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The Psychology and Science of Affirmations – Why They Work

COGITO ERGO SUM – I think; therefore I am.
   – Rene Descartes

You may be reading this if you’re curious or skeptical about positive affirmations, or perhaps you’ve been sent this post by someone who would like you to understand them a bit better. Some people may think that affirmations are stupid or silly or a waste of time, but let me try to explain them as best I can so you, too can become the master of your own destiny.

Last week we talked about why and how to use positive Affirmations to get what you want, so I decided that it would be nice to also explore the more ‘scienc-y’ and psychological side of affirmations. For the skeptics, this might be a great way to understand this topic, often chalked up to be more of a woo-woo spiritual term.

I’m here to offer you a different perspective.

I love to explain these topics because they make so much sense when you understand them through a human psychology perspective. There is science to back this up. There is a reason these tools work for so many people.


You may be reading this if you’re curious or skeptical about positive affirmations, or perhaps you’ve been sent this post by someone who would like you to understand them a bit better. Some people may think that affirmations are stupid or silly or a waste of time, but let me try to explain them as best I can so you, too can become the master of your own destiny.

If you haven’t read my post from last week all about why and how to use affirmations + instructions and all the tools to get you started, click here to take you there. It will open in a new window for you to read it after this post.

What they are

Affirmations are basically just statements that are worded in a positive way, they state that something is true. Affirmations could also be negative. Saying “I am sick” or “I am unlucky” are also affirmations, so the first thing to note is that a good chunk of what we say on a daily basis is, in fact, affirmations.

Everything; and I do mean everything, is energy. This isn’t some hippie shit, this is science. Anything that is in existence in our reality as well as in our thoughts and imagination is made up of energy. Matter is basically a manifestation of energy, and there are many MANY ways that matter can manifest itself in.

Energy by definition cannot be destroyed, it can only be transferred or transformed. This is what physicists call
the first law of thermodynamics. (Which makes for a really interesting conversation about death, but that may be a topic for another day, if you’re interested)

I liked this article explaining through physics how everything is energy. Give it a read if you’ve got the time. If you’re curious about the universe you will want to learn about this perspective.

Thoughts Are Energy

If we assume that the statement “everything is energy” is true, then we must accept that our thoughts are energy as well, just a different form of it. If you knew that you could materialize anything you want just by thinking about it, what would you think about? Well, now you know. Your thoughts shape your reality, in a very real way. Sometimes this is hard to understand for the more skeptical types out there, but let me give you an example: 

Say you’re having a good day and have a good attitude. (AKA you’re an optimist) You go get a coffee before your job interview and someone spills your coffee all over your shirt. You figure it’s too late to bail or go home so you decide to go anyway. You don’t let the coffee spill bother you and walk into the interview with a big smile on your face. You explain to them that this interview was too important to you to cancel, and that you’re grateful for their time so you decided to come, stain and all.


You put your best foot forward and charm their pants off, eventually making them forget you even have a huge Coffee spill on your shirt. They admire your candor and honesty and decide to hire you on the spot. When you get home, you celebrate the news with your partner over a wonderfully delicious dinner and decide to celebrate with some wine but realize that you’ve run out. You don’t mind though. You enjoy your night anyway.


Say you’re having a bad day/negative attitude. You wake up in the morning ready for your job interview you’ve been preparing for and go get your morning coffee. You sit in traffic on your way to the coffee shop. As you’re walking out someone bumps into you and spills your coffee all over your shirt. The shirt you bought for the interview. 

You figure you can’t bail on the interview and you don’t have time to change. Would you go home OR would you go anyway? Say you go anyway, but as you’re waiting for the interviewer you think to yourself “Well, I guess I can kiss this job goodbye already, they’re going to think I’m a slob or I’m not serious about this or…” The interviewer calls you in. You sit across from him, bitter about someone ruining your shirt, already focused on the negative things that happened earlier. Your attitude changes, you’re thinking “I won’t get the job anyway so why even try to impress them?” You’re no longer interested in putting your best foot forward but instead you just go through the motions to get it over with. 


You get home to your partner, still stressed and in a bad mood which somehow leads to a silly fight with them. You cook some dinner which turns out terrible (you unknowingly put that energy into your food) so you go to unwind from your day with a nice glass of wine…until you find out that there’s no more wine in the house and just decide to go to bed and end your awful day early. Your thoughts and attitude about “The Coffee Incident of 2k19” were able to influence your attitude about everything else that happened that day. 


