Positive Affirmations Don’t Work: Why Your “Morning Pep-Talk” Might be Harmful

What are positive affirmations? They're statements that you repeat to yourself on a daily basis, often first thing in the morning to start your day.

It's an attempt to get your mind off of negative thoughts and focus on more positive ones.

The idea is that if you hear or say these phrases enough times, they'll eventually become so ingrained in your psyche that it will change how you think about everything. In theory, this should lead to better feelings and less stress.

However, research has shown that there are many psychological reasons why people who make affirmations typically don't see any results.

While affirmations are often touted as a way to combat stress and insecurities, some people actually find it can worsen these feelings.

Why is this the case?

People have a hard time believing them. “I am unstoppable” sounds great, but the human mind is naturally skeptical. This skepticism can lead to more stress as you try harder and find that your affirmations aren't working like they should be.

Our brains will never make us a liar. So if you keep telling yourself something you don't truly believe, that's going to raise a huge red flag in your subconscious.

Because of this, they can actually be counterproductive.

Sometimes when you try and tell yourself something super positive in an attempt to calm your nerves or anxiety, it only makes things worse because you're telling yourself something that isn't true (or at least not yet). That's going to feel totally incongruent.

What can we do instead?

First, you need to get to the core belief that has been running the show.

For example, maybe you want to have a hugely successful business, so you start telling yourself every day “I'm hugely successful and charge premium prices.”

But then you hear how much another coach is charging for their services and think “I could never charge that much!”

Stop and ask yourself, what's that really about under that surface thought? Perhaps you don't believe you're worthy and deserving of making that much money.

Check-in again. Is there anything under that limiting belief? Maybe the belief that you're not worthy and deserving – period? That's what we'd call a deep wound and a core belief that you would be served by shifting.

But if you start repeating the positive affirmation of “I am worthy and deserving” every morning, what's likely to happen?

Well, most likely, your brain is going to reject it as false if you're not 100% ready to believe it. Your brain won't make you a liar, even if it's really for your benefit.

So what's the solution?

Belief Bridging. Belief Bridging is a technique you can use to ease yourself from the negative belief currently ruling your thoughts to the positive belief you want to replace it with.

When you move from one end of the spectrum to the other gradually and meet yourself where you're at you will have way more success at actually changing the disempowering belief.

Belief Bridging is one of many techniques we can explore to overcome limiting beliefs when we work together 1-on-1.

If you've had a negative experience with positive affirmations before and are ready to really make a shift, Belief Bridging might be the key. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Interested in getting coaching to shift your limiting beliefs? Learn more about working with me one-on-one athttps://sociallyaligned.com/one-on-one

(Credit: Belief Bridging is a concept I've learned from Brooke Castillo and Lexi D'Angelo, so props to them!)

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