positive affirmations for anxiety

Affirmations for Anxiety


Learning Objectives

  • Understanding Anxiety: To understand the nature of anxiety and how it feeds off of negative thoughts.
  • Utilizing Affirmations: To understand the purpose of positive affirmations in combating anxiety and how to use them effectively.
  • Recognizing False Perceptions: To recognize the discrepancy between perception and reality, specifically in the context of anxiety.
  • Applying Affirmations to Daily Life: To learn how to incorporate affirmations into daily life as a strategy to reduce anxiety.
  • Creating Personal Affirmations: To understand how to create personalized affirmations that resonate with individual circumstances and beliefs.

Anxiety is a parasite that lives in your thoughts. But it only lives if you feed it. Anxiety thrives by sending you worries, catastrophic thoughts, and harsh self-judgments. These negative thoughts feel true, but leave you feeling pessimistic, ineffectual, and depleted. If I am weak and anxiety is strong, then why am I trying?

Affirmations for anxiety counter negative thoughts by providing positive statements to replace negative thoughts. Think about it. The mind lives in its thoughts like fish live in the sea. Philosophically speaking, thoughts are the lens through which the mind sees reality. But eventually, the mind forgets about the lens, and mistakes its own perception as reality. If your thoughts are negative, then the world is negative.

Using Affirmations for Anxiety

Some people believe that just by repeating affirmations, they can fortify their resistance and reduce anxiety. Unfortunately, the mere repetition of affirmations is probably useless. The cognitive model of psychotherapy says that there is a close connection between thoughts and feeling. To change your feelings, you should change your thoughts and beliefs. Have and BELIEVE positive thoughts and positive feelings will follow.

To use affirmations most effectively, you must first allow the affirmation. If you treat the affirmation as a hypothesis, to be sustained or falsified by the evidence, you’re missing the point. Say, for example, that the affirmation is “I always survive, and I will continue to survive.” If you search your mind for evidence from your life that argues against the affirmation, then you are attacking the affirmation. Essentially, you are attacking yourself.

Instead, affirmations are intended to put you in contact with some bedrock reality that you already know to be true. The statement “I always survive…” is intended to fortify determination and resolve in the face of adversity. The affirmation puts you in contact with some fundamental truth about yourself or about life, a truth that stands in opposition to anxiety’s false claims and illusions.

Second, once you’ve made contact with the bedrock reality behind anxiety’s illusions, let the inspiration flow. Feel it, let it rise up, let is suffuse your entire awareness. Close your eyes and tune in to your feelings if you so desire. Affirmations represent possible futures that you are CHOOSING to make real. They are expressions of your free will, of your creativity, and of your ability to make constructive decisions and be effective in your own life. Think of affirmations as positive self-talk that’s intended to replace negative self-talk and inspire you to move forward and make changes in yourself and your life. The positive self-talk can’t flow if you muzzle it.

Third, affirmations work best if you choose to revisit them throughout the day. For convenience, you can write affirmations on notecards and carry them in your wallet, purse, or pocket. You can also post affirmations where they will frequently be seen. You might choose, for example, to put a list on your bathroom mirror, so that you see them every morning and evening. You could print up a whole list and post them on your refrigerator door or your bedroom door. You might even choose to download an app for your phone that sends you positive affirmations randomly throughout the day.

You can also use affirmations whenever you feel anxiety rising up. But note that affirmations are not intended to fortify a wall against your anxiety. Affirmations do not serve resistance. The root cause of panic attacks, for example, is anxiety about anxiety. The dread of a panic attack causes the person to monitor bodily signals, like heart rate, leading to a vicious circle that actually causes the panic attack.

Example Affirmations for Anxiety

The key to making affirmations work for you is to select those that resonate with you, that speak to you in some deep way. Below are some examples, categorized according to theme. Many more could be written.

Affirmations for Anxiety: Persevering Adversity

  • I’ve survived worse, and I will survive now.
  • I can take this one day at a time.
  • My small steps today make for big changes tomorrow.
  • Once step at a time gets it done.
  • I can make a plan and work a plan and revise a plan.
  • I choose to persevere and refuse to become discouraged.
  • My thinking is flexible enough to deal with changing situations and demands.
  • If something doesn’t work, I can go a different way.

Affirmations for Anxiety: Building Confidence

  • Affirmations that build confidence help you believe in yourself enough to take action.
  • I have some positive attributes that other people enjoy.
  • I can capitalize on my good points.
  • It’s not where you start, it where you end up that counts.
  • I grow though challenges.
  • My anxiety is giving birth to courage.
  • I have an enormous contribution to make, and I will.
  • There is so much potential inside of me, and I can feel it surfacing.

