If you have ever been to a 12-step meeting, you will already be aware of how positive affirmations can be used by people in recovery. Slogans such as “it works, if you work it”, “this, too, shall pass”, and “don’t quit before the miracle happens” are all examples of affirmations. Regularly giving yourself some words of encouragement strengthens your sobriety even if you are not a member of a 12-step group.

What is a Positive Affirmation?

“One comes to believe whatever one repeats to oneself sufficiently often, whether the statement be true or false. It comes to be dominating thought in one’s mind.”

Robert Collier

A positive affirmation is a short sentence that you repeat to yourself in an attempt to influence your subconscious mind. The words we use have a powerful influence on our psyche, and if you are always talking yourself down, it is going to impact your mood and behaviour. The practice of affirmations is intended to nourish your mind so that you become more positive and better able to accomplish you goals.

Some people are put off by the idea of positive affirmations because it can sound a bit supernatural. In fact, there are logical reasons for why this type of practice works. If you say to yourself these words “I’m having a good day”, and you really mean them, it is likely going to give you a temporary energy boost – you can feel your body being energised. On the other hand, if you are always complaining about what a tough day you are having, it is likely to lead to a drain on your energy levels.

The benefits of using positive affirmations is that they:

  • Help you stay focused on your goals
  • Keep you motivated
  • Give you the energy to put in that little bit of extra work that could be vital
  • Change your behaviour
  • Make you feel empowered

How to Use Positive Affirmations to Boost Your Recovery

The key to benefiting positive affirmations is to use them regularly. It is a good idea to start your day with these words of encouragement – you can do this while lying in bed. You can use any of the millions of affirmations created by other people (you’ll have no problem finding these online), or ideally, you can create your own. These sentences need to use powerful words and be present-focused (i.e. it is better to say “I am feeling good” rather than “I will feel good). For maximum effect, you should repeat you affirmations for 5 minutes – you can spread this over the day.