I did a yoga teacher training course in 2017. When I was handed the course outline, one of the topics was mantras. I understood their benefits and liked the idea of repeating something meaningful to myself, but the spiritualness of it didn’t appeal to me. Luckily, the Western world loves to take things from the Eastern world and tweak them to make them more accessible to the masses. It’s like how mindfulness is really just meditation with a twist, so the Westernized version of mantras is positive affirmations…and I absolutely love them!
Being positive in general was hard for me for the longest time. My brain had gotten so used to negative thoughts that being slightly more optimistic, let alone doing a complete 180, seemed damn near impossible. But like with everything else in my eating disorder recovery, I decided to start off slowly. I found a few simple, positive affirmations that I liked, so I tried it out and discovered that they actually did help me be nicer to myself.
I personally like “I am” affirmations because it feels in-the-moment rather than something for the future. Because I tend to be an anxious person, I decided my first affirmation would be “I am calm”, so I sat myself down in a quiet room, closed my eyes, and repeated this over and over. Inhale I am. Exhale calm. Inhale I am. Exhale calm. When I opened my eyes a few minutes later, I did feel slightly calmer. My anxiety wasn’t 100% gone, but letting myself get lost in the soothing repetition of the affirmation made me feel a bit more at ease.
Once I began feeling more comfortable with affirmations, I expanded beyond the “I am” affirmation. “I accept” has become one of my favorites because I am someone who likes things just-so. Realistically, I cannot control everything that is thrown my way, so I use this affirmation to help me learn to accept things as they are.1
My go-to affirmations have changed as my life has taken me along different paths, but the internal voice of encouragement and reassurance has always helped me have a better outlook. These are some of the affirmations that have been beneficial for me:
- I am calm.
- I am happy.
- I am strong.
- I am beautiful.
- I am enough.
- I am exactly the right size for me.
- I am a good person.
- I am more than the number on the scale.
- I accept.
- I choose health over thinness.
- My body deserves love and respect.
- Nothing changes if nothing changes.
- Everything will work out.
- No one is perfect.
- It will be fine.
There were days when I repeated these to myself multiple times because I needed it that much,2 and there were other days when they barely crossed my mind. Either way, I knew that they were there to guide me away from my negative thoughts and feel more at peace.
What positive affirmations do you say to yourself? Please share in the comment section below.
1 Honestly, I think I’ll always be working on this.
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