Turn your whole world around with a few simple words.
By Parker O’Very
Sure, we all feel silly standing in front of the mirror, saying things like “I am the dominator” or “Go get ’em, tiger.” But a bulk of recent research suggests that affirmations can actually slash stress, depression, and anxiety. A 2001 landmark study in the Journal of American College Health, for example, revealed that uttering affirmations can help boost low self-esteem.
In other words, if done correctly, and frequently enough, positive affirmations can fight against the effects and toxicity of negative thinking. Curious enough to give it a whirl? Try out these 30 super effective affirmations that can turn your whole world around.
1“I am happy.”
Affirmations shouldn’t be seen as a means of making something unrealistic come to fruition. It doesn’t matter how many consecutive mornings you say “I’m a billionaire” in the mirror; if it isn’t true, it won’t magically happen simply by stating it.
As life coach Ryan Cooper explains on his YouTube channel, affirmations, by definition, affirm preexisting truths. So when it comes to affirmations, start small with things you know on some level to be true—like, “I am successful,” “I am beautiful,” or “I am happy.”
2“I am powerful.”
You might be familiar with social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s moving TED talk on the powerful effects of body language. During the talk, she argued that “‘power posing’—standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident—can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.” Couple this pose with the phrase “I am powerful,” and you’ll feel like you can conquer anything.
Before your next big meeting, interview, or even before a night out with your friends, stand like Superman or Wonder Woman in front of the mirror and remind yourself that you are powerful. Walk with your shoulders back and head held high, and your confidence will be palpable.
3“I am the best.”
According to psychotherapist Ronald Alexander, Ph.D., repeating “powerful words” like “I am the best” can help you “triumph over … negative thinking.” Having someone else remind you that you are remarkable and cherished can also help you “change your mood, state of mind, and manifest the change you desire in your life,” he writes.
4“I am a skilled and experienced professional.”
Struggling with persistent negative self-thoughts? Opposites can be incredibly effective when it comes to self-affirmation. In fact, the team behind career management website Mind Tools notes that writing a negative thought down and then writing out an affirmation that directly opposes it can prevent the negative thought from becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“If you habitually think, ‘I’m not talented enough to progress in my career,’ turn this around and write a positive affirmation such as, ‘I am a skilled and experienced professional,’” they suggest.
5“I am whole.”
In tough situations, it can be difficult to think of yourself as enough or even as adequate. However, reminding yourself that you are the complete package—with no missing parts—can invigorate you to tackle any obstacle that comes your way.
6“I am grateful.”
Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can experience. It can invoke humility, respect, and perhaps most importantly, peace. Tell yourself every day that you are grateful and verbally list the things worth being grateful for, and eventually you will actually start to feel gratitude take over.
7“Will I make today great?”
Sometimes, questions can lead to action in ways that statements cannot. In an article on PsychCentral, for example, Dr. Sophie Henshaw notes that a 2010 study published in the journal Psychological Science observed separate groups of people completing anagrams after repeatedly writing down either “I will,” “Will I,” “I,” or “Will.” Interestingly, those who wrote down “Will I” were able to complete far more anagrams than those who repeatedly wrote “I will.”
So, start your day asking yourself if you’ll make it a great one—and then take yourself up on that challenge. And for more ways to be productive, check out these 65 Genius Ways to Organize Your Life.
8“I feel safe in the rhythm and flow of ever-changing life.”
Often times we get so caught up in the fast pace of our lives that we fail to recognize that the changes, challenges, and obstacles we face are blessings in disguise. If you can stop seeing life as an unforgiving undertow trying to pull you down, you might be able to shift your thinking and see that life does, as motivational author Louise Hay proclaims on her website, have a certain flow and rhythm to it. You just have to make the choice to keep up and float on.
9“Being positive is possible.”
Sometimes even the mere idea of striving for positivity can seem discouraging. That’s why one of the most important affirmations to hold on to is that self-affirmation, positive self-image, and contentment are possible. As Hay wrote on her website, “The way you choose to think, right now, is just that—a choice. Now… today… this moment… you can choose to change your thinking.”
10“I can, and I will.”
If you play your cards right, a little bit of resolve could be the inspiration and motivation you need to get things done. You can’t always wait around for something to become truth—so instead of hoping things work out for the best, tell yourself that you can, and you will. Hey, if it won Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez a Golden Globe, it can do wonders for you, too.
11“I can’t fail. I can only progress.”
Cliché as it may sound, mistakes are just stepping stones toward something greater. As Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin, this time more intelligently.” In the wake of a seemingly insurmountable defeat, repeat this affirmation and remind yourself that when one door closes, another one opens.
12“It’s their mistake, not my failing.”
Nobel Prize winner Richard P. Feynman said in his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.” Focus on that which you can control, and you’ll find that you’ll become far less anxious.
13“I choose joy.”
This empowering declaration will strike a resolve in you to see the world through a different lens. My father always told me growing up, “The greatest power we have in life is the power to choose.” You can choose both how you feel about and how you react to your surroundings, so take charge of your day and choose a positive outlook.