Once one negative thing happens in the day, pessimists are more likely to continue to notice every negative thing that happens throughout that day. The effect is us slowly creating a mountain of stress and negativity that we have been collecting in our memory and even further, our subconscious. You figured you wouldn’t get the job anyway so you didn’t care about blowing the interview, you were still angry about “The Coffee Incident 2k19” when you got home so your attitude towards your partner caused a fight (projecting). Your dinner tasted terrible because you were still carrying the energy of “The Coffee Incident of 2k19” and the fight with your partner and when you found out the wine was gone it felt like a much bigger deal than it would have been on any other day, probably because you intended to drink some wine to unwind and de-stress after your awful day. 


In reality, the incident wasn’t as big as you made it, you let it become “The Coffee Incident 2k18” instead of just a little accident. You could’ve gone into the interview with a cheerful attitude, unaffected by the coffee and you could’ve told your interviewer what happened and that you were still committed to this job and were eager to try your hand at this wonderful opportunity, showing that your focus was the job and not the stain on your shirt. You could’ve told your partner about it in a humorous way and thought that if it was meant for you it would not pass you by, and had a wonderful meal with them and enjoyed winding down with them so much that you didn’t need the wine in the first place. Or after seeing that there’s no wine, just put it down on the grocery list and drank a nice tea instead. 


You created a cloud of bad thoughts that painted everything else in your day black and gloomy. Attitude really is everything. It creates your reality. You thought you had a bad day so you had a bad day. It happens to all of us! It’s hard to always think positively and you don’t have to be positive all the time, you just have to promise yourself to try to see things in a more positive light, even in the face of negative situations. You have to choose to not let external forces mess with your inner peace. 


Everyone can do this but it takes some hardcore practice. I’m still working on this on a daily basis. Some days it’s easy, some days not so much. Occasionally there are days I feel like I can’t control my negativity and it consumes me for the day. It’s hard! 

It has taken me a long time to feel like I’ve finally broken through and have a good handle on my thoughts. This is why I want to share this info with you, so hopefully your breakthrough takes less than half as long.

Why use Affirmations or Mantras?

Hopefully from what you’ve read so far, you can infer the reasoning behind using affirmations, but if not, here’s some more interesting facts. Affirmations are nothing but true statements used repetitively. So whatever you affirm is, by definition, true. Knowing that will make your affirmations a lot more powerful.


You might be asking yourself “but Tiff, what if I’m affirming isn’t true? What if my affirmation says that I’m rich but I’m not?” But you are. What you give energy to, has no choice but to manifest itself because your thoughts (aka energy) is creating it. If you think about your life and what you already have and see that you’re surrounded by supportive, loving people and you’ve got love in your life; you will discover that you’re already rich. 


Again, thinking about it and feeling as though it’s already true is the major key to manifestation. It’s what we call “acting as if”.


Feel the emotions and let yourself daydream a bit about what you want to be true and make yourself feel it. Knowing that you’re already wealthy in many ways will create more wealth in more ways. You must believe in your affirmation for it to have any power. If you state “I am successful in my business” but then in the back of your head think about being a failure or lacking in skills or that you will never be successful, you’re unwittingly creating the perfect conditions for your affirmation to fail. 


Affirmations aren’t necessarily easy and that’s probably why many people think it’s a load of crap. They say it doesn’t work but that’s exactly why it doesn’t work for them! 


In psychology there’s this phenomenon called Confirmation Bias, which means that we tend to search for and accept as true only the information that confirms our preexisting beliefs. When I was in college we were given the example of vaccines. People with the belief that vaccines are bad will tend to look for information to confirm their belief and dismiss any other information of it being untrue. People who believe that vaccines are beneficial will tend to dismiss any information to the contrary.


I think we all do this to some extent because as human beings with thoughts and opinions we tend to be biased about them. We have a tendency to want to be right so we look for the things that will only strengthen our position more. Both people in the example about vaccines are right in their minds. To them, their statement is true and all the information they find about the topic corroborates it, so it is true. 


If I may, I will hit you with some more psychological phenomena, because that’s my jam and I’m always trying to understand the spiritual and metaphysical in more mundane and logical terms. 


This one’s called the Placebo Effect, I know you’ve probably heard of it. There have been studies done on the placebo effect in which a patient is given a treatment or pill that has no real effect/no medicinal components, sometimes referred to as a “sugar pill”, but the patient still feels the effects of the treatment as though it were real and intended for that effect. The pill cured their ailments in a very real way even though it was not a real treatment, so the only logical explanation would be that their belief in the effectiveness of the treatment made it effective in their minds. Who’s to say that it wasn’t effective then? If they were actually cured, it was effective! And even more wonderfully, it gives us a hint as to how freaking powerful our mind is! If merely believing in it makes it come true, this is HUGE! 


