Affirmations are our friends! – 60-Day Challenge update
What a great week! I have always known that affirmations are a strong tool for changing mindset and behavior. This week, I found out just how impactful they can be! Let me backup and share.
As we all know, mindset matters. It’s part of the mind, body, spirit connection that makes us each wonderful and unique human beings. However, as humans, we can develop limiting thoughts about ourselves and our situations from a very early age. We pick up other people’s ideas and experiences and tuck them away as gospel. Someone can comment on our weight or abilities during childhood, and that stays with us, unconsciously, into adulthood.
Affirmations are a tool for “re-programming” the brain. Neuroscience is now catching up to prove what metaphysicians and therapists have known for years. When you change your thoughts, you can change the structure of the brain and your beliefs. When your beliefs change, everything else falls in line.
Different people over the years have explained it in different ways. Gandhi talks about “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” More contemporary uses have shortened this up to say your thoughts lead to feelings lead to actions lead to results. But the bottom line is that our beliefs and thinking can change our performance.
Affirmations are positive statements we say, write or think over and over again to change our thought patterns on a topic, usually a negative belief about ourselves. There are many ways to incorporate them from Louis Hay and “mirror work” to heal illness, to writing them 50-100x per day, to leaving yourself post it notes around the house. The point is repeating them consistently and daily, with feeling, to change your “go to” thoughts. Make sure they are present tense as if it’s your current reality, and they are a positive statement of the belief. (“No” and “Not” and “Don’t” won’t register properly).
For the 60-day challenge, I did my own experiments. Here are some of the results.
- Affirmations during exercises
This one I loved! I experimented with different affirmations while swimming one night. When I hit 30 minutes into laps (my record was 40 minutes), I was getting tired. I ditched my thinking about my “to do” list and changed to “I am strong. I am fit. I am healthy.” Within a lap, I had new energy and even picked up speed. So I decided to play with it. I kept going like this for about 10 minutes, feeling renewed. Then I changed my thinking again to my 16-year old cat who had a seizure and was refusing to eat. The water felt like quick sand, dragging me down. I wasn’t sure I could go another round. So I said a quick prayer for my kitty (who is doing much better now) and went back to “I am strong. I am fit. I am healthy.” The energy came back again, like magic. I swam another 10 minutes, still feeling great. I decided to try another experiment, now almost an hour into my laps, blowing well past my personal best. I went back to my “to do” list and things around the house. I felt sluggish as if I only had one or two more laps in me. Once again, I brought back in my affirmations. This time I used “I am in the flow and letting go” as a change up. I went another 20 minutes when I finally decided my body really WAS tired. I had doubled my personal best duration for swimming! It was amazing! Now I use the same technique on the elliptical trainer and even during classes, especially when I feel I can’t do another rep. This positive re-enforcement truly extends workout time!
- Affirmations during the day to replace negative thoughts
During the day, when I feel my motivation or mindset drooping around my fitness goals, I use affirmations as a little “pick me up.” It’s normally when worry seeps in. “Should I be eating different foods?” “What if I hurt my knee or back again?” “How am I getting to the gym today with everything else I have to do?” Bringing in an affirmation along with several deep breaths releases whatever anxiety has built up and puts me back into the mindset I want to maintain. It’s important when you catch yourself with thoughts that do not serve your purpose, you replace them. Extensive research shows that negative thoughts have a detrimental impact on our health while positive thinking has the opposite effect and can drastically improve our health. Having a stable of useful affirmations provides a quick “go to” solution for changing the vibration of your thinking in real time.
- Affirmations during Chiro and Massage work
I have injuries and physical stuff still healing so I work with a Chiropractor whom I saw this week. He is fabulous, but sometimes what needs doing doesn’t always feel so great and requires my muscles and myofascia to release. Historically, they can be stubborn at times. This week I used affirmation while he was working on me to help release some of the tricky spots faster or to help breathe through the discomfort. It worked great! Thank you, Dr. Saul! I had a big week and also saw a massage therapist as well. Using a release mantra and visualizing my muscles as flexible and loose literally made the muscles feel warm, and substantially reduced my discomfort while working on sensitive areas. It was pretty amazing stuff!!
So these are just a few ways I have used affirmations this week. How are you using them?
In my 60-Day Weight Loss Challenge at Lifetime Fitness, I just finished week 2. I am down 10 pounds from my starting weight. However, the results have slowed down this week. I am using my intuition but also consulting with fitness professionals as well. Use all your resources, right!?!
The funny result is that I am not eating enough. My mindfulness meditations on making better choices are paying off because I am passing on a lot of food I would otherwise consume! (More on that in another article.) Because of low-calorie intake, my brain has gone into “survival” mode, kicking back to caveman days of “fight or flight” and “sometimes we just didn’t get the mammoth.” So this week we will increase the calorie count in addition to affirmations and meditation to see if we can get the body burning again. Perhaps my affirmation will be “I am a fat burning machine!”
How can you bring affirmations into your life? What behavior, limiting beliefs and thought patterns could affirmations help you to re-program?
Have a super week and watch for my Motivational Monday Affirmation on Facebook @shangillauthor! Thanks for joining me on this journey!