14“I am always learning and growing.”
One of the greatest things about life is that there are always opportunities and potential for real growth. And given that there is always room to grow, you should find solace in the fact that you don’t have to be perfect. Viewing your imperfections as a natural part of life rather than a burden will help you see yourself in a much more positive light.
15“I am different. And that is great.”
Comparing yourself to others is toxic. Too often we try to measure our self-worth based on the seemingly perfect lives that everyone else has. Everyone is different for good reason. It’s time to stop comparing, and just be you.
16“I am adventurous.”
“Adventurous” can be something you define. You don’t have to hike Mt. Everest to consider yourself an explorer. Trying out a new fashion trend, reading a new book, binging a new Netflix series, or simply taking a different route to work could be enough to define yourself as “adventurous.” Try repeating this affirmation and you might just surprise yourself with your newfound sense of self-love.
17“I can do hard things.”
It’s a simple affirmation, sure, but sometimes the most obvious statements are also the most impactful. Especially when there is a major challenge or change ahead, this reminder can give you the confidence to be the best version of yourself. Once you start, it’s just one step at a time to the finish line.
18“I have made so much progress.”
While making it to the finish line feels fantastic, the little victories along the way are just as important. So, celebrate your achievements, and affirm your accomplishments to yourself, no matter how little they may seem. As S.J. Scott, the author behind self-help site Develop Good Habits, suggests, “Start small and work your way up, gaining confidence the whole way.”
19“I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.”
A strong sense of accomplishment will spark a true sense of contentment. It’s important to hope for the future and to find excitement in looking ahead, but equally important is enjoying the view (and progress) along the way.
20“I am calm.”
Have you ever been in a situation in which you told yourself, “Don’t cry,” only for the tears to flow even more? The problem with this phrase is that, when you say it, the two inherently negative words are processed by your brain as contradicting commands. So, instead of a negative command, take a positive twist with the phrase “I am calm.” It’s a statement of fact rather than direct command, and it won’t confuse your brain.
21“My projection is my perception.”
Have you ever considered the fact that your own perception of yourself can impact how others see themselves? It’s true: The way you carry yourself affects not just how others view you, but also how they view themselves. In her book Judgement Detox, Gabrielle Bernstein emphasizes the importance of this very idea. Remember: You’re not the only one working on your self-worth, so make a conscious effort to project positivity and an uplifting attitude, setting an example for others to follow.
22“I will let go of the past.”
Whereas emphasizing successes of the past can be a powerful motivator, focusing on your past shortcomings will only serve to dampen your resolve. Recognize that what’s done is done. You can only change what’s ahead of you.
23“Wonderful things come from [insert your name here].”
When LeBron James announced his move to the Miami Heat, he said, “I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy.” Though this phrasing sounds odd, it’s actually a useful tool when it comes to hyping yourself up. One 2014 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology determined that self-affirmations are more effective when said in the second or third person.
24“I love ___ about myself.”
While it’s true that negative thoughts can be about a hundred times more potent than positive ones, it is still possible to replace a negative thought with two, three, five, or even 10 positive ones. Start by complimenting yourself on your hair, your eyes, or even your outfit. Keep a running list of compliments, and refer to it whenever you need to dispel some negativity.
25“I am authentic.”
One of the things you have the most control over is your own authenticity. No one can take it from you; no one can shape it for you; it is something that only you can affirm. So, the next time you feel like your life is out of control, remind yourself of your own originality.
26“I hold the power to make lasting change.”
According to self-empowerment blogger Kelsey Aida, the affirmations you use should be “empowering, inspiring, and transformative.” You probably won’t see change overnight, but with a repeated focus on the good and the tangible, you will find that your confidence and self-image will improve.
27“I am a kind and loving person.”
In order to effectively plan for the obstacles ahead of you, you need to know where you stand in the here and now instead of focusing on who you will be or who you want to be. Remember, you are affirming what is already true, not putting possibilities out there and hoping for the best.
28“I have a purpose.”
Your purpose doesn’t have to transcend time and space, and it can change and evolve as you do. However, it helps to have a purpose (and to remind yourself of it), because working toward a goal can influence your potential and ability to make a positive impact.
29Tell someone else, “You are doing wonderful work.”
You know how great it feels when someone gives you a genuine, unsolicited compliment. But have you ever taken a second to think about how it impacts you when you’re on the giving end? These outbound affirmations are especially effective in a team environment, in which a little bit of positivity can create a productive atmosphere. As Tanya Hall, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, explained on Inc., “positive affirmations can break through negativity and inspire great work.”
30“My life is just beginning.”
Dr. Carmen Harra, a psychologist and relationship expert, wrote for HuffPost that one of the most powerful ways to see every day as a new opportunity is by kicking your mornings off saying, “My life is just beginning.” And really, with these new affirmations, it truly is. Still need to instill a little more confidence in yourself? Here are 23 Easy Ways to Instantly Boost Your Self-Esteem.