I’m proposing that having some “confirmation bias” sometimes isn’t bad. In fact, I think it works wonders when manifesting!

We must believe in our affirmation so much that we find every little thing in our existing lives that corroborates our statement. And we’re not making up any information, we’re merely using the things that already exist in our lives that match what we want more of and focusing fiercely on them so as to invite more of it into our lives. (Make this a pull quote)

Some people may see the practice of using affirmations and other similar methods as silly or untrue, but the effects they have on our lives if done correctly are very real.

How to use your Affirmations

For more detailed information, check out last week’s post with instructions and a free printable to get you started on the right track.


  1. It’s important to always use the present tense when writing your affirmation. If you write an affirmation stating “I will be successful” then you will always be in that position, of wanting to or being successful in the future and not NOW. The universe doesn’t understand the concept of past and future. The universe only knows what is happening now and you can tell it what is happening now. 

  2. Be specific but concise. Ask the universe for exactly what you want, so it doesn’t have to guess. Instead of “I have a lot of money for fun stuff and to buy what I need and want” you could write “I am earning enough money to purchase my own house and take that trip to Australia” or even better “I own my own home and am taking the trip to Australia”. Why, you ask, did I eliminate the part of the money? Well, there are many ways of achieving these things! You could win a trip for two to Australia or inherit a wonderful home. Give the universe some room to work with, you’d be surprised the things that could happen in your life!

  3. This may be a given but your affirmation must be stated positively,  as in “I am happy” or “I have the knowledge I need to succeed” or “I create great products”. Don’t state things like “I’m not in debt”, or “I’m no longer depressed” because all the universe hears is “DEBT”, “DEPRESSED” so you have to make sure you make it clear that the universe knows what you want and not what you don’t want.

  4. We talked about this but I can’t stress it enough. You really have to believe that it’s going to work. You have to believe that you deserve the thing you’re asking for and make sure you don’t have any deep rooted beliefs that contradict what you’re trying to manifest. You can’t ask for a beautiful house in the mountains if you don’t like the mountains or if you don’t think you deserve a beautiful house or if you constantly focus on how you can’t afford a beautiful house. Your focus needs to be exclusively on believing in yourself and that you can already achieve the thing you desire. Ask yourself: “is what I’m thinking in alignment with what I want/my affirmation statement?” If not, focus on aligning your thoughts with what it is you want.

  5. Kind of a given too but I think some people who hate on affirmations believe that it’s just saying something and crossing your fingers it becomes true. NOOOOPE. You must also live in alignment with what you desire. You can’t ask for the universe to send you your one true love and sit at home waiting for it to come to you. Go out and live your life, doing more of the things you love like going out hiking or running if you’re an active person, taking a dancing class or art class if that’s your jam, reading at a coffee shop or going to bookstores if you’re a major bookworm, etc. This will not only increase the odds of meeting someone you will love and set up many opportunities for the universe to give you what you want, but you’re also inviting someone into your life that also enjoys the same things as you and you know you have things in common with. Win-win-win! 

  6. Speak, think, or write down your affirmation as many times as you can remember every single day. Especially when you’re doing things that are in alignment with what you’re asking for. For example if your affirmation is “I’m a fit and healthy person mentally, spiritually and physically” whenever you work out, eat a healthy meal or think positive thoughts, you can focus intently on your affirmation to make it clear to the universe that these are examples of the thing you want. After you’ve become a master of manifestation you won’t have to do this as often.

  7. Live your life! Don’t worry about whether the affirmation will work or not, all that achieves is confusing the universe: “so do you want it to work or not because I’m getting that you want this thing but you’re doubting it will happen, so which one is it?” Make sure you’re keeping your thoughts positive and believe in the power of your own thoughts. Trust that you deserve what you’re asking for and that you are, in fact, already in alignment with what it is you want.


And that’s it! You got this. I believe in you!


Let me know if you’ve ever worked with affirmations and how they’ve worked out for you, or if you’ve never used affirmations, which will be your first one? Or if you think they’re silly, tell me why! I appreciate all opinions.


Go to last week’s post to claim your free instructional page + workpage to get you started right away! 


You may be reading this if you’re curious or skeptical about positive affirmations, or perhaps you’ve been sent this post by someone who would like you to understand them a bit better. Some people may think that affirmations are stupid or silly or a waste of time, but let me try to explain them as best I can so you, too can become the master of your own destiny.

The post The Psychology and Science of Affirmations – Why They Work appeared first on The Golden Letter.

This post first appeared on The Golden Letter, please read the originial post: here

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The Psychology and Science of Affirmations – Why They Work


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