Self Care Tip #2: Try Affirmations

I have to admit, this one stumped me.

(Stumped, and only on week 2! I am not off to a good start.)

I had to turn to google to discover what affirmations were. I found the most popular affirmations, attempted them, felt ridiculous and gave up. I didn't like telling myself things like 'I am free of worry and regret', 'I am in love with myself and my body' or 'I wake up with motivation'. Like, ha! You should be happy I got out of bed at all, forget about motivated. All of these are wonderful things to think and believe... but my problem was that I didn't believe them. It felt fake, not affirming. So I stopped.

There are some people that say to keep repeating the affirmations until you start to believe them and I can see how that could work for some people, but my brain doesn't seem to operate that way. By repeating them I felt like I was being a liar and through reverse psychology was pointing out all my flaws. 

So affirmations are off the list for me.

Buuuuuuut.... positive thinking is completely valid. 

For myself I have found that forcing myself just to see the good side doesn't work, and that's what repeating affirmations did. What does for me is to acknowledge the negative thoughts and feelings, then try to reframe them in a positive way while not ignoring or fixating on them.

For example, when I look in the mirror I can't tell myself that I'm beautiful. Well, I can, but I won't believe myself. What I can say if that my body is doing amazing today. It survived doing a month long burpee challenge! And yes, I made it suffer by eating cheese the other day, but it coped like a champ and now we seem to be back on track. I currently am really struggling with my body image at the moment and I just can't find anything positive to say about my appearance, so I'm not even going to try. I'm going to find something that I can believe in, and today that is that my digestive system is working well. A little bit gross? Maybe, but it's something that I appreciate about my body, so I'm gonna do a happy dance that I pooped today *does hip shimmy*

I have really down days where my brain is stuck in a loop of telling me that I'm sad and lonely. And I can't really argue with that, because in the moment I am sad and lonely and telling myself otherwise doesn't work. What I have found that helps is to say 'yes, I am feeling sad. I feel horrible and it's the worst and there is no one here to give me a hug and I'm all alone. But it's not going to feel like this forever. This is not my story, sadness and loneliness does not need to be the story of my life. I will get through this, and then I will see that life does have joy'

It doesn't make things sunshine and roses instantly, but it does make it a little less dark and I can believe it.  

Out of curiosity, I did a bit of research just to see what happened in your brain when you practiced positive thinking. An article that explained it in a fantastically clear way is here, but I shall sum it up for you. 

Positive thinking, good. Negative thinking, bad.

Positive affirmations? Works for some, not for me.

Which makes me curious, do you live by positive affirmations? Let me know, I'll love to chat about it x 



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