The Power of Affirmations

Well, sit down a while. Here comes a Mandy ramble about something I am oh-so-passionate about. 😉 And, that is:: POSITIVE THINKING and POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS.

I am a believer in the power of our thoughts and just wanted to write this post because it has brought so much power and happiness into my life I wanted to share it with you in case it could bring that in your life…..because, it can! 🙂

Little back story here:: When I was in high school I was pretty much a straight A student in every class EXCEPT Texas History {sigh}. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get an A on my challenging, but awesome Texas History Coach’s tests. I have a mentor and dear friend of mine who is into positive affirmations+hypnosis who had heard of my frustrations. So, him and his wife invited me over for a “positive affirmation session” which is where I was first exposed to the power of positive affirmations in my life.

Long story short, I went from bombing those tests to getting my name written on the board as the highest grade in the class on his test. Did I suddenly get smarter than before? No! I worked my tail off as I always did, but this time I ALSO came to BELIEVE in myself and rid myself of some test taking anxiety and negative thinking that was hindering me and my performance. The positive thoughts allowed me to perform better and change my entire experience in that class.

Another way I used and still use positive thinking and affirmation now is with performance anxiety with singing. If you know me you know I LOVE to sing. It makes me happy and is oh so fulfilling.

However, back in the day, I sang a solo at church at age 8 {memorized all 4 verses of course–attempted to go above and beyond} and FORGOT the words on the 4th verse. I was trau-ma-tized. My mom kept playing the chords over and over again waiting for me to remember and come in and it was as though it was slow motion. I still can remember a friend of mine, Nora,  lipping the words to me. I am a HORRIBLE lip reader and just looked at her blankly and could not make any words out. This experience made me “think” and “believe” I didn’t enjoy performing in front of people. Come to find out, I DO. I love sharing what I love with others. I just had to retrain my brain to associate those passions and feelings to performing instead of the “so-called” dramatic event. {PS-I also took a Psychology of Performance class in college-it was awesome on all this stuff and all of my classmates were musicians-isn’t that rad?}

Anyway, back to the story here–So I had labeled this event in my mind as the WORST thing ever {because that’s how I felt}. In fact I often recall and ONLY remember forgetting the words, the chords repeatedly playing, the attempted helpful lipping the words, and me walking off crying. In reality, there was a reviving part which was me singing the chorus {after the part I forgot} before I walked off the stage crying. So, I’m sure it wasn’t quite as horrible as my mind’s eye envisions. Sadly, I allowed that “story” I clung to make me believe I didn’t enjoy singing solos in front of people because of that minor…okay-possibly major “ish” slip up and I didn’t sing a solo again for 10 years. Ten!! Yes I did TMEA All State process {but they have a sheet so they can’t see you}, but I would never sing in front of people I knew solo. Duet was the closest I would get.

Now, don’t get me wrong-I still get jitters before any performance [I’m a work in progress] and make mistakes, have on/off performances but the difference is I DO IT. I volunteer actually and I enjoy it once I am up there. And, when I say performance don’t get the wrong idea here-I am not talking performance like a huge concert setting…haven’t done that yet-don’t envision a pop star-I’m a choir girl for life who loves singing hymns and ballads. 😉 Performance for me is any time I sing in front of anyone. I sing occasionally in church primarily and for friend/family events–funerals and weddings sort of a thing.

But, like anything positive affirmations, test taking, performing, developing a talent, exercise, everything take c-o-n-t-i-n-u-a-l practice. I have been so blessed by the effects of positive affirmations I had to spill the beans and ramble about it to you all in hopes it will bless you too.

So, how do you do it? How can you make your weaknesses into strengths and get better at positive thinking??

I’m going to share some quick little steps of a mini positive affirmation session so YOU CAN DO IT yourself at home. It may sound sketchy reading it or perhaps overly simplistic, but I promise that if done with realness and genuine belief in your positive thoughts, it is LIFE CHANGING!!!! And local friends who are reading this, I would love to geek out and do one with you if you want for fun. So here is my little breakdown of what I did in high school and what I do now when doing a “positive affirmation session” ::

  1. Relax in a chair or lay down and clear your thoughts.
  2. Go through your whole body relaxing each part of your body.
  3. Envision what you have to work on and incorporate as many senses as possible. For example, if I were doing a positive affirmation session for test taking I would envision the room I was going to take the test in. Envision myself walking into the room, waiting for the test, what I looked like, what I was wearing, imagine myself feeling calm and prepared waiting for the test, feel what it feels like to answer the questions and feel excited realizing you are sharing your knowledge and utilizing it, etc., etc. So you do this all the way through the experience and envision everything going the way you want it to and how that FEELS, LOOKS LIKE, TASTES LIKE, SOUNDS LIKE as much reality as you can muster and imitate in your mind with as  many senses as you can incorporate. Your mind then is able to easily associate those feelings when you are doing this in real life because you have visualized this in your mind. It recalls and is familiar.
  4. Say 2-3 affirmations throughout that you repeat. In the test taking example it could be “I LOVE taking tests” “I love utilizing my knowledge.” “I find myself getting excited as the test is being passed out.” Whatever. Repeat them throughout in a CONVINCING self talk in your mind. If you say it not believing it, it will not be powerful or effective.
  5. Slowly come out of relaxation throughout your whole body.

I usually do this around 5-8 minutes is all, and I do it multiple times before any sort of performance.

Seriously friends, this has been LIFE CHANGING for me and I’m UNDER exaggerating. Of course, outside of this formal positive affirmation process you need to also start doing it casually day to do also in every thought about yourself and to yourself. If a negative one naturally slips in, immediately stop thinking it and replace it with a positive phrase.

I thought to share this post and my thoughts on positive thinking and positive affirmations because I just had an epiphany the other day that I NEED to start using my positive affirmation sessions to better my parenting skills and general health.

I previously only had used formal positive affirmations sessions for performance anxiety only, but it totally isn’t limited to that AT ALL. It obviously can be used for ANYTHING–business, training, exercise, relationships. I normally think positively the best I can with parenting stuff or goals, but haven’t tried using my little “PA sessions” for the regular stuff and I now can’t wait. I am going to start doing them for some parenting weaknesses of mine right now and start training my mind in ways like these :: I love being patient. I enjoy using my children’s mistakes for positive learning opportunities. I cannot wait to exercise every day. I love waking up early. I love cleaning my house. I love running {maybe if I want to go there ???  😉 I love eating healthy foods.} The list could go on forever.

So, let’s start training our mind to do the things we CAN do and we CAN improve on. Our minds and thoughts can literally help us produce the results we seek. Believing in ourselves and eliminating the negative self talk allows our brain to believe something different than the “I am a horrible mom” or “I hate playing piano” or “I am impatient ” or “I don’t like my body right now” or whatever it may be that we are telling it. If we tell our brain those thoughts, it will believe them also and produce that energy. “Where our mind goes, energy flows.” [Ernst Holmes] Words have power as so do our thoughts.

And wouldn’t it be amazing if our children started imitating the way we talk to ourselves positively and started talking to themselves and about themselves positively from the get go? Yes, yes it would….

Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….”

Here’s to STRIVING to be truly positive not only in our actions and in our words expressed externally, but also in the words we tell OURSELVES internally in our MINDS.

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