A complete guide to creating & using self-affirmations.

Positive affirmations are acts that can bolster your self-confidence and self-esteem.

They can be used when you feel threatened or scared.  And they can be used as an internal self-reward to enhance your mood and outlook on life.

One study even demonstrated the multiple benefits that self-affirmations can have on one's health, such as:

  • increased well-being
  • decreased stress
  • improved academic performance
  • openness to behavior change
  • enhanced outlook on life

You may have heard of positive affirmations, but do you struggle with understanding how they work and how to use them?

This article will go over a list of positive affirmations to use every day, what affirmations are, how affirmations work in the brain, and how to use them effectively to improve your life.


A list of 27 daily, positive self-affirmations to improve your life.

  1. I am worthy.
  2. I am intelligent.
  3. I am beautiful.
  4. I am competent.
  5. I am more than enough.
  6. I am powerful beyond measure.
  7. I have confidence in my skills.
  8. Love and joy flow through me with ease.
  9. My family supports and loves me in every way.
  10. I have something valuable to contribute to the world.
  11. The Universe is always supportive of my thoughts, decisions, and actions.
  12. I have a very satisfying career and a very caring employer.
  13. I have a thriving and wildly successful business.
  14. My significant other is very loving, thoughtful, and considerate.
  15. Everything is revealed to me at the perfect time.
  16. I have everything I need within me to succeed in life.
  17. Opportunities open up to me and I am ready to receive them.
  18. Challenges are wonderful learning opportunities.
  19. I overcome all obstacles that are placed in my path.
  20. My life is full of abundance.
  21. Happy surprises come to me each day.
  22. I am vibrant, radiant health.
  23. I love everyone and everyone loves me.
  24. I trust in the process of life.
  25. I see the path that is meant for me clearly.
  26. I completely accept myself for who I am right now.
  27. I am perfect, whole, and complete.

What are self-affirmations?

Self-affirmations are statements that confirm your self-worth and value as an individual.  Therefore, affirmations can affect your mood and behavior in a positive or negative way.

Examples of negative affirmations are negative thoughts that pop into your head, such as:

  • I don't have enough skills or talent.
  • It's too much work for me.
  • My family will not approve of me.
  • I am not that kind of person.
  • It's not the right time.
  • The other person is to blame.

On the other hand, positive affirmations help to build and lift you up.  If you construct your affirmations in a positive light, they can help boost your self-confidence & self-esteem. Some examples are: "I am worthy" or "People like me for who I am."

Before you start using self-affirmations, there are some things to keep in mind so you can use them effectively to improve your life.

How to create self-affirmations.

Here are some points to remember when you're creating an affirmation so it has a powerful impact on your life.

Create positive affirmations.

It's important to frame your affirmations in a positive way if you want to improve your life.  One simple way to do this is to avoid certain words like should and don't.

These are words that have a negative tone, and you don't want your affirmations to make you feel this way.  Here are some examples:

  • "I don't want to feel bad about myself anymore."
  • "I should stop eating junk food."

So it's important to create affirmations that are positive if you want to improve your life.

Construct your affirmations in the present tense.

If you want your affirmations to feel true, you need to construct them in the present tense.  Saying an affirmation in the past or future tense doesn't connect you to it as tightly or make it as effective as one in the present tense.

Here's an example of an affirmation in the past tense:

"I always wanted to be a famous fashion designer."

You are saying that you want to be a fashion designer, but not with any real conviction.  Therefore, it keeps the affirmation in the past.

Here's an example of an affirmation in the future tense.

"I will be rich someday."

An affirmation in the future tense will always keep it out of reach for you.

Connect with and really feel the affirmation.

One way to make your affirmation more effective is to connect with it and truly feel it from within.  The way to do this is to create one that you can relate to and is realistic.

You might have trouble feeling or connecting with your affirmation if you aim too high.

For example:

"I am good enough" versus "I am a superstar".  

The first phrase is more realistic & relatable if you're at a point in your life where you're not ready to accept the latter phrase.

If you create an affirmation that feels lofty or out of touch too soon, you might have trouble connecting with it personally.

You can always change your affirmation once you can genuinely feel it.

Work on your limiting beliefs.

Your beliefs are the things that you perceive and accept as truth.  They affect how you think and behave and can influence your decisions.

If you want to create affirmations that positively affect your life, you need to identify your limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs can hold you back from going after what you want in life.  Therefore, they could make your affirmations less effective if you still carry negative beliefs about yourself.

Crush your ANTS.

In his book, Limitless, Jim Kwik describes ANTS as automatic negative thoughts (aka negative automatic thoughts).  It's a questionnaire developed by Steven D. Hollon and Phillip C. Kendall that is used to identify negative thoughts that automatically pop up into your mind.

Here are types of automatic negative thoughts as outlined in a Harvard stress and development article:

  • "All or nothing" thinking:  Seeing yourself as a failure if your performance is short of perfect.
  • Mental filter:  dwelling on a single negative detail so it distorts your vision of reality.
  • Rejecting the positive:  discounting positive experiences in order to maintain a negative belief.
  • Catastrophizing:  overexaggerating a minor mistake.
  • Minimization:  underplaying one's capabilities.

