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How to Write Affirmations

When crafted thoughtfully, affirmations become a mirror reflecting our inner strength, resilience, and self-worth. In this blog, we will delve into the art of writing affirmations, exploring the four essential criteria that make them effective.

affirmations for women

What are Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are statements or phrases that individuals repeat to themselves, typically aimed at fostering a positive mindset, self-confidence, and well-being.

It's important to keep in mind that while many people swear by the benefits of positive affirmations, the evidence supporting their effectiveness draws more from psychological and self-help literature than strict empirical studies.

A significant piece of work in this realm is the review by Cohen and Sherman in 2014, titled "The psychology of change: Self-affirmation and social psychological intervention" (Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 333-371). This in-depth review explores the psychological mechanisms behind self-affirmation and how it can potentially bring about positive changes in behavior and mindset.

Can Affirmations Rewire Your Brain

The idea that affirmations can rewire the brain is a topic of interest and ongoing research in the field of psychology and neuroscience. While some studies suggest that positive affirmations can influence neural pathways and contribute to cognitive restructuring, it's important to note that the scientific evidence on this specific aspect is still evolving.

Books like "Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom" by Hanson and Mendius (New Harbinger Publications, 2009) discusses neuroplasticity and how repeated mental activity, such as affirmations, may contribute to changes in neural structures over time.

Why Affirmations Work

The effectiveness of affirmations lies in their impact on cognitive processes and emotional well-being. Although there isn't an exhaustive body of empirical research solely focused on affirmations, studies and reviews shed light on the mechanisms that make them effective.

Affirmations contribute to cognitive restructuring by influencing how individuals perceive themselves and their abilities. Consistently reinforcing positive beliefs through affirmations can reshape thought patterns (Cohen & Sherman, 2014).

According to "The Psychology of Self-Affirmation: Sustaining the Integrity of the Self" by Steele, C.M. (1998), affirmations help individuals maintain a positive self-identity, especially in challenging situations. Affirmations enable individuals to focus on core values, fostering a broader and more resilient self-concept.

Affirmations are associated with stress reduction and improved psychological well-being. Positive self-talk, a practice embedded in affirmations, contributes to a more optimistic mindset, reducing anxiety and enhancing overall mental health.

Will Affirmations Work for Me

Yes! As a therapist, I believe fully in the power of affirmations and that affirmations will work for you. The effectiveness of affirmations can vary from person to person, but many individuals find them to be a valuable and positive tool to foster a more positive self-image.

It's important to approach affirmations with an open mind and consistency. The key is to craft affirmations that are meaningful and personal. Reflect on your core values, goals, and strengths, and use affirmations that resonate with you on a deeper level. This personal connection enhances the effectiveness of the affirmations.

How to Write Affirmations

Before you dive into crafting your affirmation, let's pinpoint the concern or worry you want to tackle. It could be anything – doubts about your abilities, feelings of unworthiness, concerns about love or acceptance, fear of rejection, worries about health, or the looming specter of failure. Take a moment to jot down your concern. Now, let's transform it into an affirmation that empowers and uplifts.

Writing affirmations is simpler than you think! Here are four key criteria to make your affirmations not just words, but powerful tools for positive change.

#1 Present Tense

To achieve this, frame your affirmations in the present tense, grounding them in the current moment. It's like bringing your aspirations into the here and now, making them an immediate and relevant part of your reality.

Instead of "I will..." try "I am..."

Feel the difference? Present-tense affirmations infuse your words with the power of now, reinforcing your potential in the present moment.

#2 Action Verbs

Incorporating action verbs infuses affirmations with a sense of empowerment, encouraging active engagement with the desired behavior or mindset. Action verbs propel us towards positive change.

Let's tackle a health-related concern with both a less effective affirmation and an improved one using action verbs:

Concern: "I'm worried about my health."

"I hope to be healthy."

Improved Affirmation with Action Verb:

"I prioritize my health, making choices that nourish and strengthen my body every day."

Here, the verb transforms the affirmation into a proactive commitment, injecting a sense of control and determination.

#3 Self-Reference

Affirmations pack a punch when tailored to the individual, creating a sense of ownership and connection. This personalization reinforces the impact of the statements. For instance:

Not quite there: "One is deserving of love."

Improved: "I am inherently deserving of love, attracting positive relationships into my life."

The personal touch elevates the affirmation, making it a more intimate and powerful declaration.

#4 Realistically Positive

While it's important to be positive, affirmations should also remain grounded in reality. Unrealistic statements may lead to skepticism. Striking a balance between positivity and realism is the way to go and will help you stay invested in the affirmation you craft.


Overly Positive: "I am always perfect in everything I do."

Balanced: "I accept myself, actively learning and growing everyday.

If you are interested in learning about therapy or would like to setup an appointment with Person to Person Psychotherapy and Counseling New Jersey & New York Services, call 908-224-0007 or email Amanda Frudakis-Ruckel, LCSW at


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