Recently, Oregon Public Broadcasting highlighted Olympic athletes’ use of mental skills training, including positive self-talk, to help “boost performance.” Mental skills coach and and professor of exercise science and sports psychology at Pacific Lutheran University Colleen Hacker works with the US men and women’s hockey teams on mental toughness, positive self-talk, concentration training, pre-performance routines and imagining success using all senses.
The good news is, these techniques are appropriate for everyone. She gives this example of positive self-talk: “Let’s say a soccer player shot and missed the goal. Positive self talk would be, ‘Keep shooting. Keep putting pressure on the keeper. I’ll eventually get it.’” When practiced, this is a tool that can improve outcomes for anything any of us would like to accomplish.
People sometimes ask me, “What are the best affirmations for practicing simplicity?” Although we try to make it complex, the essence of life is simplicity. Being a good parent to your children, having a loving relationship with your partner, feeling needed by others—it is these fundamental requirements for love and appreciation that nurture the human spirit.
The theme of simplicity is repeated over and over in the great spiritual teachings. Jesus tells us that “unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” To receive the truth, we must make ourselves like a child—open, accepting and trusting. Too often, however, we get lost in the hectic pace of modern life and lose touch with our real priorities.
Look at your own life. Has it become overly complex? Have you found yourself burdened by too many possessions or responsibilities? Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What steps can I take to reduce the clutter so that I may live simply and joyously?”
Think how little it takes to lift up your spirits—a smile from your child, an unexpected day of sunny weather, a cold drink on a hot afternoon. As you learn to simplify your life, you will experience a freedom of the soul and lightness of heart. These priceless gifts are yours when you learn to focus on what is truly essential.
1. It’s a gift to be simple; it’s a gift to be free.
2. I follow my heart wherever it takes me.
3. I release all extra baggage from my life.
4. I feel light and joyous
5. I take delight in the simplest of things; even the ordinary gives me pleasure.
Words to Consider
“Our life is fritted away by detail … Simplify, simplify.” -Thoreau
For more affirmations and meditations for daily life, read Words That Heal, available in paperback or now as an ebook.
One of the simplest and most natural things that you can do to feel better–physically and emotionally–is to get a good night’s sleep. In this YouTube video, I discuss the importance of sleep in maintaining mental health and well as share a variety of solutions for keeping healthy sleep habits.
Sleep isn’t just “time out” from daily life. Sleep is an active state that is necessary for regenerating our body and promoting mental and physical health. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, it is quite possible that your sleep is adversely impacted. Sleep irregularities can bring about depression and they are among the early warning signs that either mania or depression is occurring. Symptoms include: trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, early morning awakenings (followed by ruminations), and sleeping too much. Sleep medication and tranquilizers can be useful in trying to break a pattern of sleeplessness, but they are only designed for short-term use. In my ebook, Healing From Depression Naturally, I discuss multiple strategies for getting a good night’s sleep, such as those listed in the book No More Sleepless Nights by Peter Hauri. Some of the strategies are:
- Try to develop a sleep schedule–a regular time of going to sleep and arising–and stick to it.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol; eliminating cigarettes.
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex, not for other activities such as reading.
- Practice bedtime relaxation techniques.
- Get regular exercise during the day.
In addition, you may wish to be evaluated at a sleep clinic to rule out the possibility of physical problems such as sleep apnea. (Sleep apnea is a temporary suspension of breathing that occurs repeatedly during sleep. It often affects overweight people or those who have an obstruction in their breathing tract.)
For those who have experienced crippling insomnia, establishing regular and restorative sleep patterns makes all the difference in the world. Practicing good sleep hygiene AND treating your depression and anxiety can help you to return to a good night’s sleep. In this regard, here is an affirmation/mantra that was given to me by a client who repeated it to himself as he drifted off to sleep in order to stop his obsessive thoughts. It was written by a 13th century English monk and reads as follows:
All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well.
Many years ago I came across the idea of using affirmations as a form of prayer developed by the practitioners of Religious Science called affirmative prayer. Affirmative prayer combines the power of affirmations with the practice of prayer. When you pray using affirmative prayer, you are not asking something outside of yourself to give you something. Instead, you are claiming your good as if it has already come to you. Hence, affirmative prayer, like affirmations, is always stated in the present tense.
Here are the five steps of affirmative prayer, as described on the Science of Mind website:
Science of Mind uses a five-step affirmative prayer called spiritual mind treatment. The five steps are:
1. Recognition—know that God is all there is.
2. Unification—know that you are one with God.
3. Declaration—state your word for the circumstance you want to manifest.
4. Thanksgiving—give thanks for your word being acted upon by the Law of Mind.
5. Release—“And so it is!”
There is no beseeching to or urge to compel an outside entity in spiritual mind treatment. As Ernest Holmes states in The Science of Mind:
Effective mental treatment is propelled by a consciousness of love and a realization that the Creative spirit is always at work….A treatment should be given in a calm, expectant manner and with a deep inner conviction of its reality, without any fear or any sense that the human mind must make it effective. The work is effective because the Law is always in operation.
