Affirmations. If I had to bet, I'd say I did them in the past. I've been into (and over) a lot of New Age type stuff over the years, mostly in college. Everything from astrology to tarot and more.
What I haven't done is think about affirmations in years, until I ran across them in Scott Adam's book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
I read the book because the title made it sound like a good book to review on the blog. And it was; I just haven't gotten around to reviewing it yet.
Adams talks about all the different things he's tried, a list that includes many, many failures, along with a few stunning successes, such Dilbert, the comic.
So I'm reading along, taking in the messages about always looking for opportunity and trying new things and then, near the end of the book, he credits all his success to affirmations.
I was surprised. I thought of affirmations as something you did to build self-confidence more than something you used to invite success. Perhaps that was narrow minded of me.
I did some more research and found everything from long lists of affirmations to an LGBT Mormon group's page. And then I found this article, called "How to Change Your Mind and Your Life By Using Affirmations."
The article outlines a process for transforming your negative self-talk into positive affirmations, which you then repeat until "the magic" unfolds. I'm a little skeptical about affirmations in general, and magic specifically, but the idea of basing affirmations on negative self-talk appeals to me because of my experiences during the "Say Nothing Critical" week.
While I might have been marginally successful at not saying too many critical things out loud, or at least cutting way back, at least when I wasn't at work, I was not very successful with my thoughts, about others or about myself.
This week, I'll take some of those negative thoughts and try to turn them into affirmations. For example, I have come to be pretty hard on myself for being crazy-bitchy about how other people drive. It's ridiculous and I don't understand why I'm so mean in the car. Then I get mad at myself for being mean and I take it out on the next driver who crosses my path.
It's a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. Not driving won't work, so I think I might try an affirmation like "I am kind and generous," or something along those lines, to encourage myself to be that way on the road. Or maybe I should be more straightforward and try something like "I can let other people go at stop signs, even when it's not really their turn, without calling them names."
I'll probably go for something less specific, in hopes that it might help in more than one area of my life.
My plan is to write these affirmations every day in the morning, maybe a page of them or so, depending on how much time I have. Also, I will meditate one day, thinking about my affirmation. And I might try thinking about it while running, if I can get it into five words, so it will work with the breathing thing I'm using.
I also downloaded an app to my phone called Happy Habits. It starts with a test to assess your general level on several happiness-related measures, such as optimism and compassion. I did pretty good on most of them, but there's always room for improvement. The test results to accurately reflected how I feel and what I would have guessed about myself, but it was still pretty interesting.
Then there's a journal part to the app, which you use to write an affirmation, make note of a positive thing that happened, and put something on your Happiness To Do List. I'm going to do that every day this week.
I'll let you know how it all goes. :)
Week Twenty-one: Mental Health/Spiritual - Affirmations