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How to Work Effectively with Affirmations
by Sally Hill, Ph.D.

There are five keys to successful affirmation work:
  • repetition
  • involvement
  • belief
  • action
  • working with resistance

Each of these is discussed below:

Repetition

Repetition is the first step in making affirmations work for you. Repetition programs our minds in the same way that exercise builds muscle. Repetition takes discipline. Most people find it easier to achieve if they establish regular time periods for the work.

It is best if you can work with affirmations three times a day. One effective schedule is:

  • when you first wake up, and your mind is still in a state of transition;
  • after lunch or an afternoon break, whichever leaves you the most relaxed;
  • before going to bed, when your mind is beginning to transition away >from the day.

These work periods need not be long. If you are working with a single affirmation, a few minutes is adequate, provided your work is focused and your imagination fully engaged. (For more about engaging your imagination, click here. - note: don't recommend link here -- it's too close)  

Each affirmation should be repeated at least three times during each work session. Unless there is a reason to rewrite them, you should work with each affirmation for at least three weeks (21 days). This is the usual time required to program the unconscious. You can work with up to three affirmations at a time. If you are new to affirmation work, it is usually best to begin working with only one affirmation at a time.

Some people repeat affirmations more than three times a day. They post them on mirrors, computers, car dashboards, or other places where they will be seen often. The danger here is that the written affirmations may begin to blend in with the landscape and eventually be overlooked. If you post affirmations, be sure to find ways to maintain your focus. Remember that involvement is as important as repetition.

Involvement

Affirmations work most rapidly and successfully when you are actively involved in the work. It needn't take long—a few minutes will suffice—but ideally you should work with your emotions, your senses, and your spirit as well as your mind.

Here are some suggestions. You should experiment with them until the find the ones that work best for you. Then try to combine them, for example by visualizing while meditating or by speaking or chanting while you draw, move, or write.

Writing

  • Write your affirmation while you say it out loud or silently  in your mind
  • Write your affirmation with your non-dominant hand
  • Write your affirmation in an appropriate color—for example red to fire you up, blue to calm you down, yellow or orange to brighten your attitude

Speaking

  • Speak your affirmation with intensity
  • Put the emphasis on different words in the affirmation
  • Chant your affirmation with a single tone or  melody

Drawing

  • Draw or doodle, while you think about your affirmation
  • Think about your affirmation while you make a collage or a  painting. Close your eyes, and sculpt or mold clay while you say or meditate on your affirmation.
  • Examine your art  to see how it reflects your goal. Think about how you felt while you were doing it. Did you feel cramped or free as you made the drawing or doodle? The answer to this question can uncover hidden resistance to your work. Click here for some suggestions on how to work with resistance.

Visualize

  • After you write, speak, chant, or draw your affirmation, close your eyes and imagine that you have already reached your goal. What does it feel like to have achieved this success? If it feels good, take time to enjoy the sensations it arouses. If it frightens you, click here for some suggestions on how to work with this resistance.
  • Involve as many of your senses as possible in your visualization—sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. The goal is to make your imagined success so visible and emotionally charged  that your conscious and unconscious mind will be motivated to act on your vision.

Move

  • Move through your affirmation. Do a dance or pantomime that expresses the way it feels to achieve this success.

Meditation

  • Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and whisper your affirmation. Hear it echo through your mind. Imagine it rippling out like a stone dropped in a pool of water.
  • Close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and see your affirmation written in color across a far-off movie screen. Imagine it coming closer and closer to you, growing larger and larger as it moves.
  • Breathe your affirmation. As you inhale, breathe the affirmation into your body, soul, and spirit. As you exhale, send your affirmation out into the world.

These are only a few of the ways you can expand your involvement with your affirmations. Click here to find an e-group where you can find further suggestions and share your questions and experiences with others.

Belief

What you believe about your ability to do something can make the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, belief in your ability to achieve your affirmation may not come easily. After all, if you really believed you could do it, it would probably already be done.

If you've spent years believing that something is impossible, can you really change your mind? Absolutely—but it takes some work. Unfortunately it's not as simple as just snapping your fingers three times while you say, "I believe, I believe, I believe!"

Changing your mind takes time, persistence, patience, and practice. It takes working with your affirmation three times a day, day after day. It takes working with focus. It takes working with imagination to involve body, mind, emotion, sensation, soul, and spirit in the process. But if you do this, your belief will gradually change from "I can't" to "I can," and things that previously seemed impossible will begin to happen.

Is it enough to affirm and come to believe? No. One further step is required: you must take action.

Action

Action is the final step in the affirmation process. The whole point of affirmation work is to empower you to act. Like coming to believe, action does not usually happen overnight. It begins with small experiments. You can start experimenting as early as two or three days after you begin your affirmation work.

Experimenting with your affirmations is similar to what happens when toddlers begin to walk. They experiment with some action. If it's successful, this small success adds to their belief that they can do more. This strengthened belief in turn feeds their willingness to take another step and experiment with another action. Eventually they're up and walking, then running, then finally at or past their goal.

What do toddlers do when they fall? They pick themselves up and try again. It's the same way with mind-training. We do affirmation work. Our thinking begins to change. We encounter an obstacle. We fall back into old negative thought patterns. We persist. We affirm. We get back on track and begin moving forward again.

So when some of  your experiments fail, what should you do? What if you encounter trouble with a later experiment?  There's a simple (though not always easy) answer: persist! Continue to affirm, continue to visualize, continue to imagine until you have the courage to experiment again.

Working with resistance

Resistance is a normal reaction to affirmation work. It can arise at any stage of the process. Knowing how to work with resistance can make the difference between success and failure to achieve your goals.


Click here to continue and learn what to do if you encounter resistance while working with your affirmations.

Article copyright 2003 by Sally Hill, Ph.D. Dr. Hill conducts seminars and workshops on dreams, affirmations, creativity, and Tarot. For further information, you may call her at 972-979-9404, email her at DrSallyHill@TarotAffirmations.com, or visit her web site at http://www.TarotAffirmations.com.

    Website contents © 2003 TarotAffirmations.com/Sally Hill, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

    Tarot Affirmations is reproduced by permission of
    US Games Systems Inc. © 2001 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.