The New Year has kicked off in full swing so let’s talk positive affirmations. Now before you start rolling your eyes, research published in the New York magazine, Science of Us, discusses the three main psychological benefits of positive thinking. Number one: focusing on what we value in our lives simply makes us feel good. Number two: they remind us of what we like about ourselves in hard times. And three: they broaden our understanding of our individual self-worth which helps regulate our emotions.
Here are 5 affirmations to start you off on a path to positivity. Write them down, stick them up on the wall, do whatever you need to make sure you see them – and say them – every single day.
1. No mud, no lotus
This affirmation has been made popular by a book of the same name, written by famous Buddhist monk (and my own personal hero), Thich Nhat Hanh. No mud, no lotus reminds us that we can’t take the good without the bad. Lotus flowers grow from the mud, as do good things grow from bad. Say this when you’re feeling low or when things seem awful to remind yourself that nothing is permanent and it will always get better.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
Often, we are too afraid to ask for the things we really want. Maybe it’s out of fear of appearing rude or overly demanding or maybe you think what you want is silly. Whatever the reason, failing to ask is the fastest way to personal disappointment. If you don’t ask, you’ll never have. Other people can’t give you what you need until you tell them and why shouldn’t you? It’s your life, you deserve to get what you want from it. Remember, the worst they can say is ‘no’.
3. Don’t take things personally
If you’ve read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, you’d be familiar with this. If not, go read it right now, then come back to me. I’ll wait. You done? Okay, now you should know that nothing anyone does is because of you. You can’t control what anyone does. However, you can control how you react to what they do, and with that, you have so much power. Once you realise you can't take anything personally, you become invincible. There is nothing more freeing.
4. Be a warrior, not a worrier
This is easier said than done. Life is full of things that we worry about daily. It’s important to figure out what’s worth stressing over and what’s not. Start organising your concerns by first letting go of what you can’t control. When you begin to worry about something, take a moment to stop and think. Can you take any steps to solve your worry? If you can, great! You no longer have anything to worry about. If you can’t, then it’s out of your hands and you should just let it go.
5. Happiness is a choice. Today, I choose happiness.
One thing that remains consistent in life is the ability to always make a choice. No matter what the situation, there’s always more than one choice and this applies to our feelings too. Choosing happiness isn’t easy. It requires a lot of patience and self-awareness. You must be mindful of when you’re getting angry or frustrated, and then make the conscious decision to stop. Reflect on what’s made you feel that way, and then let it go.
Words: Elizabeth Clinen
Elizabeth is a young mother, writer and editor living by the beach on the west coast of Australia. An aspiring polyglot, she is currently learning Russian and her life goal is to read War & Peace in its native language. Elizabeth prides herself on her voracious appetite for food and knowledge. She enjoys doing yoga, smelling good and being happy. You can usually find her in the sun, writing, reading or breastfeeding. Sometimes all at once.