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Dr. Corinne: The Importance of Self-Affirmation; How What You Say About Yourself Affects You

Dr. Corinne Weaver : Jul 31, 2020

By increasing your awareness of when and how you speak to yourself (or think to yourself), you'll be able to correct your thoughts and begin reforming patterns of understanding.

The other night one of my kids had a friend over. This friend called another friend to talk. I stepped in the conversation and all I could hear was this person talking negative talk about themselves. With everything going on in the world, I am noticing more and more people talk negatively. This not only affects you, but it is greatly affecting our children. Many changes are happening around us but some things still remain the same, our God is still in control and He loves us. (Image credit: Unsplash-Taylor Smith)

Today I want to talk about the science of affirmations. Affirmations are all about being aware of your emotions, so take a moment to check in with yourself and determine how you're feeling at this moment. An affirmation is a positive statement used to challenge negative or unwanted thoughts.

"Affirmation" as a word in and of itself refers to an act of saying or showing that something is true. For example, "They nodded their heads in affirmation." The official definition of "self-affirmation" from Merriam Webster reads, "The act of affirming one's own worthiness and value as an individual for beneficial effect (such as increasing one's confidence or raising self-esteem)." Based on these definitions, do you feel that self-affirmations would benefit you? How would you currently rate your own self-esteem?

In general, we're pretty harsh on ourselves. Many of us are more critical of ourselves than anyone else, even people we actively dislike! Why? Because we've created negative core beliefs throughout our lives. These core beliefs are based on personal experiences and the lessons we take away from them. These beliefs can also come from observing others. For example, if you had a parent who was highly self-critical, you're more likely to be that way as well.

These patterns of negative thinking develop early and become paths that our brains turn to when it needs an answer. Like if something bad happens at work, you're trying to figure out what went wrong, and your brain will begin running through old patterns and beliefs that say, 'you're not smart enough,' or 'you're not good enough.'

The good news is you can change those patterns—it just takes some practice.

Our brains are built to create information that is based on our personal interpretations of patterns and assumptions. When we don't have all the information about something, we fill in the blanks based on the information we already have. Usually, this comes from what others have told us about ourselves or how we interpret others' perceptions. If you had someone in your life who bullied you, abused you, or told you that you weren't "enough," those negative thoughts tend to stick. That's the issue with assumptions, they're not always accurate, but they can get saved into our subconscious anyway.

Negative thoughts, attitudes, and feelings can create chronic stress in the body, which can have serious consequences. Imbalances in our hormones and chemicals in the brain and a damaged immune response are just a few of the effects that chronic stress and negative thoughts can have on the body.

Affirmations work because of something called self-affirmation theory. This theory begins with the premise that people are motivated to maintain the integrity of self. Therefore, people will reflect on strengths and values when faced with challenges or the need to overcome a barrier. In other words, affirmation helps to protect the ego.

People seek new favorable knowledge about themselves as well as ways to revise pre-existing, but unfavorable views of themselves. To seek self-affirmation, someone might post a picture to social media that will garner a lot of attention, seek direct reassurance from someone in their lives, or use something like positive affirmations to provide that information directly to themselves.

The development of self-affirmation theory has led to neuroscientific research about how the brain is affected when we self-affirm in positive ways. MRI scans show that when people practice self-affirmation, certain neural pathways are increased in the self-related information processing part of the brain. This means that those who practice self-affirmation are able to effectively change the way we process information about ourselves.

Positive affirmations help us to respond in a less defensive and resistant way when we're presented with threats. This is because by developing a better sense of self, we basically boost our self-esteem and feel more capable of handling difficulties when they arise.

Positive affirmations are not designed to be cures for mental diagnosis, nor are they a substitute for clinical treatment. However, they can be a beneficial tool. If you're struggling with anxiety and/or depression, it's likely that you have a negative view of yourself, so affirmations can be a great thing to incorporate into your wellness routine.

There are no rules for practicing affirmations in terms of how often you practice, the length of your phrasing, or what you say, but there are a few guidelines. Let's take a closer look.

We go throughout our days being mean to ourselves without even realizing it! We look in the mirror and think, "yuck," but then continue through our day. We eat a donut and think, "shame on you," and don't really think twice about it. When we allow ourselves to get away with thinking these thoughts, we set a precedent for our own behavior. By increasing your awareness of when and how you speak to yourself (or think to yourself), you'll be able to correct your thoughts and begin reforming patterns of understanding.

Becoming aware of your negative thoughts will help you in your fight to reverse them. However, these thoughts can be hard to catch, because we've become so accustomed to allowing them. If you'd like, start off by looking in the mirror and paying attention to where your mind goes. Are your thoughts negative or positive? Are you focused on a specific part of your body? If so, ask yourself where those thoughts came from.

Consider situations that trigger negative feelings. For example, putting on a swimsuit can be a trigger for many people. Speaking in front of a group of people can be one too, as can approaching someone new for friendship or networking purposes. Triggers create a woosh of negative self-talk and emotions like, "They'll never talk to me. What have I got to offer?" Or, "I'm so bad at speaking in front of people; I'm just going to waste their time."

Take a moment to consider what triggers your negative thoughts.

If the words you speak don't have any personal meaning to you, they probably won't work. That's why it's important to create affirmations for yourself based on your own values and beliefs.

A good rule of thumb for creating affirmations is to begin your sentence with the phrase, "I am."

Some other guidelines:

Keep it present tense.

Be as specific as possible.

Be brief.

Also, keep this in mind:

The subconscious mind cannot differentiate between negative and positive. So if you want to be successful, don't use an affirmation like "I don't want to be a failure." The subconscious will dwell on the word failure, and skip out on the intention behind it, so be careful in how you word your affirmations.

Search online for a video of guided affirmations. Or, try an app like "Think Up," "Shine," and "Unique Daily Affirmations."

We repeat affirmations so that they sink deeper into the subconscious mind. Whether you take five minutes to repeat your affirmations each morning or sprinkle them throughout your day, repetition is an important part of helping your brain soak up the information you're trying to give it.

Get creative and use affirmations for screen savers, write them on post-it notes, or pin them up on your wall or mirror!

If you're finding it difficult to remember to practice your affirmations, consider incorporating them into your morning routine—while you make your coffee, while you drive to work, while you brush your teeth.

Here is my affirmation, so you can see an example.

I love the way God created me. I am beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am overflowing with positive energy and my heart speaks joy. I will use my creative energy to bring forth abundance in my life. My spirit of gratitude attracts fullness and God's favor. My love for my spouse and my children is stronger than ever. I rejoice knowing that every step I take today is ordered by God and I will face today with confidence in my Faith.

I hope today I inspired you to create your own affirmations. If you have any other health and wellness concerns, you'd like to address, let me know! I love working one-on-one to help people live healthier lifestyles. My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications. If you or someone you know needs help, make sure you reach out because I am available for a telehealth call. Let's continue to share Hope in this world and get on our knees to pray to our Heavenly Father asking Him to strengthen us daily realizing its impossible to live the Christian life without Him. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

God Bless!!

Keep Breathing,
Dr. Corinne Weaver 


References and Affirmation Examples:

Empowerment Moments Blog

Creating Your Affirmations

Mechanics of Self-Affirmation

The Cut

Self-Affirmations Effect on Self

What Makes Us Think Negatively?

Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.

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