Every day in every way?

Do you use positive self-statements (affirmations)? You know, the ones like ‘I am a loveable person’?

Did you know that the research shows that it may make you feel worse?

Researchers (listed below) found that after saying positive self-statements people with low self-esteem actually felt worse. Ironic, as these people were meant to get the most out of them. For those with high self-esteem, though, there was a slight benefit.

In another study the same researchers sought to shed some light on this. They got those with low self-esteem to list only positive thoughts about themselves, yet it didn’t do much for their sense of well-being. On the other hand, if those same people were allowed to also list negatives as well, then interestingly, they fared better.

So what’s the problem? Haven’t we all been told we have to ‘be positive’ if we want to be happy? We have, but when you tell yourself that you are a loveable person, for instance, if this contradicts the way you really think of yourself, you're liable to feel this gap – and not feel so good.

So positive affirmations are fairly helpful - but only for those who already see themselves positively. For those who are saying things that they really don’t agree with deep down then it’s like telling themselves that they are an octopus or a carrot – their mind will struggle to accept this and as a result will rebel.

Does this also apply to Hypnotic Suggeston? Probably not, because our mind goes into a more responsive state and effective Suggestion should be something the person can believe in. For example, deep down every smoker knows that he/she can quit, and therefore telling him/her this won't lead to this internal conflict. (As every smoker realises, if you lock him/her in a room with nothing but food and water every day, and he/she will be a non-smoker.)

So the research strongly suggests that we have to find a more profound way to change our self-image. There are plenty of ways of doing this,we can use Regression techniques, something called EFT, or one of a number of other options. Maybe worth checking out.

The Take-Away

If you really want to use affirmations then make sure you really have some belief in the statement you are going to use - or use something more profound. Good luck!

Researchers referred to above: Psychologists Joanne V. Wood and John W. Lee from the University of Waterloo, and W.Q. Elaine Perunovic from the University of New Brunswick.

Alan Davidson: hypnoad@yahoo.com

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