Every day in every way?


Do you use positive self-statements (affirmations)? You know, the ones like ‘I am a loveable person’?

Did you know that the research shows that it may not help at all?

Researchers (listed below) found that after saying positive self-statements people with low self-esteem actually felt worse. Ironic, as these people were meant to get the most out of them. For those with high self-esteem, though, there was a slight benefit.

To shed some light on this the same researchers did another study. They got those with low self-esteem to list only positive thoughts about themselves, yet it didn’t do much for their sense of well-being. On the other hand, if those same people were allowed to also list negatives, then interestingly, they fared better.


Why would this happen?

So what’s the problem? Haven’t we all been told we have to ‘be positive’ if we want to be happy? We have, but when you tell yourself that you are a loveable person, for instance, if this contradicts the way you really think of yourself, you're liable to feel this gap – and not feel so good.

So positive affirmations are fairly helpful - but only for those who already see themselves positively. For those who say things that deep down they really don’t agree with then it’s like telling themselves that they're an octopus or a carrot – their mind will struggle to accept this and as a result will rebel.

Does this also apply to Hypnotic Suggeston? Probably not, because hyponsis takes our mind into a more responsive state and a good, effective Suggestion is one that the person can believe in. For example, deep down every smoker knows that he/she can quit, and therefore telling him/her this won't lead to this internal conflict. (As every smoker realises, if you lock him/her in a room with nothing but food and water every day, he/she will be a non-smoker!)

So the research strongly suggests that we do better to find a more profound way to change our self-image than by using affirmations. There are plenty of ways of doing this, we can use Regression techniques, something called EFT, or one of a number of other options. Maybe worth checking out.


The Take-Away

If you really want to use affirmations then make sure you really have some belief in the statement you're going to use - or use something more profound. Good luck!

Researchers referred to above: Psychologists Joanne V. Wood and John W. Lee from the University of Waterloo, and W.Q. Elaine Perunovic from the University of New Brunswick.