When is the last time you checked in with your inner dialogue? Does your inner voice tend to be more positive or negative? One way to encourage healthy internal dialogues is through positive statements called affirmations. It can be easy to overlook this technique because it seems hard to believe simply stating positive affirmations to yourself can change your mindset, which can change your life. Let’s talk about one reason positive affirmations make a difference.
Have you ever purchased a new car and then you see that car everywhere you go? Chances are the car has not been produced more, but your brain is noticing it more. This strange phenomenon of our memory has been coined by Arnold Zwicky as illusion frequency. Our brain can only retain so much information throughout the day, so it must determine what is important enough to retain and filter the rest out. When you purchase a new car, your brain stores the purchase as important information, therefore, you begin noticing that similar information. Frequency illusion is used often in marketing to get consumers to retain information about a product being sold.
What do frequency illusion and affirmations have to do with each other? If a mindset is negative, the brain will identify the negative information as important and it will notice things that support negative information. For example, if I believe “I never do anything right,” throughout the day I will notice when I spill my coffee, when I make a joke no one laughs at or when I yell at my kids. What I won’t notice is I have a successful day at work, I make a healthy dinner, or I finish a project I have been working on. It is important that we tell our brain positive mindsets are important so it will look for and retain positive information.
Let’s put this into practice. I am practical and believe that skills for emotional and mental health should easily integrate into everyday life. I challenge you to pick one affirmation and work on it for a whole week. Examples of affirmations are: I am worthy of love, I am a unique and worthy person, I respect myself or I look forward to the future and my role in it. A quick Google search can lead you to thousands of great affirmations. Choose one that speaks to you. Remember you don’t have to already believe it, that is what we are working on. After choosing an affirmation, choose an action to pair it with. Every time I wash my hands, I will repeat my affirmation to myself or every time I start my car, I will state my affirmation.
What this does is create a frequency illusion that tells your brain this information is important. Your brain will look for more information that supports the affirmation. You will think more positive and believe in yourself more than ever. The brain is amazing and exciting! Test the concept. Try it out for one week. I bet you will feel a positive change. I love hearing positive experiences so feel free to share them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need support mentally or emotionally, we are here for you at LifeSpring Behavioral!
Tammy Nix M.A., LPC, LCDC