Guest Author: Adam Cook of Additionhub.org
When you hear the term ‘positive affirmations,’ you might think it’s nothing more than corny psycho-babble designed for those eternally optimistic types. You might be surprised to learn that positive affirmations are actually a commonly used tactic for maintaining a positive outlook in addiction recovery, and a tactic that’s been proven beneficial for many.
Depending on what stage of recovery you’re in, you may or may not have much of a sense of optimism, but that doesn’t mean that positive affirmations can’t help you in your recovery. Here’s a look at how to use positive affirmations to eliminate negative self-talk, gain courage and confidence, and stay the course to your brighter future.
How Do Positive Affirmations Work?
Positive affirmations are short, positive sentences that you say to yourself, out loud, in the mirror if you choose. These sentences are designed to influence your subconscious and help you overcome the negative self-talk that can often plague recovering addicts struggling with triggers and other challenges.
Research shows that positive affirmations can reduce stress hormones in the brain, and they can even work if you’re not a believer in this sort of spiritual hype. Determining how positive affirmations work to impact the outcomes in your life might be a bit of a metaphysical query, but it’s likely that stating positive affirmations out loud can help to motivate you to take action towards your goals – and the more action you take, the more likely you are to achieve your desired outcome.
How to Use Positive Affirmations to Enhance Recovery
Using positive affirmations is simple, requiring no special training or mystical spiritual powers to achieve results. It’s as simple as this:
- Write down some negative attributes or areas you’d like to improve in, such as wanting to have a more positive attitude or a better ability to handle everyday stressors or triggers. You might also write down some goals or objectives that you’d like to achieve, such as landing a new job, getting a promotion, saving enough money to purchase a home, or setting aside some time each week to do something special with your kids.
- Write affirmations by tying your negative/working on traits or goals to positive outcomes and characteristics. For example:
- I am in charge of my life and my future.
- The past has no control over me.
- I am making daily progress towards my goals.
- I am relaxed and at ease as I work through my daily tasks.
- I am enjoying a life free of addiction.
- I like the person I am becoming.
- Stand in front of the mirror or find a quiet, calming spot where you can be alone for a few minutes and speak freely out loud. State your affirmations out loud, looking at yourself in the mirror or holding your hand to your chest. Do this daily each morning, or several times throughout the day.
That’s really all it takes to make use of positive affirmations to aid your recovery. You can also take a time-out and reaffirm your positive statements anytime you’re feeling triggered or experiencing cravings or other challenges. The simple act of taking a few minutes to focus on yourself and adopt a positive mindset can make all the difference.
While positive affirmations can be tremendously beneficial in your recovery, you shouldn’t use this technique as a substitute for other treatment. If you have a comorbid diagnosis, for instance, such as depression or PTSD, continue treatment for these underlying conditions, and always continue pursuing your professional recovery program. However, using positive affirmations as one component of your overall recovery program, combining affirmations with other techniques such as visualization, meditation, exercise, group or individual therapy, and regular meetings, is one of the surest paths to lifelong recovery.
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