When you think of positive affirmations you might imagine standing in front of a mirror, quite seriously looking your reflection in the eye, and awkwardly chanting an inspiring statement you saw on social media. Maybe you’ve even tried this exact approach before!
It might sound a little silly, but self-affirmations aren’t all woo-woo. Scientific research supports that implementing self-affirmations can deliver psychological benefits by countering habitual negative thinking, and even improve productivity and motivation across areas of your life.
The reality is, today’s work culture has left 78.7% of professionals feeling stressed at work. With employees and students across the board averaging an alarming 60.2% burnout rate as of October 2022 – promoting routines that support individual wellbeing is key to reducing immediate consequences like mental exhaustion and other long-term health risks of chronic stress like heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, digestive issues, and asthma.
While positive affirmations aren't a quick fix for all of life’s obstacles, or a solution for the root issues that leave workers chronically overworked – starting your mornings with a moment of mindfulness can help create a more positive and resilient mindset as you navigate everyday stressors in pursuit of your goals.
If you’ve found yourself reading this article wanting to give morning affirmations a(nother) shot – you’re in the right place! In this post, we’re going to break down how to get started with morning affirmations, scientific tips for max success, and offer 40 effective examples to inspire your own morning affirmations.
What are affirmations?
There’s been lots of talk about the power of affirmations, from self-love gurus on social media to major success stories like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But what exactly are they? Let’s break down an affirmation definition. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome negative thinking, reduce stress, boost confidence, and set the tone for your day. Some examples of positive affirmations could be: ‘I am worthy of success’, ‘I can do hard things’, or ‘today will be a good day’.
Practicing mindfulness by being more present and aware of your thoughts and feelings has many benefits including reducing stress, enhancing performance, and allowing you to be less reactive and overwhelmed on busy days. Self-affirmations are a great addition to a mindful morning routine, helping you to take back control of your thoughts and redirect them in a positive direction that is aligned with your daily goals.
And there are some pretty powerful (scientifically backed!) benefits to trying them out.
8 Scientific benefits of self-affirmations:
- Reduce stress (Sherman et al., 2009; Critcher & Dunning, 2015)
- Counter anxiety and rumination (Koole et al., 1999; Wiesenfeld et al., 2001)
- Improve productivity under stress (Creswell et al., 2013)
- Promote physical activity (Cooke et al., 2014)
- Inspire healthier eating (Epton & Harris, 2008)
- Set intention to change for the better (Harris et al., 2007)
- Perceive ‘threatening’ interventions with less resistance (Logel & Cohen, 2012)
- Improve academic achievement (Layous et al., 2017)
Do positive affirmations work?
Before you take the time to get started you might be wondering, do positive morning affirmations actually work?
The good news is, research on the effects of self-affirmations has found that they can be very effective in creating a more positive mindset and improving self-image. For one, focusing on the positive and practicing daily gratitude can make you a happier person (bonus: happier people have been found to be 12% more productive!). Research has even found that positive thinkers live longer and healthier lives, have more energy, enjoy more successful careers, make better decisions, are less stressed, and have healthier relationships.
New understanding of neuroplasticity has revealed that negative thought patterns in the brain can actually be rerouted over time with positive thinking. Interestingly, your brain doesn’t always effectively differentiate between a real-life experience and a thought experience. By taking advantage of this, consistently practicing positive thoughts can be used to shift how you feel about yourself so you can be more confident, productive, or resilient vs. negative thoughts which can perpetuate negative feelings like anxiety or self-doubt, and in extreme cases even spiral to trigger responses like panic attacks.
So, dedicating a few minutes in your morning to being mindful with something like an affirmation practice can ultimately support you in replacing negative messages in your mind with a positive narrative in the long run.
Here’s the catch. A different study discovered that affirmation techniques only work for people that already have high levels of self-esteem, and not on those who don’t. This is because affirmations are mostly addressed to your conscious mind, but not your subconscious mind. It makes sense then that repeating a self-affirmation you really don’t believe probably isn’t going to deliver a magical transformation, no matter how often you say it.
