In this guide, we’ll be looking at how to create and use affirmations for meditation.
When I was in my early twenties and starting to learn about spirituality, I was very keen on learning affirmations. Affirmations, which are simple phrases, mantras, or recitations, can help you to think positively, to overcome negative thoughts, and to change your beliefs.
Affirmations are an easy way to begin your development, and they can be highly effective.
If you’ve heard about affirmations, you might have read a view self-help and self-improvement books, like those of Norman Vincent Peale (The Power of Positive Thinking) and Louise Hay (Trust Life).
Self help books state that affirmations can help you to be happy, overcome anxiety, overcome depression, sleep better, and more. And there is some scientific evidence that affirmations work [Christopher Cascio and Emily Falk, University of Michigan and UCLA, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal, 1].
However, there is one huge problem with affirmations: they don’t work unless you use them properly.
To make your affirmations work, you first need to silence your mind.
If your mind is too noisy when you recite affirmations, the affirmation will not be effective.
This is why it’s best to combine affirmations and meditation. Meditation clears your mind, so that affirmations can have a more positive effect.
As well as entering the right mental space before using affirmations, you also need to create affirmations that actually work in the first place. If you don’t recite the right affirmations, you could experience unwanted results.
Let me show you how to create affirmations that actually work, and how to combine affirmations and meditation.
How To Create Affirmations That Actually Work For Your Meditation Practice
Before we start reciting affirmations and meditating, we first need to know how to create affirmations that actually work. This has a lot to do with communicating with your subconscious mind.
We use affirmations to send message to the subconscious mind, which then goes about turning your commands into actions.
Brian Tracy [Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author], “Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind.”
That’s why we need to send accurate commands to the subconscious. And that is the purpose of affirmations.
Let’s look at how to create affirmations that work, and then how to combine affirmations with meditation.
How to create affirmations that actually work—The 5 Core Concepts
There are five core concepts that go into creating an affirmation that actually works:
- Create a positive goal
- State that goal is a positive, actionable way
- Make it visual (so when we recite the affirmation we envision ourselves taking action)
- Use the present tense (so that we are focused on now)
- Include positive emotions (happiness, confidence, and so on).
Examples of Affirmations that work
1: For exercise motivation: “I am feeling good, sweating at the gym.”
Notice how this affirmation follows the five core concepts
- The affirmation states the goal of exercising at the gym
- The goal is stated in the present tense
- The affirmation includes positive feelings (“I am feeling good…”)
- There’s a visual aspect to the affirmation too, “sweating at the gym”,
- The idea of sweating is also actionable.
2: Affirmation for self love: “I am sending myself love and compassion.”
Again, notice how this affirmation includes the five core concepts.
- It includes a positive goal (cultivating self-love).
- The goal is stated in an actionable way (“I am sending myself love and compassion”)
- There’s a visual aspect because we can imagine ourselves being kind and self-compassionate.
- It is stated in the present tense (“I am…”)
- It includes the positive feelings of love and compassion
3: Affirmation for confidence: “I am standing tall and feeling strong.”
- Here’s how this final affirmation uses the five core concepts:
- 1: It includes a goal (feeling strong)
- It is actionable—it makes us want to actually physically stand tall, which is important for our goal of confidence
- It’s visual because we can imagine ourselves standing tall
- It’s stated in the present tense (“I am”)
- It includes the feeling of inner strength
Combining Affirmations And Meditation
Now you know how to create affirmations that actually work. Next you need to prepare your mind for the affirmation. This is precisely why we combine affirmations and meditation. We calm the mind first, then use the positive affirmation to create changes.
When you’re using affirmations with meditation you need to get in the right mindset, just as you do with other forms of meditation.
Follow these simple steps for an effective affirmation-meditation.
- Start by creating an affirmation that actually works. You can do that with the guide above. Memorise this affirmation so you can recite the affirmation while meditating.
- Begin by taking the correct meditation posture, either sitting or kneeling. Make sure you are comfortable and that your spine is in good alignment. You can tuck your chin down a little to lightly elongate your neck. Gently close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Start by taking at least 25 mindful breaths. This will calm your mind and stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system so that you are more relaxed. It will also help to harmonise the brain hemispheres so your creative side and logical side are balance. Plus it will reduce negative thinking.
- Begin to recite the words of your affirmation slowly. On your in breath, remain silent and simply focus on your breathing. When you exhale, recite the words of your affirmation slowly, so that affirmation lasts for one exhalation. This creates harmony between your breathing-meditation and affirmation.
- Continue to recite your affirmation while meditating. At times you will notice that certain thoughts and visuals come to mind. For instance, if you are using this meditation and affirmation to workout, you might see an image of yourself exercising at the gym. Let this image come to your mind and see it clearly. In other words, visualize your goal. This will make the affirmation more effective.
- Sometimes you will experience negative thoughts. For instance, if you’re using this affirmation and meditation to lose weight, you might think, “I’ll never get in shape.” You want to deal with these negative thoughts like you would in mindfulness and Vipassana (Buddhist Insight Meditation). To do this, simply let the thought come and go, and remind yourself that it is nothing more than a thought.
- Continue to meditate on the affirmation for twenty minutes, or for one full mala (108 breaths).
- Open your eyes slowly and continue with your day.
By combining affirmations and meditation in this way, you make the affirmation much more effective. Meditation silences your mind and reduces negative thinking, which allows you to focus on the affirmation.