You want to identify your ANTs so you can overcome them.  Doing so can help increase your sense of self-worth so you can connect with your affirmations on a deeper level.

Do a self-assessment.

A self-assessment could help you create affirmations that will have a significant impact in your life.

You can do this by looking at the broader categories of your life, such as:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Occupational
  • Health
  • Recreational

Assess the categories that you want to improve or change and give priority to the ones that are most important and urgent.  This allows you to create affirmations that are more specific and will actually work for you.

The next step is to put your affirmations to use so you can practice using them every day.

How to use self-affirmations.

After you've done the work of identifying your limiting beliefs, crushing your negative thoughts, doing a self-assessment, and creating positive self-affirmations, you can start using them.

You can use your affirmations any time of day, such as right before you get out of bed, at noon, or in the evening as you end the day.

While you don't have to practice your affirmations every single day, it's helpful to do them regularly.

I personally practice my self-affirmations most mornings before I get out of bed, while everything is quiet and my energy is high, so I can connect with them and really feel them from within.

Keep a record or journal of your thoughts, feelings, and actions so you're aware of improvements in your thinking and behavior patterns.

Studies have shown that affirmations, over time, can enhance your performance and even increase your motivation to change your behavior & improve your life.

How self-affirmations work in the brain.

Self-affirmations can help you rewire your neural pathways so you can transcend limiting beliefs and threats to your sense of self-worth.

One documented study revealed that self-affirmations can actually help in the following ways:

  • mitigate threatening situations
  • decrease stress
  • increase well being
  • improve performance
  • make people more open to change in their behavior.

Researchers examined the neural processes of self-affirmations that are activated in the brain to understand the underlying mechanisms.   They tested areas of the brain associated with “positive valuation, self-related processing, and emotional regulation.”

The participants in the study and the control group were asked to rank 8 values from least to most.  They included:

  • creativity
  • relations with family and friends
  • sense of humor
  • independence
  • business or earning money
  • politics, religious values
  • spontaneity or living life in the moment.

Then the participants wrote what they valued most, such as relations with friends and family.  

During their brain scans, they were asked to think about their most important core value and how they felt.  Then they were given a threat message to change their sedentary behavior.

They were asked to reflect on their values in relation to past experiences and self-affirmation tasks related to desired future outcomes.  The control group was asked to think about their least important core value.

The study examined the participants’ functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see which parts of the brain, in relation to self-affirmation processes, had activity.

This was in relation to participants’ future goals and self-affirming health messages to change sedentary behavior in sedentary adults.

 The brain scans revealed reward and value pathways activated when given self-affirmations based on what they valued most. Also, the scans revealed areas in the brain related to self-processing and prospection were activated when self-affirmation tasks were performed.

They found that the self-affirmed group performed better during the threat messages and were more likely to change their behavior when they were done right before the threats.

Self-affirmations not only put you in a more positive state of mind, they also help you become more resilient during threatening or challenging times.

The benefits of self-affirmations.

Here are the benefits of self-affirmations based on two studies:

  1. Affirmations can help to increase your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
  2. Self-affirmations can help you through challenging times.
  3. Affirmations can help enhance your performance.
  4. Daily, positive affirmations can help to create a more meaningful life.
  5. Positive self-affirmations can help shift your perspective from negative to positive.

A study done by the University of Pennsylvania revealed the important functions of self-affirmations.  First, they found that just thinking about something they value is enjoyable.

Second, self-affirmations helped when they felt threatened by criticism or failure.  Third, increasing the basis of one’s self-worth can help to regulate emotions.

The researchers also found that self-transcending values, not self-enhancing values, played a powerful role in positively changing behavior.

This allows an individual to focus on future-oriented goals in a more positive light when they strengthened their self-worth.

In another study, researchers told a group of students to write down their affirmations and repeat them.  Then another group of students was allowed to choose to do the self-affirmations.

The first group had a performance boost on tests.  The last group also had a performance boost on tests, but when they failed, did not underperform on the next test.

Self-affirmations enabled them to cope with a threat to their abilities and perform on tests even through adversity.

Closing thoughts.

Positive self-affirmations can help to enhance and bolster your mood, emotional state, performance, behavior, and mindset.

They can help you to transcend threats & challenges to your self-worth, which in turn can increase your resilience.

Before you create your affirmations, remember to identify beliefs about yourself that hold you back in life because self-affirmations are more effective if you have a good sense of self-worth.

You need to frame your affirmations in a positive light and practice them regularly so they can add value to and improve your life.

Do you have your own positive self-affirmations that you use regularly?  Please let me know down below in the comments!

Helpful articles for creating self-affirmations.

31 positive affirmations for building self-confidence every day.
30 powerful, daily affirmations to inspire you.
How to boost your confidence in 6 practical ways.
How to raise your self-esteem and why it's important.

Want more helpful tools to improve your life?

Check out these other helpful tools to help improve your life down below and on my resources page!

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