How to start doing morning affirmations
Ok, so now you know what an affirmation is, and how they work – how do you go about actually implementing positive affirmations to your routine? Here’s an easy 6-step guide to get started.
1. Reflect on what you want to improve
Write a list of things in your life that you would like to improve on, or areas that you currently feel negatively about. Do you want to work on self-love? Being more patient? Banish lingering imposter syndrome at work? Eating healthier? Breaking a bad habit?
Reflect on a few things that matter most to you, so you can develop affirmations that resonate deeply with your goals and values.
2. Create positive affirmations
After you have a list of the things you want to focus on, write a positive affirmation to counter each negative belief. Try to keep them short and to the point.
Self-affirmations are often formulated as ‘I’ statements (ex. ‘I am’, ‘I can’, ‘I believe’, ‘I have’) but can also be general intentions or goals or your day or a specific event (ex. ‘today will bring’, ‘this meeting will be’).
For example, you might worry that you aren’t performing well in your role at work. Your countering positive affirmation could be something like: ‘I have unique skills and experience that bring irreplaceable value to my team’ to generate feelings of confidence.
3. Plan your routine
Next, you need to decide how you want to actually follow through on your affirmation practice. You can repeat them out loud to your reflection in the mirror (as if you were encouraging a friend or loved one) but it’s ok if that’s not something you’re comfortable with. You can instead write them down in a journal or on a sticky note to have at your desk, or add them as a silent mantra to your daily meditations or even during your commute to work.
You can do your affirmations in the morning to start the day off, but you can also fit it in the evening before bed to release pent up stress from the day. You can repeat the same daily affirmation as a constant reminder, choose a few that resonate with you, or create a new one every morning that speaks to what you have going on that day based on your weekly work plan.
You get the idea – your affirmation routine can be whatever you want it to be! Don’t be afraid to try different approaches to see what works best for you (because that’s all that really matters).
4. Do your morning affirmations
Ok, time for action! However you’ve decided to do your affirmations – try starting by grounding yourself with a few deep, mindful breaths to direct your intention. Repeat your chosen affirmation(s) out loud, in your mind, or by writing it down, and try to stay focused on the message for the duration of the exercise.
This might feel uncomfortable or awkward when you first start out, or you might notice your thoughts bouncing around a lot. This is completely normal! Like meditation, a new mindfulness technique can push you out of your comfort zone and be quite challenging in the beginning.
You can begin with just 30-seconds of affirmations every morning, and work your way up to longer sessions. Some experts recommend a goal of 5-15 minutes up to 3 times a day – but studies have found that even just 3-minutes of self-affirmations a day can reduce stress and improve productivity on stressful tasks.
5. Make it a habit
The most important thing with affirmations - like with all healthy habits - is that you are consistent. You’re rewiring your thinking, and that can take some time!
You can try habit-stacking self-affirmations with another established habit in your routine to make it stick easier. For example, try saying them in the mirror after brushing your teeth, or take a few minutes to write them down at the end of a journaling session. You can also optimize the process with a productivity app like Reclaim.ai, which automatically schedules time for recurring Habits - like morning affirmations - around your other commitments, so you have time defended for mindfulness even on your busiest days.
6. Reflect on progress
Consider checking in with yourself after a month of doing morning affirmations to reflect on your progress.
You might find the very experience of speaking positive words to yourself in the mirror feels easier and more natural. Maybe you’re noticing your productivity improving at work, or are having fewer negative thoughts about your self-image and capabilities. Or one day, perhaps you realize that your affirmation actually does feel true when you say it. Take the time to celebrate small victories to fuel your motivation and finetune your approach for your next affirmation.
Top 6 tips for effective morning affirmations:
- Formulate your affirmation in present or future tense to create the feeling of already having achieved it to strengthen those connections in your brain.
