We once had a dog named Maya that was obsessed with this specific neon green tennis ball. Nothing made her happier than retrieving that ball over and over for any human willing to toss it for her. The human tired of this retrieval game far quicker than Maya.
The Universe is like Maya, loyal and enthusiastic. It is wiling to retrieve for us anything we desire if we are clear communicators of our desires. We are co-creators with the universe, in a constant dialogue with the cosmos. When we’re on the right path in terms of manifesting our desires, the universe will deliver signs of alignment as a response to let us know we are connected to the flow of possibilities. This is the conversation. We throw the tennis ball as an affirmation and the universe brings it back.
This year, don’t make a resolution. Choose an affirmation instead. The word affirmation means a statement that is declared to be true. Resolutions are too often based on “I won’t” or “I can’t” or “I will”. Affirmations say “I am”. The universe loves it when we are clear and positive. When we tell the universe what we will be, we put off that truth, placing it in the future. When we say what we already are, it doesn’t argue.
And of course you know I have some science to back it up. By repeating affirmations, we actually create neuroplasticity in the area of the brain that processes what we are thinking about. This form of auto-suggestion strengthens neural pathways over time, turning pessimism, which is more a right brain hemisphere trait, into optimism, which fires more in the left hemisphere of the brain. But it has to be done mindfully and consistently. Without awareness, our thoughts can actually take us in the opposite direction of where our heart wants to go.
The brain is constantly filtering information, helping us to notice certain things and ignore others. This is a coping mechanism, as the poor brain is processing over 400 billions bits of information each second. The trick is to notice our thoughts and steer towards the ones that serve our happiness. Like turning a radio dial to find a better song, we can actively choose more positive, grateful thoughts. If we’re always looking for defects, we’re sure to find them. But the converse is also true. If we condition ourselves to see optimistically, then we’ll see blessings and abundance everywhere. Like the Little Engine That Could, convincing yourself you can is half the battle.
Affirmations work in tandem with the reticular activating system in your brain (RAS). The RAS is the filter between the unconscious and conscious mind. It filters sensory input from your subconscious and decides what’s important enough to bring to your conscious awareness. If you spend an afternoon in a conference room, that night you wouldn’t remember how many chairs were in that room. But you would remember where the exit was, because that information was deemed important by the RAS, If there’s a fire, you don’t care how many chairs are here, you just need to know how to get out.
So what does this have to do with affirmations? Well, the RAS cannot distinguish between what is “really” happening in the world and what is “synthetically” happening in your mind. It sees all of your thoughts as truth. So it’s going to believe anything you tell it. So if you tell it that life sucks, that becomes your reality. On the other hand, if you repeatedly tell your brain that things are going to be amazing, then they will be. Those affirmations are setting the brain up to filter for awesome instead of suck.
What I’m saying is this. We see what we’re looking for.
Wondering how to use affirmations? You simply repeat these phrases to yourself, silently or aloud, as a way to reshape your beliefs and assumptions about yourself and your world. Start with 10 repetitions or use your phrase as a mantra during your morning meditation. Always speak or think your affirmation in the present tense, as if it is already your truth (fake it ‘til you make it and all that).
Scan this list and circle any affirmation that jumps out at you. Then look at those you’ve circled. Take a deep breath and silently ask for guidance. You’ll know which one is right.
My body is exactly right.
I am a magnet for money.
Confidence is my second nature.
I choose now.
Obstacles are detours in the right direction.
Happiness is my birthright.
I am worthy of all the awesome abundance the universe has to offer.
My work environment is calm.
The only approval I need is my own.
I sleep deeply and wake refreshed each morning.
My perfect partner is looking for me right now.
I sow the seeds of peace wherever I go.
My life is a song of gratitude.
Setbacks are simply stepping stones to my success.
I trust my inner wisdom.
I eat foods that support my highest self.
Everything I need is available to me in this moment.
I release all past anger and hurt.