People who practice affirmative prayer on a daily basis have reported profound changes in their lives. For example, when I was in the depths of a life-threatening depressive episode, I composed an affirmative prayer that I shared with the twelve members of my support team and asked them to say it with me for thirty days. Here is the affirmative prayer I shared with them.
With help from God, I am reborn to a new life. I have learned the lessons that the anxiety and depression came to teach and thus have fully and freely released these symptoms from my body/mind. They are replaced by inner peace, emotional stability, vitality, wholeness, wellness and joy. My brain chemistry is stabilized and in perfect balance. I am healed and made whole. Thank you spirit for healing.
This prayer may have saved my life, because seventy-two hours after the group and I started reciting it, my symptoms began to lift. Within ninety days I experienced a full healing. Try affirmative prayer for yourself, and let me know your results.
As part of my affirmations heal blog, I am now posting weekly mediations and affirmations that will help you to use the power of affirmations to change your thinking, and therefore transform your life. This week’s affirmation topic is overcoming hopelessness using the affirmation “This Too Shall Pass.”
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
According to an ancient tale, a Sufi village was attacked and captured by a group of warriors. The king of the victorious tribe called the Sufi leaders and said that unless they fulfilled his wish, the entire village would be put to death the following morning . The king’s wish was to know the secret of what would make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy.
The village people constructed a large bonfire, and all night long their wise men and women strove to answer the riddle: what could make a person happy when he is sad, and sad when he is happy? Finally, sunrise came and the king entered the village. Approaching the wise ones he asked, “Have you fulfilled my request?” “Yes!” they replied. The king was delighted. “Well, show me your gift.” One of the wise men then reached into a pouch and presented the King with a gold ring. The king was perplexed. “I have no need of more gold,” he exclaimed. “How can this ring make me happy when I am sad, and sad when I am happy?” Then the king looked again and this time saw an inscription. It read “This Too Shall Pass”.
So it is in your life. When everything is going according to plan, savor those precious moments and realize that in the due course of time they will be a distant memory. And, when the night is darkest and you can’t imagine things ever improving, remember that nothing in the physical world lasts forever.
In this way, you will learn to accept both the good and bad times equally, understanding that all of life’s teachings are necessary for your spiritual growth. With this realization, you will be like the great saint who proclaimed, “One to me is Loss and Gain, one to me is Pleasure and Pain, one to me is Fame and Shame.”
1. Rather seek pleasure and avoid pain, I accept both as having equal benefit.
2. What goes up must come down.
3. What goes down must come up.
4. There is absolutely nothing that time and love cannot heal.
5. My old pains no longer hurt me. They have become a distant memory.
6. Create your own
Words To Consider
“Remember, no human condition is ever permanent;
then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too sorrowful in misfortune.”
As people begin to to make their resolutions for the new year, I thought I would share two of my favorite affirmations for weight loss. This seems to be a top priority as people set their goals for the months ahead.
The affirmations I am going to share were developed by myself during the period of 2010 and 2012 when I managed to lose 40 pounds by making basic changes in my lifestyle habits. I typed these affirmations out on a piece of paper, and below the text I placed a photo of myself from a time when I was at my ideal weight (185 pounds). Then I would read the affirmations out loud while looking at the picture of myself. This combines the power of the spoken word with the process of creative visualization.
In addition, as I repeated my affirmation and looked at the image of myself with my ideal weight, I imagined that I was looking at myself in the mirror RIGHT NOW. This brings the experience into the present tense, which is where the power to change resides.
Here is my first affirmation.
By making incremental changes in my patterns of eating and physical activity, I gradually and responsibly lose weight until I reach and sustain my ideal weight and waistline. Thank you spirit.
And here is my second affirmation.
I am lean, I am strong, I am fit, I am flexible. I eat high nutrient, low energy dense foods which give me the feeling of fullness and satiety. As a result I burn more calories than I take in, and my body attains and sustains its ideal weight and waistline.
Thank you spirit for my renewed health and vitality. I truly am younger next year.
Try these out for yourself. I think you will find them helpful.
To understand the relationship between your personal will and your Higher Power, think of yourself as a light bulb that carries 1 amp of current. When you access your higher will, however, you have access to not just one amp, but to 10, 100, 1,000—or any amount of current you want. Because you are tapping into the Source of all light and power, your supply is unlimited—and so is the light you can radiate to others.