- Avoid negative words or a ‘lack-mindset’ (ex. ‘I need the promotion because I'm not making enough money’ vs. ‘I deserve the promotion because I work hard and bring great value to the team’).
- Root affirmations in core values to create a strong foundation of why this affirmation is important to you and your goals.
- Believe the possibility of what you are affirming and don’t be afraid to go smaller or redirect if the affirmation doesn’t feel genuine.
- Practice positive affirmations consistently and stay patient to see meaningful and lasting changes in your thinking patterns and beliefs.
- Be realistic. Self-affirmations can be a helpful part of your toolkit but they are not a cure for clinical conditions like chronic anxiety or depression, nor can they change other people’s behavior towards you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you’re struggling with your mental health.
40 Morning affirmations examples
Whether you’re trying to build up your confidence, maximize your productivity, hit more goals, or create better relationships at work – affirmations can help you create a positive mindset to assist your efforts. Let’s take a look at 40 effective morning affirmation examples to inspire your own affirmations.
Positive affirmations for the day:
- Every day is full of potential and I am open to new opportunities.
- I am exactly where I am meant to be, and heading in the right direction.
- Today I am grateful for ___.
- Today, I choose to celebrate all the progress I have made to get here.
- I am capable of creating the life I dream of.
Positive affirmations for productivity:
- I enjoy being productive because it brings me joy.
- I am efficient with my time and capable of achieving my goals for today.
- I tackle challenging tasks that come my way with ease.
- I deserve to defend time for deep work on my important priorities.
- Taking small steps every day is helping me achieve big goals.
Positive affirmations for anxiety:
- My anxious thoughts do not define me or my worth.
- I am doing my best and that is enough.
- I control how I respond to stressful situations and triggers.
- My emotions have purpose and value, even when they are unpleasant.
- I am strong and capable of getting through anxious thoughts.
Positive affirmations for self love:
- I am inherently worthy of my own love and respect.
- I treat myself kindly and with compassion.
- I have many positive qualities including ___.
- I do not need to prove myself worthy of love.
- I choose to accept myself the way that I am today.
Positive affirmations for work:
- I bring unique skills and experiences to the table.
- My unique skills and contributions are valued by my team.
- My manager recognizes my hard work and passion for the job.
- I am worthy of recognition and praise for my hard work.
- My contributions support the success of the whole team.
Positive affirmations for success:
- I am surrounded by people who inspire me and want me to succeed.
- I deserve the space to grow and learn to become my best self.
- Every day I am getting closer to reaching my goals.
- I take risks because the rewards are greater than my fears.
- I stand tall in the face of challenges on the path to my goals.
Positive affirmations for health:
- I deserve to treat my body with love and care today.
- Investing in my health is one of the best investments I can make.
- I can say ‘no’ to choices and habits that do not make me feel my best.
- I am grateful for my unique body and everything it does for me.
- I choose to love my body today as I work towards my health goals.
Positive affirmations for students:
- I love learning and that makes me a successful student.
- I embrace this chapter of my life as I prepare for my future.
- I can transform my nervous feelings into motivation for growth.
- I value my education and all the opportunities it opens for me.
- I am focused and determined which sets me up for success.
Affirming your success ✨
Affirmations aren’t a magical solution to all your problems, but even science argues that the power of positive thinking shouldn’t be underestimated. With benefits across your professional career, personal life, and relationships – committing to a habit of self-affirmation to start your day can help transform the way you feel about yourself and the world around you to set you up for long-term joy and success.
And with a more positive outlook, who knows who you’ll inspire! In the words of Arnie himself, “Positive thinking can be contagious. Being surrounded by winners helps you develop into a winner”. So here’s our affirmation for you: you are a winner and you inspire others with your unique perspective and ideas. Now go hype yourself up with morning affirmations to start every day on a positive note. You deserve it.
Have you ever tried morning affirmations? Any tips we might have missed that beginners need to know? Tweet us @reclaimai to share your thoughts and experiences! 👋