Why You Should Implement Affirmations Into Your Self-Care Routine

With Millennials and Gen Zers demanding more attention to their mental health and self-care, it's tempting to underestimate some of the trendy practices as nutty or unrealistic. Long has the capitalistic empires that raised us encouraged bootstrap mentality, hard work, and one-dimensional beauty standards. Now, in an attempt to combat societal pressures and impossible ideals, people everywhere are learning the power of positive thinking and affirmations.

For Baby Boomers or those who lived through the Great Depression, it may seem like another "gold star" effort – rewarding oneself as special or unique, having done nothing to earn such praise. For younger generations, it's a no-brainer, with the hashtag #affirmations reaching nearly eight billion views on TikTok. Those who use the affirmations report a better outlook on life, improved physical well-being, and even alleviation of anxiety or depression (via Positive Psychology).

According to the Annual Review of Psychology, humans, as a species, are obsessed with personhood and the self, and affirmations provide a powerful, long-lasting notion of the self and one's relation to the world that stimulates a positive feedback loop for the individual.

Affirmations rewire the brain

Good affirmations are written in the present tense as if they are already in action and are, of course, positive, describing a reality or characteristic that the individual wants to attain. The idea is that by repeatedly saying or writing down your affirmations, you slowly begin to reprogram the subconscious, which will, in turn, begin operating under new assumptions created by the affirmations. At first, it might seem illogical to declare yourself "smart," "loved," or "abundant." However, we all need this because, unfortunately, most people don't think highly of themselves, with Psychology Today reporting that 85% of adults worldwide suffer from low self-esteem. This is why implementing mindfulness and self-care practices like affirmations is crucial.

Psychologists are now finding that the affirmations have scientifically backed practical uses. In a 2014 report, researchers found that minority students assigned value affirmation practices showed performance improvements, closing achievement gaps between student demographics (via Annual Reviews). The implications that simple self-care tools have for systemically marginalized communities could be stronger than we imagine.

Affirmations create a sense of self-worth

One of the powers of affirmations is that they help celebrate the uniqueness of an individual in a world that can sometimes encourage monotonous beauty standards. Reaffirming phrases like "I am beautiful" or "I am powerful" encourages one's individuality in the face of societal pressure.

According to the American Psychology's Association's theory of self-affirmation, when outside forces threaten people's positive perception of themselves, they might seek to console this discomfort by affirming aspects of the self. In other words, it's a great mechanism and self-defense tool against the daily afflictions of work pressure, world events, and other emotional disturbances that can cause anxiety or stress.

If you want to start implementing affirmations in your self-care routine, start by first brainstorming qualities about yourself you'd like to enhance or even things you believe you deserve. For example, you can say, "I am a powerful vessel of creativity, and I deserve massive abundance." If that feels too grand, then start small. Just remember to be kind to yourself. You deserve it.