term cropping up in the narrative surrounding mental health. Before we jump into why you should be incorporating affirmations into your daily routine, it’s important to know exactly what they are first.
Affirmation cards are first-person statements designed to encourage positive thinking and self-confidence. In just one short, thought-provoking sentence you can challenge unhelpful thoughts or feelings of doubt that creep in and cloud your perspective, replacing them with feelings of confidence and calm.
With daily affirmations, like “I believe in my ability to succeed”, you can create a mental image of yourself doing something. When you truly believe in your own ability to accomplish a task, your actions are likely to follow suit. Whether it’s a big presentation, or simply a jam-packed weekly schedule, chances are if you picture yourself smashing it-you will!
Not magic, but science
Contrary to some opinions, affirmations do not work on the basis of superstition. In actual fact, positive words of affirmation work by triggering the reward system in the brain- the ventral striatum and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, to be exact. These areas of the brain are the same reward centre that responds to other pleasurable encounters, like seeing your favourite band or eating your favourite food.
A recent study showed that regular messages of affirmation altered the neural responses in the brain, triggering behaviour changes such as optimism and confidence. Similarly, fMRI’s have also highlighted increased activity in certain neural pathways directly related to self-processing. Increased self-processing has been found to act as a form of emotional buffer to negative or threatening information, making it easier for you to respond to these situations with a positive mindset.
In short, there’s A LOT of science to support the impact of positive affirmations on mental health.
To get the most out of using affirmation cards, it’s recommended to use them over time. Whilst reading a positive statement as a one-ff on a particularly stressful morning will still have a positive impact on your mindset, the most noticeable results will appear with repetitive use. It’s also important to note that affirmations are not about being exceptional in every way, or a quick fix to ace an interview or pass an exam. They work to improve how you perceive your own abilities and reminding yourself that you are capable and confident in areas that hold personal value to you.
What are the benefits of affirmation cards?
If you haven’t picked it up already, affirmation cards come with a whole host of benefits for your mental health. In fact, multiple studies have shown that reading affirmation cards lead to a decrease in health-deteriorating stress conditions, as well as increasing motivation. One such study showed that just 3-minutes spent on affirmations helped reduce stress and improve performance on a strenuous task!
Secondly, it’s not only your mental health that benefits, but your physical well-being can be improved as well. Affirmations have been associated with higher levels of motivation, and energy to start or complete tasks. Moreover, there’s a positive correlation between affirmations and the reception of health messages leading to the intention to change, for example, to eat more fruit, or go to bed earlier. These will ultimately have a fantastic impact on your overall health and well-being, as well as that of your mind.
Finally, the benefits extend further than just oneself but can spill out and impact those around you too. One of the benefits of affirmations is the ability to receive ‘threatening’ messages with less resistance, and become more resilient in the face of difficulties or challenges as they arise. This means that you will be better equipped to handle things like feedback and constructive criticism, making an overall team working environment, a much happier and supportive place for everyone.
Who can benefit from positive affirmation cards?
These words of assurance are not solely for tough days or big deadlines but are intended for use every day. Like we said before, affirmations work best when used over time, so even if you wake up in a particularly positive mood, don’t neglect your affirmation cards- it probably means they’re working!
There are also huge benefits in incorporating daily affirmations into children’s routines too. Affirmation cards for children are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why! Just like affirmation cards for adults, they boost children’s self-esteem and confidence, leading to excellent benefits both developmentally and educationally. Moreover, they also have a fabulous impact on their literacy skills, creative thinking, and an awareness for the meaning of words. So they’re a great tool to have at home and in the classroom to get kids supporting their mental health from an early age.
Here at Morale our daily boosts go hand-in-hand with the theory of self-affirmation. Every day you can send your network a supportive message to improve their mindset and help them tackle their daily challenges in a more positive and proactive manner. The domino effect of sending someone else an affirming message has just a positive impact on your own thinking as it does on theirs, so you’ll be boosting your own mental health at the same time!
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