But letting go of the ego is not easy. We want to do things our way, in our own time, with our own requirements. We want control. Yet in clinging to this limited frame of reference, we deny ourselves a much greater reality as well as an expanded potential for happiness, fulfillment and material abundance.
This is why great souls have always affirmed—”Not my will, but Thy will be done.” You must die to the ego so that you can be born to God. You die to the part so that you can be born to the whole. Ultimately, you can even overcome death itself. For when you learn to dwell in the Higher mind, you will experience the part of yourself that never dies.
Go into meditation and listen for the whisperings of that universal source. Allow them to guide you and to show you the way in all of your affairs. Let the universe to do its work through you. As you become a perfect channel for the Divine presence, you will affirm to that eternal part of yourself , “My will and the Divine will are one.”
1. I act in accordance with my higher self.
2. I am continually aligned with my higher purpose.
3. I do what God wants me to do.
4. When I contact the God in me, all things become possible.
5. I gladly die to my caterpillar-self that I may be reborn as a butterfly.
Words To Consider
“The blossom vanishes of itself as the fruit grows.
So will your lower self vanish as the Divine grows within you.”
As we begin 2014, you might ask yourself, “What are the best affirmations for the new year?” The answer to this question is that any affirmations that you decide to use to set your New Year’s resolutions is a good affirmation. Affirmations are a wonderful way to express your new year’s resolutions. Instead of saying, “I wish I could lose more weight,” or I plan to save more money,” an affirmation expresses your goals in the present tense, as if you already have them. Here is a very simple process that will help you to create your affirmations for the New Year.
1) Pick an area of your life that needs healing.
The topic of your affirmation can involve a relationship, your health, work, finances, peace of mind, etc. For an example, let’s choose the area of relationships. Perhaps you have been carrying around some old anger that you are now ready to release.
2) Decide what you want to occur in that area of your life. What would it feel like if that part of your life were healed?
In our example, you probably want to let go of the anger and experience peace and forgiveness.
3) State the desired outcome in the first person and present tense.
As you write your words, keep in mind the following points: Thus, you say “I am filled with peace” instead of “I will become filled with peace.”
4) Experience how it feels. Once you have written your affirmation, say it to yourself a few times and listen to your response. When you have found a good affirmation, you will feel a sense of rightness in your gut.
5) Repeat your affirmation each day. Say it to yourself, say it out loud, or write it down. Repetition is the mother of learning. When you repeat an affirmation, it impresses its thought pattern on your mind and transforms your previously held beliefs.
6) Turn the final outcome over to a higher power. For this reason, I always conclude my affirmations with the following statement: This or something better now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways for the highest good of all concerned. This way, I know that my will and the will of the universe are aligned.
I hope this was helpful to you. Let’s get off to a good start in 2014 by clarifying exactly what we want and stating that goal as a clear and concise affirmation.
People often ask me, “What are the best affirmations for overcoming despair?” In this post, I will be sharing two affirmations that I have found to be helpful. As you may know, the journey to higher awareness is not a direct flight. Challenges, struggles and tests confront the traveler along the way. And eventually, no matter who you are or how far you have come along the path, you must eventually experience your “dark night of the soul.”
If you are facing such a period , let this affirmation console you:
What Goes Down Must Come Up
There can be no death without rebirth.
Every ending is followed by a beginning.
The experience of hell is a precursor to the glory of heaven.
The ancient Phoenix bird was consumed in its own ashes only to rise again. Christ was crucified only to be resurrected. The process of death and rebirth is universal. Your case is no exception.
Here is a second affirmation you can use to respond to feelings of despair
THIS, TOO SHALL PASS.
This affirmation is potent, because it taps into a universal truth–nothing lasts forever. The only constant is change. Or, as the Buddhists put it, we live in a world of impermanence. Thus, if your feelings of despair are be so great that you feel you can no longer continue, the prescription is simple; hang in there! Be patient. Soon you will find a way to rise out of your ashes and spread your wings like a soaring eagle. The joy that awaits you is far greater than the pain you are experiencing.
Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle!
One of the modern pioneers of affirmations, Louise Hay, has suggested that saying your affirmations in the mirror is a great way to increase their potency. This is true. See if you can look in the mirror while saying a self-love affirmation such as, “I love myself just the way I am.”
This may seem like a silly exercise, but I encourage you to try it. Making eye contact with yourself while affirming yourself is not easy. Many of us are programmed to be self-critical and to see our flaws rather than our gifts. Thus, it is difficult for us to feel truly worthy of the love and support that the universe has to offer.
So try this exercise out. Say a positive statement, look at yourself in the mirror and fully let in the good you are affirming. The law of attraction will bring you that which is your heart’s desire.