Affirmations for Anxiety: Unmasking Illusions

  • I don’t need to believe what the anxiety parasite tells me to believe.
  • I can stand apart from my anxious thoughts and simply observe them.
  • Anxious thoughts are only thoughts, they are not reality.
  • Catastrophes almost never happen, and they’re not worth worrying about.
  • I choose to be present in the here and now, rather than lost in my thoughts.
  • It’s what I feel when I’m calm that’s real, the anxiety is only illusion.

Affirmations for Anxiety: Connecting with Joy

  • By suspending thought and being present, I can cherish the simple beauty around me.
  • So many positive things are happening in the world every single moment.
  • I feel so much potential inside of me.
  • I choose to slow down, be present, and feel the joy of mere existence.

Affirmations for Anxiety: Coping with Panic Attacks

  • I have survived every attack, and I will survive all future attacks.
  • I don’t have to believe everything my mind thinks or my body feels.
  • I can stand back and dispassionately observe anxiety in my mind and body.
  • I choose to be okay with any panic attack that happens.
  • If I refuse to believe the anxious thoughts, then panic is just arousal in my body.
  • I choose to put myself in situations can I know cause my body to become anxious.

Creating your Own Affirmations for Anxiety

Any number of positive affirmations for anxiety could be written. In general, affirmations are effective if they…

  • Resonate with you.
  • Are worded to be short and direct.
  • State some deep truth succinctly.
  • Put you into connection with values that energize you.
  • Encourage you to take the next step and go forward.
  • Play your strengths.
  • Build on past success or accomplishment or achievement as evidence.
  • Are worded as “I statements,” as in “I choose to…”
  • Present anxiety as making false statements and illusions, which is exactly how anxiety works.

In contrast, affirmations that state what you must NOT do are really statements of resistance to anxiety and to anxiety about anxiety. Statements like ‘I must not worry” and “I must not have a panic attack” indicate how deeply entrenched anxiety is in your life and thoughts. Human beings are intended to grow. Your life should be about living, loving, and growing, not about trying not to be anxious. Stating what you must not do positions anxiety as the most important reference point in your life, a contradiction, since anxiety is exactly what you most wish to eliminate. Focus on becoming and you can literally outgrow anxiety.


Reading Comprehension Questions:

  1. Question 1: Which of the following statements is true?
    • A) Affirmations for anxiety work by completely eliminating negative thoughts.
    • B) Affirmations for anxiety replace negative thoughts with positive statements.
    • C) Affirmations for anxiety validate our negative thoughts.
    • D) Affirmations for anxiety ignore both positive and negative thoughts.
  2. Question 2: Which of the following statements is true?
    • A) The text suggests affirmations should be rejected if they do not match our current beliefs.
    • B) The text suggests affirmations should be repeated mindlessly to work.
    • C) The text suggests affirmations should be tested against our life experiences.
    • D) The text suggests affirmations should be allowed and believed to make a positive impact.
  3. Question 3: Which of the following statements is true?
    • A) Affirmations are meant to act as a wall to block out all anxiety.
    • B) Affirmations serve as reminders of the root cause of anxiety.
    • C) Affirmations act as a tool to deny the presence of anxiety.
    • D) Affirmations put us in touch with fundamental truths about ourselves, countering anxiety’s illusions.
  4. Question 4: Which of the following statements is true?
    • A) Affirmations should be revisited once a week.
    • B) Affirmations are most effective when written on notecards and carried around.
    • C) Affirmations should be written but not looked at again.
    • D) Affirmations should be ignored during times of increased anxiety.
  5. Question 5: Which of the following statements is true?
    • A) Affirmations for anxiety should be lengthy and detailed.
    • B) Affirmations for anxiety should focus on the negative aspects of anxiety.
    • C) Affirmations for anxiety should focus on what you must not do.
    • D) Affirmations for anxiety should be short, direct, positive, and resonate with the individual.

Answers:

  • 1. B) Affirmations for anxiety replace negative thoughts with positive statements.
  • 2. D) The text suggests affirmations should be allowed and believed to make a positive impact.
  • 3. D) Affirmations put us in touch with fundamental truths about ourselves, countering anxiety’s illusions.
  • 4. B) Affirmations are most effective when written on notecards and carried around.
  • 5. D) Affirmations for anxiety should be short, direct, positive, and resonate with the individual.
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