Does Self-Affirmations Work?

Self-affirmation or autosuggestion is a well-studied theory in the field of social-psychology where numerous leaders and literature have exposed its value and efficacy in aiding individuals to achieve their dream goals and stay focused. Self-affirmations are rituals of some sort where individuals make it a daily routine to recite, visualise and affirm their values and goals in life.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the use of self-affirmations, – ones who promote the idea of positive affirmations suggest that performing the acts of autosuggestion and affirmation helps people reduce stress, boost confidence and self-esteem. To go even further, it’s widely believed that self-affirmations and visualisation techniques help individuals to actually acquire things as long as they have a burning desire towards them – be it fame, money or relationships. 

 

Although we know self-affirmation reduces threat and improves performance, we know very little about why this happens…
— Lisa Ligault from Journal of Psychological Science

 

Great literature like the movie “The Secret - The Law of Attraction” and the book “Think & Grow Rich” unveils anecdotal evidences of people who achieved greatness by simply using these techniques.

An example of a “vision board” as depicted in the movie “The Secret – The Law of Attraction”. The movie claims that the protagonist managed to own everything on his board by simply looking and visualising the items.

An example of a “vision board” as depicted in the movie “The Secret – The Law of Attraction”. The movie claims that the protagonist managed to own everything on his board by simply looking and visualising the items.

Autosuggestion, affirmations and visions boards help by directing our focus both consciously and sub-consciously. The entire theory is based on the basis of “What we Think, What we Attract”.

Thoughts become words, words become action, and action becomes destiny
— Ghandi

 

Due to its simplicity and relative effortlessness, many reject and criticise the efficacies of self-affirmations. You cannot achieve greatness by simply visualising and reciting them out loud. Life is never that easy.

Personally, I religiously recite my self-affirmations every morning and have been practising it over 6 months to date.  In outright honesty, I don’t even know if I am performing my affirmations “correctly” or not – nor that matters. The positive effects that I have personally experienced are good enough reasons for me to keep continuing with refining and reciting my affirmations.

I don’t believe, nor do I expect to achieve my goals by simply reciting my affirmations – there’s a difference between a visionary and a day-dreamer. But every morning as I recite my affirmations, I am able to form a clear picture, a goal and purpose in my life. This benefits me tremendously as I become more aware and conscious about myself and the surroundings.

 

Related Reads #1: How To Do Morning Rituals And Do It Right.

Related Reads #2: 5 Life-Transforming Teachings Of Stoicism And How I Implement Them In My Life. 

 

Affirmations, just like mission statements, are very personal things. Before asking whether self-affirmations work or not, the first real question to ask yourself is, “What do you want to get out it?” In my opinion, affirmations, visual boards and auto-suggestions should be utilised to help yourself become more focused, both consciously and sub-consciously – not as a tool to grant you wishes that you never work for.